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 31 - 45 of 122
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Elizabeth
10/10

BEST SUMMER EVER

This was the best experience of my life. Snorkelling in the great barrier reef, white water rafting, sky diving, surfing and mountain rapelling were all amazing. This trip changed my life and I got the chance to make 40 new friends at the same time. Sky diving was my favorite part, though. I got to go over Byron Bay at the eastern most part of the country. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, being able to look over the land and ocean.

How can this program be improved?
The cost, it was a way too expensive.
Yes, I recommend
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Cesar
9/10

A month full of bliss

The first time i heard about this program, I was incredibly exited. After I applied, fear struck. I realized I would have to spend a full month with people I hadn't met before but at the same time, I would have an incredible time that I hoped to never forget. So I talked to friends and they gave me the push to commit and come through.
Fast forward four months later.....
The day of my flight came and I had not recieved my visa yet. I am not a U.S. citizen so I actually had to apply for my visa myself with little direction from ISV. I applied a month before my flight and asked the visa agency to hurry my visa even though it clearly says on their website that they cannot do this and there are no exceptions. Well I received my visa an hour before my flight so I cleary did not make it. The trip hadn't started and I my stress level was high. After paying a ridiculous amount of money and 2 days later, I was in Australia a day after I was supposed to arrive. Tip: make your layover in LA as long as possible because this would give you the time to leave the airport and explore the city. That's what I did and wished I had more time.
Then I met the other volunteers in the house we would share for two weeks. I was assigned to the program in Newcastle, which in my opinion was the best one in Australia compared to the things I heard from other groups around the country. We lived in a two story house in the middle of the city! The other groups lived in a cabin in the woods, just like the movie. Tip: I did very little research about Newcastle and Australia in general before hitting the ground and I would recommend doing the same. If I had done my research I wouldn't have been as impressed as I was throughout the whole trip. It's much better to ask your volunteer or tour leader where to go or once you get there, do the research.
Most of the other volunteers you will like, a couple not so much and a few you will make a real connection with. At least this is what happened when my group met up with the other groups in Sydney. Just try to take it easy with everyone and ignore the ones that kill your vibe.
You will not always love the volunteer work you do. It is hard! You end the day really tired and wake up early the next day early to do more work. You get used to it. One day (the worst work day) we had to do a lot of handy work/extreme gardening for 6 hours and I ended up with a sore back and red blistered hands because the plants that we were rooting out were prickly. Other days will be incredibly rewarding. Sometimes I had a hard time understanding why we were volunteering but you just need to ask.
We stayed in really awesome locations that are situated close to everything. The nightlife is really really fun. And remember you don't have to stick with the others in your free time so get out of thr hotel room and go explore by yourself!
Con: you can't go in the water unless you are told it's safe. No matter how pretty blue or how swimmable the water looks, DON'T. There are jellyfish and other sea animals that will land you in the hospital. You will be able to swim in pools, lakes, lagoons, etc so no worry.
If you're worried about getting homesick, HAHAHA. That never happened to me. Don't count the days until you leave paradise either, you won't be able to enjoy your days as much if you do. Just push it back until the last day-then cry.

Enjoy it! You paid for it.

How can this program be improved?
Lower the flight/program costs. Provide more awareness for safety and ways to be safe in thr street at night, on the mountains, in the ocean, etc.
Yes, I recommend
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Marielle
8/10

ISV is awesome!

Traveling though isv was a worthwhile experience. Because it was my very first trip abroad, I wasn't sure what to expect. The isv team and my fellow volunteers, along with the thrilling outdoor adventures and the rewarding volunteer opportunities, made it an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend isv student volunteering trips to anyone looking to travel abroad, have outdoor adventures in beautiful countries, to engage in nature conservation activities, and to form lasting friendships.

Yes, I recommend
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Dylan
10/10

An Underlying Truth

When I left to this program, I was two years into college with almost all of my Generals finished up. On my trip I met some of the happiest people I've ever met. They were so in tune with nature and conserving it for future generations. That's why I'm now almost graduated college with a Biology degree, was because of them.

How can this program be improved?
I thought this was the best trip on the planet. Worth the money, the experience and the fun times I had. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer!
Yes, I recommend
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Audrey
10/10

Life Changing trip!!

This was an amazing trip! I made life long friends from across the country and had adventures I never thought possible. Definitely plan for the extra expenses for activities on the free days and add the week in Fiji. The conservation project was fun and rewarding. The adventure tour afterwards was jam packed with activities! I'd do it again in a heart beat...worth every penny!

How can this program be improved?
Not really in the programs control...but some people went a little overboard with the nightlife scene.
Yes, I recommend
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Stacey
10/10

ISV - Australia

In Australia, I volunteered at the Walkabout Wildlife Park for two weeks. It was an incredibly rewarding experience! Our main project was to clear trails because a huge storm had just hit. We calculated that if the staff at the park were to work on the trail every day then it would take them four years to finsih this task. It was hard enough already because we would be pulling trees and branches away from the desginated areas all day so to imagine that the staff would have to do this task for four years is a crazy thought.My volunteer group and I did all the work in two weeks! We also made and fixed several animal enclosures. We had to even out the soil in the pig's and dingo's enclosure so that when it rains Waffles, Maloo and Kirrika isn't freezing because of the water in their enclosure. We also made an enclosure for the alpacas so they have shelter from the rain. I think to know that we really made a difference is what made my experience memorable. We helped the park by clearing trails so that they can focus their energy on other projects and by making and fixing enclosures for the animals to make them feel more comfortable. During all of this, I met amazing people who share the same values of volunteering and conservation as I do.

How can this program be improved?
At the wildlife park, there were a lot on the list of projects that they wanted to get done which is understandable because they just want to keep improving the park. The only downside to this is that at some times we felt pressured to do our work faster or that there was just too much to do without much time. A solution to this problem is to have an organized schedule. There was one but some times new projects were suddenly added. I didn't mind the extra work I just think that if that is going to happen then we should be able to react to it instead of pressured to finish faster so that we could go back to the tasks on the original schedule. I just think there just needs to be a constant balance of trying to get as much work finished and sticking to the schedule. This incident only happened one time and it was not even as bad as I am probably making it out to be. The staff always thanked us for our hard work so we knew the extra projects were because they knew we were hard workers and not because they did not care about the volunteers.
Yes, I recommend
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Thalia
10/10

ISV Australia: Winda-Mara

During my trip with International Student Volunteers I had to opportunity to help with the Windamara conservation project. We helped plant trees, grasses and build a fence. The most interesting thing that happened to us while working started on our first day because we encountered leaches. Aside from being surprised and freaked out some of us couldn't help but laugh at the screams of those who were slightly more afraid. After work that day when we got home we made sure to shake off all our clothes just incase there were some still hanging around. For the rest of the two weeks we were there we were all on the lookout making sure to check each other for leaches. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience being able to help out a community who shares their rich history with all those that come visit.

How can this program be improved?
I would please ask them to inform us about the additional costs aside from the program itself.
Yes, I recommend
Savvy
10/10

What Had Changed Me

Australia made me break out of my shell and become more of who i wanted to be. I took my fears and i conquered them. By the time i was sent home i wanted to go back. I learned so much and i can never repay that joy.

How can this program be improved?
the cost is extreme and should be covered over a lot more in detail at meetings. i didnt know till i had to pay for 3 different things
Yes, I recommend
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Matthew
10/10

Fun Down Under

This trip is AMAZING. There are no words to describe the experience you will have if you go on this trip. You not only are able to make a difference, but you have so much fun doing it and meet amazing people along the way. HIGHLY recommend ISV and Australia. Just do it! I promise it'll be the best experience of your entire life.

How can this program be improved?
Cost, Everything adds up to be pretty expensive.
Yes, I recommend
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Lydia
10/10

ISV Conservation in Australia

While traveling on the adventure portion of the ISV program, we went to Fraser Island.The waters around the island are known to be shark infested, so swimming is not allowed. We had the opportunity to fly in a tiny plane around the island and during the flight we saw multiple sharks, whales, turtles, dolphins, and sting rays! This was my favorite location in Australia and it was so exciting to see marine life from a plane.

How can this program be improved?
My only issue with the program is the expense. I would not have been able to afford the trip without multiple scholarships and fundraisers, so it is not necessarily attainable for every student.
Yes, I recommend
Taylor
10/10

SEIZE the OPPORTUNITY of a LIFETIME

We've all had those moments. You know, the ones that may seem insignificant, but we just cannot seem to escape. During my time in Australia, I experienced these moments about a thousand times. The one that stands out the most occurred while traveling to Darling Harbour. As soon as the train came to a halt and the doors opened, a gust of air blew in and breathed some crazy sort of new life into me. I stepped out of the train completely in awe of the millions of twinkling lights that filled the harbor. It was an intense moment of realization of my own existence and I couldn't help but to think, "I am really here," over and over again. I couldn't have gone on this trip at a more perfect time, after my first year of college. I learned so many things about the many new friends I made, but more importantly, I learned a few things about myself. That part of the trip is absolutely priceless.

How can this program be improved?
I had the opportunity to go on the addition excursion to Fiji. While this part of the trip was mostly for relaxation, I really would have enjoyed more time in the villages. Learning from the natives is definitely not something that should be passed up and I feel as though it would have added so much to the trip.
Yes, I recommend
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Veronica
10/10

Life changing experience

This trip was something that made me learn so much. I learned things about myself and other people and the country i visited. It opened my eyes to so many things. I've made friends who wil forever be in my heart and changed my life.

How can this program be improved?
I would try to help the group of people who signed up for the program to come more in contact. And to help them know what to pack for.
Yes, I recommend
Alyssa
8/10

My First Time Traveling Alone

This was my first trip traveling alone and it opened up a whole new world for me to explore. The structure of ISV: two weeks of volunteering and then two weeks of exploring the east coast of Australia, allowed the best well rounded experience for a first time traveller. The best part about volunteering (besides helping out the environment :) ) was being able to participate in local events that a tourist wouldn't normally see. It was an overall amazing experience that set my life into craving more adventure and traveling to more places!

How can this program be improved?
Cost, which I understand has it's limits on being fixed but it was a big hinderance for me wanting to do more traveling.
Yes, I recommend
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Shruti
9/10

Australia Conservation Trip

My travel experience through ISV was one of a kind. It was the first time I'd traveled to a country while also being able to make a difference that I could come back to in the years to come. We got to spend a week working in a sub-tropical rain forest and the second week rehabilitating a local beach that had just been hit by a storm. (We also got to go surfing later on the same beach)

One of my favorite parts was being able to see wild kangaroos on the beach at sunset. The view was breathtaking and the wildlife was amazing.

Our program leaders were all from the area and we got to learn a lot about the culture, environment, and economy. We also got to try Aussie food like Vegemite and Tim Tams. It was so cool to see not only the country, but to go off the beaten track and live like an Australian, not just a tourist.

How can this program be improved?
I would definitely do this program again, the only thing I wish they could change is the program cost. Although a part of it goes to helping with the conservation program, I wish they would give us free food and boarding for helping out.
Yes, I recommend
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Camila
10/10

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy, Oy, Oy!!

"I said 'remember this moment,' in the back of my mind."

Wise words by an even wiser Taylor Swift. That line from her song "Long Live" is the mantra one should have throughout the entire ISV experience. Not only is this the words we lived by during the four weeks of once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it also happens to be one of my best friend's favorite songs. I met this best friend on this trip. So not only has ISV given me a chance to explore one of the most beautiful countries in the world and chance to ACTUALLY make a difference in the world, but it has given me some great friendships. Definitely above and beyond anything I could have expected.

After two weeks with a small group, you become a family, and then you get to meet the other families during the last half of the month. Whether it was Tasmania, Melbourne, Phillip Island, or random places such as Francis and Robe, every location depends on volunteers. They depend on us. There is no better feeling than having someone depend on you and being able to come through for that person/town.

I can't really put into words the surreal, breathtaking, wonderful, wanderful experience that ISV offers, so I'll just say this: one month with ISV has given me a desire, a NEED, to come back to Australia...so I'm studying abroad there next semester.

If I had to sum up my experience, I would turn to my Phillip Island family and quote our girl Taylor's song one last time.

"I had the time...with you."

How can this program be improved?
It's very pricey. I mean, it's definitely worth every penny, they give great deals for every activity you're signed up for, but it's definitely more than they say it will be on the website.
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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