Richmond Vale Academy

Program Reviews

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Jost
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was part of a 6 month program at Richmond Vale Academy on the beautiful island of St. Vincent. We were working in several smaller or bigger projects to take action against climate change. Our main project was to build gardens with people from the nearby town of chateublair to create food security and spread the message of organic, permaculture farming. During the project I learned alot, and although not everything is perfect and I don't agree with every the community of RVA stands for, the time and experience I had I consider to be amongst the best time of my life! While certain aspects of life at RVA were suboptimal when I was there (like the food we were not growing majorly ourselve at that point in time and the use of land on the property),most things that were suboptimal were in the process of change towards the better. Everything needs time and work and RVA provides a great environment for growth, an opportunity to take action and you'll meet plenty of nice people on the way. Besides work and the project... The beach and the gorgeous paradise Island of St. Vincent are stunning and the volcano hike is definitely one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in your life!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a reusable water bottle with at least 1 litre capacity, you'll need it!
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Henrik
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hi,
my name is Henrik and I participated in the 6-months-program in 2019/2020. I had one of the best times of my life in Richmond Vale Academy (RVA)! Starting off with a group of complete strangers from around the globe, sharing similar values in terms of ecology and sustainable living was exciting. Together, with other teams and the teachers we lived at the campus, which you can see on the Youtube Channel.

The program consists of theoretical and practical pieces in the beginning. Getting to know the techniques of ecological farming and using them at the schools garden were my first steps into work. On top of gardening, we could choose an area, in which we would like to work. Maintenance, Kitchen, Garden or Promotion are just some of them. I enjoyed working in the warm climate and making the life in the school possible. As everyone had its one responsibillity in the group we all highly rely on each other, which soon created a familiar atmosphere.

Apart from all that work the freetime activities are amazing too. Hiking the volcano for an incredible view with the team, going for a dive at our own divecenter, enjoying the local beach or visiting Kingstown made me falling in love with the island.
The biggest project, "The homegardens" came soon and my team including our teacher moved into a house in the village RVA had chosen to be covered by the program. Finally we could use all our knowledge to build gardens and teach the locals about the potential right in their backyard. Within 6 weeks we had built 10 gardens and developed relations in the village, that still exist! Seeing the results after a few months and the thankfulness of the clients were a great feeling. We knew, that we did sth. right!
After that project we continued working at the campus and met the knew team. It was always great to meet new people and they welcomed us after our trip. Some evenings we played games together or the sports team organised another beach olympics.

In the end I always look back on that time as a wonderful experience, that opened my eyes for other cultures, gave me a lot of new friends and another home overseas!

Go for it guys! You´ll we love it.

What was your funniest moment?
While we were walking to a swimming destination on the road, a man picked us up with his car. Somehow we fit in 4 extra people even though he already had his 3 children in the back. Two of us in the trunk, two in the backseat with three kids... tight, but absolutely hilarious :D. The people there are so nice to aech other. He didnt want to leave us on the road.
Read my full story
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Finn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hello my name is Finn Widera and I am from Berlin in Germany.

In summer 2019 I finished school and didn't knew what to do.

Then one day I found Richmond Vale Academy on the Internet and was thrilled by it instantly.

6 Months in the caribbean on St.Vincent, doing something pertinent with nice people, thats what I expected from the program and that was what I get from it!

In the end of the program we all grew together as a big family and shared so much wonderful experiences.

The Vincy (short for vincentian) people are amazing and I had the possibility to live with a vincy family for nearly a month and it was such an intense experience, which expand my horizon. The culture of St Vincent coined me a lot in a positive way. Unfortunatly because of the Corona Virus I had to go home a few weeks earlier, which was very sad, but life goes on.

One day I will definetly come back to the beautiful Island St. Vincent and to Richmond Vale Academy.

What was your funniest moment?
I can't pick a single event, because they were so many of them, but most of the the funny moments I had with my Team in Richmond Vale Academy, because all the time it was so funny beeing around them.
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Conor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What can I say. What an amazing experience. Directly involved with the fight against climate change, working in partnership with people who strive for the same. Gained experience in a range of diverse and exiting projects which you’re able to have a say in, such as Home garden construction, Solar installation and Biogas production, making it your own experience too. Great people doing great things in the most beautiful country, which you’re given a bit of time to travel around. Couldn’t recommend enough. Would go back in a heartbeat if I could.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Gaining such good relationships with the locals - very in touch with the local community and helping from the ground up.
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Pirkka
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I stayed at Richmond Vale Academy in St Vincent and the Grenadines for a time period of six weeks. With an international team much younger than myself. Never felt more healthy and live. Lost some 10 kg and after returning had to put down my thyroid medicine. The diet, fixed supper times, own vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat. A lot of outdoor, working in the garden and adventures in the jungle made the trick. Not to mention the scenery, sunsets, diving and all other beauty around. Still the most memorable are the people at RVA and at the whole island nation.

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Niklas
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed my six month stay at the Richmond Vale Academy. The programm was interessting. I Likes working with the people who live there and learning about their style of working and living. I am really proud of the two homegaedens me and my Team were able to build. But besides the project I had a really nice time there as well. The Island is extremly beautiful and there is a lot to explore. But for me the ost important thing were the people I lived with. All the people I met there we're really nice and interessting people. In the end we all became a big Family. I can really recommend the programm if you like to live in paradise and meet new interessting people.

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Miguel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The 6-month Climate Compliance Program at Richmond Vale Academy is a very intense, but highly rewarding program.
We initially learned about permaculture from amazing professionals and teachers and then put it into practice both at the Academy and, later, in a project in the local community.
If you are looking for a meaningful, hands on project, and if you don´t mind getting your hands dirty this is the place to go.
SVG is a beautiful place with amazing people.
Finally, there is also the option to take a scuba course, which I did and highly recommend.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready for hard work and strict schedules, but also enjoy and get to know as much as you can of the island and the people. Use every Sunday possible!
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Katrine
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall, I really enjoyed my 6 months in St. Vincent and RVA. The staff was really helpful before my arrival and when I arrived at the school, the students and staff made me feel at home right away.
Before you go, you should know:
-It's an intense (but very rewarding) program - 6 work days per week with Sundays off.
-There's a lot of physical labour, which I enjoyed very much.
-The teachers are more like group leaders so don't expect the program to be highly academic. It's more about practical training - how to build things, how to manage projects etc.
-You work a lot in groups, so be a good team player!

If you're up for a demanding and rewarding 6 months, learning what development work is outside of the textbooks, you should definitely go! What are you waiting for?

If you would like to ask me questions, you're welcome to write me on Facebook: Katrine Winther Erlendsson

What was your funniest moment?
One time, I visited TreTre's (school chef at RVA) farm, where she gave me pig belly soup - and she wouldn't tell me what it was before I tasted it, because she knew I would think it was gross!
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Camille
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where do you go and what do you do when you want to become a climate change activist? When you start watching a lot of documentaries, understanding what is happening in the world, asking yourself about your role in society, and wondering how we ended up there, then it’s time to take a step towards a different lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be as radical as moving to the Caribbean, though that’s the choice I made.

Climate change...what a vast subject. It feels like each and every action that we take in our comfortable western lives leads to this. We are indoctrinated with the belief that we need to always buy more, so we always produce more and then we just always throw away more. This remark from a friend still resonates with me: “You’re throwing this away. But there is no Away!” We are taught to put things in waste bins and once our waste is in there, well, we stop thinking about it altogether. We are completely disconnected and nobody is held responsible for the waste we produce.

I wanted to act and make a difference in the world, at my scale. I know that I won’t change the world on my own, but by working along with all the little “ants of change,” it might be possible to make things move. That’s why I think it’s time for me to listen to the wise who say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Gandhi)
Participating in one of RVA’s programs means being part of a team of 2 to 30 people from all over the world and that means adapting to very different ways of thinking, different ways of working. Some traditions or ways of expressing our feelings and emotions and passing on messages vary greatly from culture to culture. Something that you would normally say or do in your country might upset someone from a different culture and it can result in conflicts. A conflicts can be challenging to deal with as it soon becomes a global/public matter in the small community. As amazing and beautiful as it is, living at RVA brings its fair share of challenges and can sometimes be overwhelming, but it is all well worth it.
Living at RVA means giving up some of your usual comfort. For many of us, we have lived in a home with our family and then moved out to our own place like a flat or a house. Most of us had access to our own bathroom and a nice kitchen in which we could prepare whatever we fancied. Coming to RVA, you start by sharing a room, which most of us have not done for a very long time. That can create some difficulties in the beginning, as you get to share with a total stranger. This is a real challenge for some of us. But because we come here for a specific purpose we all work together to make it functional.
Spending six months at RVA was a way for me to define and explore possibilities for the future. I know that I don’t want to go back to a society that pushes me to be someone that I’m not. I don’t want to purchase dead things, wear make-up, and have a job that will benefit only a few. I want to change my lifestyle, live closer to the earth and nature, plant trees, and walk barefoot. Being part of a team, learning about the issues of the world, working in the gardens at RVA and in the village, meeting the local community, creating relationships with very different people is a very enriching experience that everybody should have the chance to live.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It's not always easy, but in the end it's all worth it! People usually wait until they go back home to realize that they lived something exceptional, come with your positivity and enthusiasm to make the best out of this experience!
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Alexa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was at Richmond Vale in July for the one month climate change program. I learned how to live a more sustainable life and did a variety of work including putting up solar panels, planting trees, and gardening. It was a rewarding month for me. Plus St. Vincent is a beautiful island with beautiful views. Would recommend for anyone who isn't scared to get their hands dirty and love to eat fruit! (There is a fruit forest with tons of different fruits to try and I would take full advantage of that! One of the things I miss the most, other than the people of course!) One month was a perfect amount of time for me, since I am a student, but if you really want to make a difference in St. Vincent I would recommend a longer stay. The month goes by very quickly!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to jump into the program. Soak up every moment because it will go by fast. You can either enjoy your time or hate it, it is all up to you and your attitude!