ISV - Volunteer Conservation Projects in Australia

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Program Update:

ISV will only be conducting programs for this coming summer, 2018 in the Dominican Republic.

About

Despite its spectacular rugged beauty, Australia has lost many of its iconic species over the past 200 years and has one of the highest mammal extinction rates in the world. Conservation initiatives are becoming increasingly important for this island nation, and through volunteering with International Student Volunteers (ISV) you can help to make a real difference to Australia’s unique and diverse environment while exploring a new culture.

Projects with ISV vary from working at a wildlife sanctuary, to assisting with scientific research or participating in outdoor education programs. Volunteer tasks involve planting native species, removing invasive weeds, tackling erosion, monitoring species and habitat enhancement. ISV's conservation volunteer projects in Australia are a must for anyone who wants to make a positive environmental difference. Visit their website at www.isvolunteers.org to sign up for the experience of a lifetime in Australia today.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

The project and adventure tour costed a little under $5000. However, you do have to purchase the international flight separately which was under $2000. It was pretty pricey but if it was all totally worth it. ISV gives really good tips about fundraising. My main suggestion is to start saving and fundraising very early!

Reviews

99%
based on 122 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 122
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Adrianna
10/10

Best Summer Ever! Australia 2016

Traveling with ISV to Australia was one of the best decision that I have ever made. Growing up I had always wanted to visit Australia and travel the world, but I thought it would be impossible to go so young. After hearing about ISV I knew that I had to take the opportunity that was given to me. Going to Australia was the first time I had got on a plane and the first time I had ever left the State of Texas. It was scary and nerve-wracking at the beginning of the trip after all I went by myself half way across the world and with a bunch of strangers. This was the scariest thing I had ever done, but after the third plane and after meeting my group members, I knew it was all going to be okay. Volunteering at Phillip Island Nature Park for two weeks was interesting and a lot of fun. Learning about the environment, the animals, and making an impact in the world was an adventure itself, by building penguin houses, watching penguin parades and chasing wallabies out of plantations, it was so much fun. The girls I spent my time with went from strangers to family in just a couple of days. But that was just the beginning, and the action packed adventure tour was next and it was really an adventure, wing two weeks of laughter, being a risk-taker, and having adrenaline rushes. From swimming in the Great Barrier, to jumping off bridges and planes, the adventure was everywhere. The last week of the trip was a tour around the tropical islands of Fiji and it was paradise. This trip was not just a vacation, it was a life-changing experience. Learning about the culture of Australian natives and Fiji natives was a great experience and it made me realize how lucky I was to have everything. This trip is a bit pricey but every cent spent was all worth it for the trip of a life time and I definitely recommend everyone to join the experience.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by giving out project overviews or travel manuals more advanced rather than right before the trip. Maybe just samples of what the previous groups have done. Overall the program had everything organized.
Yes, I recommend
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Riley
10/10

Bellbunya Sustainable Community (AKA Paradise)

I have always wanted to visit Australia. However, it seemed so far away; out of reach for me. When I heard about ISV, such a trip didn't seem so impossible, and I signed up shortly after. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My 4 weeks with ISV Australia were life changing. It is easy to throw around words like that on paper, but truly experiencing it is something different all together. From day one at Bellbunya Sustainable Community in the Queensland Sunshine Coast, I felt at home. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be surrounded by such inspiring people, working amidst the most beautiful flora and fauna under the winter sunshine. Not once did I miss home, for I had found a new one, with 11 people who became like family to me. The bush regeneration work we did was hard but rewarding, and it was really wonderful to see the lingering achievements of past ISV groups in the area. I hope to return one day to see the trees we planted and visit the extraordinary people I met on project.
The reward for all that hard work was the adventure tour of a lifetime. When they say 2 weeks of action-packed, adrenaline-fueled activities, they mean it! Not only did we get the opportunity to jump out of planes and off bridges, but we got to experience things so uniquely Australian, from the Great Barrier Reef and local Aboriginal culture, to World Heritage sites and Vegemite! We covered the beautiful eastern coastline of the country with a fearless leader named Brodie, who truly is a fountain of knowledge on local history, activities, and hotspots.
Leaving my new ISV family at the end of the tour was really tough, but those are friends I know I will hold on to in the future. Not only did I leave with heaps of pictures and memories and great new friends, but with a greater understanding of life in another country, and how the ideals that we sought to understand there can be applied to my life back home. It can seem scary to sign up, to pack and say goodbye to home, but I promise you, it is worth it every step of the way.

How can this program be improved?
I am sure everyone wants the trip to be cheaper, since it is pretty pricy, but I could really see where that money went. To me, it was worth every penny, but I think it could be emphasized how much additional money you will have to spend on the adventure tour. You will likely return home having spent more than anticipated, but to me, the things we did were truly priceless.
Also, the overnight bus rides on tour are quite difficult. I certainly don't know a way around that, since there is a lot of distance you cover on the trip, but it made for some uncomfortable nights and subsequent mornings. I think two weeks for an adventure tour like that is just the right length.
Overall, I think ISV does a fantastic job of providing safe, educational, rewarding, and exciting programs for people who want to take a step (or two!) out of their comfort zone to learn more about the world and our role in it.
Yes, I recommend
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Jacqueline
10/10

Overall best experience of my life but with a cost

Definitely the best experience of my life. This is my second time with ISV so obviously loved it so much I did it again. Adventure tour was incredible and safe. Really loved and miss my project. The staff was very friendly and well organized. Only issue I had with ISV is I found them really expensive but I thought it was worth it. Like I looked up the flight prices individually and they are a lot cheaper if you book them on your own than with the group flight. The volunteer portion is over priced but the adventure tour is reasonable. Highly recommend the four week program. You will regret it!

How can this program be improved?
Make the program cheaper and a discount for those who have went before.
Yes, I recommend
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Hairuo
10/10

Life-changing Experience

This trip to Australia is life-changing to me! I have learnt so much about how to protect the Earth by putting into individual effort, and how to better work in a team as well as enjoying the fun of learning about different culture.

Through two weeks' of tiring but exhilarating voluntary work, I understood how important it is to protect the Earth. Small steps can make big differences. I learnt how to do basic recycle, such as compost, desperate waste collection; I learnt that the consumption of bottled water, which could be less clean than tap water, has created tons of plastic waste; I learnt about how seriously the cutting of trees and construction of buildings along the Asian east coast has negatively threatened migrating birds' foraging habitat.

In addition, since I, as a Chinese, was immersed in both Australian and American culture, allowing me to enjoy stunning Australian sceneries in the farm and conservation park as well as lots of American jokes and food. It's amazing to cooked together, lived together, and talked about different life with students just like me all around the States!!!

How can this program be improved?
Increase group member communication.
Yes, I recommend
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Kristina
10/10

ISV Australia 2016

Going to Australia was on of the nest decisions I have ever made. Growing up in a small town I have always wanted an adventure, and I always wanted to do something bigger. This trip gave me the opportunity to do both. Being able to look back at the two weeks of volunteering, and seeing what my friends and I had accomplished was overwhelming. It is an incredible feeling. Then after two weeks of hard work, you get two weeks on adventure. We did things I would have never imagined doing. I made new friends and new everlasting memories.

Yes, I recommend
Malarie
10/10

ISV- Australia Stole My Heart

ISV has changed my life, I got a taste of a different way of living. Life was simple yet so exciting while traveling with my ISV Group. I worked in the Wild Mountains, a beautiful rain forest located near Rathdowney Queensland, with 13 other Volunteers who soon became a little family ill never forget and will always love. The Wild Mountain taught us how to live in this wonderful world off the resources earth provides us. We learned about sustainable living, while planting trees, doing track work, eating a vegetarian diet, and so much more. Traveling alone takes you out of your comfort zone and taught me so much more than I had expected to take from this trip. While volunteering I also learned about myself and what we I am capable of doing. ISV showed me what is important in life. Making an impact felt great and I will continue to do so in my own community now that I have the education.
The last 2 weeks of my trip was the Adventure Tour, it was an exciting 2 weeks of nonstop laughter and doing crazy things such as sky diving and white water rafting. One of my favorite activities was when we went scuba diving/snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Floating above it and just realizing how beautiful this world we live in is and how lucky I was to have the opportunity to travel to this amazing country with this awesome group.
ISV brought me life long friends and memories I'll always share and never forget. I highly recommend traveling with International Student Volunteers. I have traveled with my family, I have also studied abroad but I have never walked away from a trip feeling this satisfied.

Yes, I recommend
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Michaela
10/10

ISV 2016

My experience with ISV has changed my life. Although it sounds cheesy and cliche, I truly mean it. I learned so much about the importance of living sustainably, and how to properly apply that to my lifestyle. I had never actually been educated on conservation until I went to Australia. Not only was the learning experience amazing, the people I met have all become lifelong friends, that I will always share this experience with. I learned to push myself in multiple ways, like having to come out of my comfort zone to meet and live with 50 total strangers, and convincing myself to jump out of a plane 14,000 feet in the air. My life will forever be changed because of ISV.

How can this program be improved?
N/A
Yes, I recommend
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Patricia
10/10

ISV Australia May 2016

I had been nervous to be living with all strangers for two weeks, I felt homesick as I was boarding my flight. But as soon as I hung out with everybody I felt really comfortable because everyone else was likeminded and cared about the cause. Not only did I form a bond with all these girls but I also became inspired. Sometimes I felt really alone about my efforts at making a change but ISV introduced me to people that are just as passionate as me. I also thought Australia was one of the most beautiful places I've been to. Not only that but the lack of a language barrier really helped with culture immersion

How can this program be improved?
I think the cost is a little steep but I understand that that money funds all the excursions and volunteer efforts.
Yes, I recommend
Courtney
10/10

ISV Australia 2016

Due to the particular design and experiences within the ISV Program, I have been encouraged to learn more about our world and how each and every one of us makes a global impact each and every day. Which certainly reflects the programs mission statement which is "to support sustainable development initiatives around the world through life-changing student volunteer and responsible adventure travel programs designed to positively change our world and to educate, inspire and results in more active global citizens." After being in extremely beautiful locations and learning about them individually, I also came to appreciate them in the same way locals did. More importantly, I discovered the potential threat many of the plant and animal species that were in danger and the types of effort it would take to preserve them. With hands-on contributions and even embracing new daily habits to conserve energy and water, I realized that our group alone could potentially make a significant difference for the entire world. For example, I was a part of a group discussion one evening during our volunteer project where we learned about the aftermath of global warming and the emissions of carbon increasing the ocean acidity. This directly has affected the Great Barrier Reef, by destroying already 90% of it as it has weaken the shells of plants and animals. After snorkeling there myself, the idea of stealing away the future of ocean life for the next generation to come began to sink it. While I don't live there and see the reef everyday, I certainly find it an extremely important part of our ecosystem. I didn’t want to think of it just as a tourist anymore, but rather as a person who truly cared about the impact and danger it could do to our entire ocean. It was at this moment where I realized that I was gaining knowledge that would help me become a citizen with a better global perspective. This is how traveling is meant to be done.

How can this program be improved?
I think that overnight bus rides were tough for me and others as it was difficult to get enough sleep to be prepared for the next day. I would hope that this could be modified in some way or another.
Yes, I recommend
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Kaytlin
10/10

Australian Adventure

This program in Australia provided me with many great first experiences. This trip was my first time out of the country and I got to go to a country I have always dreamed about going to. I have volunteered in the past but never for two weeks or on a sanctuary, where I got to work with many Australian animals including some endangered animals. I participated in many things that I have never done before such as surfing, white water rafting, rappelling, and scuba diving. I conquered my fear of being too afraid to try new things and travel to incredible places because of this project. I made a difference in this world and met some amazing people that I hope to cross paths with again someday. I would not take back the experiences that I had working hands on with Australian wildlife and the pride that I felt when we accomplished something. This program has showed me what great things can happen when a group of ambitious volunteers work together to achieve something. I learned a lot more about teamwork and how to be a better team player. I have had many life changing experiences and would not trade them for the world.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by allowing more time to try new things and explore everything.
Yes, I recommend
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Dianntha
10/10

"Impact Your World"

Sometimes some people get lucky enough to experience something so life-changing that it makes everything make sense and fall perfectly into place; this is what ISV has done for me. ISV gives you a concrete purpose. They tell you the "why" and "so what" behind the volunteer work that you do; they show you exactly how you are making a difference and who and what it will effect immediately and 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

I volunteered in Little Desert just outside of Nhill, Victoria, Australia. Our group of 16 students planted 11,470 trees in under two weeks on the Salvana property owned by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA). I physically saw a change that I was a part of. Our project leader, Alex, and a CVA employee at Little Desert, Ben, made our efforts take on a whole new meaning by explaining just what 11,470 trees would do in the years to come. We didn't just plant trees; we created a habitat for animals-a safe place for them to come back to Little Desert, make a home, breed, re-wild the area. However, it wasn't until a little conversation at the Night Markets in Cairns that this all really sunk in.

I was walking through the Night Markets in Cairns doing some souvenir shopping when I stopped at a small shop where two men were making jewelry. I started talking to them and they picked up on my American accent and asked what I was doing in Australia. I explained that I was there with ISV, had completed a volunteer project, and was now traveling up the east coast. This stranger whole-heartedly, sincerely thanked me. He expressed pure gratitude and told me how wonderful it was that I would take the time to do that for his country. I was taken back; I hadn't realized until that moment how big of an impact we had all made. We didn't just plant trees; we truly impacted our world in more ways than one.

Yes, I recommend
Cydney
10/10

Trip of a Lifetime

I have traveled many times before, but it has always been with family. Never have I traveled by myself before, nor this distance. I absolutely loved it. Working on the project in Australia is, by far, the best thing I have ever experienced. During the time on project, I lived in an apartment with several other girls and we were within 20 minute walking distance to the Sanctuary. The town was small and cozy. Everyone we met was so friendly and laid back. While on project I worked hard, learned a lot, made many great friends, and enjoyed every minute of it. After the time for project was over some of us stayed longer with the ISV program and went on the adventure tour. It is truly an adventure! I made even more new friends, saw breath taking landscapes and wildlife, and learned more about the culture. Our tour leader was the best and said if we ever came back we always had a place to stay. At the end of the trip I felt accomplished and grew in many ways as a person.

Yes, I recommend
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Ashley
10/10

Making a Difference

I was sitting in biology class when an overly enthusiastic girl came and told us about an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity where you not only got to travel to a foreign country, but you also got to make a difference. I spent my first two weeks at Waterfall Springs which is a gorgeous organization that focuses on the breeding and release of the Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby which is an endangered species. My group members, who soon became like family, and I worked tirelessly to clean up their enclosures and make Waterfall Springs more professional for future donators. The second two weeks were spent traveling around Australia doing once in a life time activities while learning about the importance of ecotourism. I was able to sky dive, bungy jump, scuba dive, and so much more. My project leader and tour leader were so knowledgeable and fun to be around. I left Australia wishing I never had to leave. I took a chance when I signed up because I had never been to a foreign country let alone by myself for an entire month, but travelling with ISV was the best decision I have ever made and I would recommend it to ANYONE!!

How can this program be improved?
It couldn't be! It was PERFECT!!!
Yes, I recommend
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Alyssa
10/10

Life Changing Experience

I've always wanted to travel the world, not just to see it, but to really experience different parts of the world. I believe it is important to experience the people, the landscapes, and the overall culture because really experiencing how other people think and how they do things and what they value can change how you view yourself and your own culture. It can open your mind and make you think in different ways. This program does an amazing job with allowing you to really experience the culture of the country you choose. Through this program I went to Australia, and even though I only spent a month there, I felt as though I really got to experience and understand their culture. They took us all over Australia, I got to experience probably ten different cities of all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of different people, all over Australia. It was beautifully organized, I felt safe and trusted my guides the whole time. The guides were some of the most knowledgable people I had ever met. I got to spend two weeks working to restore Aboriginal land and the last two weeks exploring different cities all over the countries having the most fun I've ever had in my entire life. Surfing, abseiling, bungee jumping, ocean kayaking, skydiving, I still can't believe I got to do all these amazing activities. Single best experience I've ever had, I definitely plan to volunteer with them again.

Yes, I recommend
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Rhett
10/10

An Amazing Experience for a Student

Tl;DR - It was the best trip I have ever taken and I highly recommend it if you are a student looking to travel to Australia.

I was sitting in class one day, when a teacher informed us that there was someone here to talk about volunteering and traveling in another country. When the representative mentioned Australia, I was very interested as I have always wanted to travel there. After learning more I immediately signed up for their 4 week program.

What happens then is you travel to your country of choice (pending availability) and volunteer your time for 2 weeks living with a host organization. These organizations are local to that country that need volunteers to help them with various tasks with he goal of making our world better. I was put on a conservation project working on a Wallaby Refuge and Breeding Program. What ever project you are put on, you get to live for 2 weeks immersed with that local organization with an ISV project leader which really helps you get a sense of what your country is really like.

After your 2 weeks of working with volunteers from all around the world, you really form bonds with them, and become great friends with them to the point where I still talk to mine. But after you are done volunteering, you get to spend the next 2 week touring around your host country, in this case Australia. We travel from Cairns to Sydney (North to South on the East Coast). ISV has a set of amazing activities planned for you to enjoy at each place you stop at. I defiantly recommend doing the Optional Activity Package as it is worth the money. They also have a bunch of activities outside of ISV that they have discounted with.

All of the people are very professional and amazing at ISV and I highly recommend this trip. And reservations I had about the value of this program were soon forgotten after all the fun I had volunteering and traveling around Australia.

How can this program be improved?
I have very few words for how to improve this trip, It has been the best trip I have ever taken (coming from someone who is lucky enough to have traveled internationally many times before this trip)
Yes, I recommend

About ISV (International Student Volunteers)

ISV’s mission is to support sustainable development programs around the world through life changing student volunteer programs designed to positively impact our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

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