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.

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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 91 - 105 of 122
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Riley
10/10

Review of Studying abroad with ISV in Australia- An Impact on Me

This trip was a dream come true. I had always wanted to go to Australia since I was little. To be able to go there, and make a positive impact on the environment while I was there was life changing. This was the best trip I've ever been on.

I went for 2 weeks to volunteer and had so much fun doing so. We were a few hours outside of Sydney, in cabins surrounded by subtropic rain forests. When we weren't planting trees or eradicating invasive species of plants were were exploring the towns near us. I got to see some of the culture and talk to the locals.We visited small towns, ate at restaurants, explored local nature wonders. It was truly an eye opening experience.

The trip made a huge impact on me as a person. While there we focused on learning how to be more sustainable, and how need need to protect the earth. Coming home I tried to keep the those lessons in mind, to this day I am still trying to live that out! Our Cabins were small, and roomed 4 people each, and did not have a heater. I didn't mind this, because we used Hot water bottles to warm us, it really wasn't that bad. In the main cabin area with the kitchen and room to hang out in we had to start a fire to warm it. We also took showers with rain water that had been collected. These all gave me a different perspective on how we live, and the changes we can make to be more environmentally friendly.

My group had 7 students in it, from Europe, Canada, and The USA, as well as 2 Tour guides, one an Australian local, one from New Zealand. It was interesting to learn about each others cultures and share experiences with each other. One night we all roasted marshmallows together, and another day we made pancakes with maple syrup in them (American and Canadian traditions) which were fun to share with the group.

We didn't really have lot of internet connection.I liked this because it forced me out of my comfort zone, and made me more present in the moment. I'm thankful for it now because it allowed me to put all m focus in to enjoying the moment while I was there.

Bottom line this was one of the most memorable, influential, impacting adventures I have ever been on. The people I got to interact with, the experiences we shared, will carry on with me throughout life. I hope to travel with ISV again, as soon as I am able to.

How can this program be improved?
If I could make one change to this program, it would be to make it more affordable. Yes, everything included in the cost of the whole trip was necessary, but it was hard as a college student to pay for it. If there were grants or awards given it would helped. I worked and tried fundraising (with out much success) to finance the trip. In the end it all worked out.
Yes, I recommend this program
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JustinePatino
10/10

Home will never be the same.

I traveled to Australia with ISV in 2011, and ever since my return my life has not been the same. In fact, the first thing I did when I got home was get on the computer and sign up to become an ISV student representative at my school.

The first two weeks of the trip I spent volunteering in the outback on a wildlife preservation ground called Calperum station. During these two weeks, you stay with about 8 people in one location, working during the day with a couple breaks in between. Volunteering for an experience like this is the best thing you can do for yourself. Our group became so close in those two weeks. In our down time we made countless videos (one of which we pretended to be in a horror movie), taught our group leader Parkour and even created a make-shift training room, gave each other nicknames, threw a thank you/going away party for one of the local workers at the preservation who became a memorable part of the team, planked on clifftops, had our own 4th of July celebration by the campfire, and sort of adopted a pet goat we found. Imagine waking up to an Australian outback sunrise, with kangaroos hopping around literally just feet away from you. I know, none of this sounds like work; this was just our down time. But we made even our work fun as well. We became so close and it felt great to know we were creating a positive impact on the environment we'd be unfortunately leaving behind us. Let me just say, all of us knew that these two weeks we were working and we had two more weeks of play ahead of us, yet we still had an extremely hard time leaving our volunteer site. The bus driver who came to pick us up at the end of it must have thought we were insane.

However, the following two weeks came at a whole different pace! We suddenly found ourselves with 50 other people we had briefly met in an airport fourteen days prior, in a hostel in Sydney, with a very fast-paced itinerary ahead of us. And every moment of it was both incredible and unforgettable. After getting to know 8 people very well, it was fun to branch out and see what other groups were like. Not to mention our free day in Sydney (during which I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge), surfing in AWESOME hippie-town Byron Bay, ocean rafting, white water rafting down the Tully River, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and bungee jumping in Cairns just to name a few. ;) These two weeks were full of adventure and risk-taking, overnight bus rides and city-exploring.

I went into this project knowing that the month would go by incredibly fast, so I decided to make every moment count. By the end, leaving felt surreal. I can talk about my experiences forever, but the best way I can describe it to you is that it was the best thing I ever did for myself. If you travel with ISV, and if you travel to Australia, I promise you that home will never be the same. And trust me, when you see what the world has to offer out there, you won't want it to be. You'll want your home to be the horizon.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about this program, I would switch the itinerary so we had one less day on Fraser Island or Airlie Beach and one more day in Sydney. We only really got one day there since we flew in late the first night, and a lot of us felt we didn't get to see as much of the city as we wanted to, whereas we felt we had too much time on Fraser Island given the activities we were limited to.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Karina
10/10

You'll Never Be the Same

Australia and ISV was the most life changing experience I've ever had. I made the most amazing friends that will be my friends for life. These people will never leave you and you get a whole new outlook on the world. I grew up traveling since I was a little kid and still I honestly believe this is the best way to travel.

How can this program be improved?
I would want more time
Yes, I recommend this program
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aussie09
10/10

A PERFECT BALANCE OF WORK AND PLAY

I traveled to Australia with ISV in 2009 with a group of 13 like minded individuals, whom at the time I had no idea would end up being my friends for the rest of my life! Together we planted over 7,000 eucalyptus and tea trees to rehabilitate a cattle grazed field and eroded river bank that was preventing certain species of kangaroos to cross resulting in inbreeding - putting them in danger of extinction. The location was incredibly beautiful- a valley of the Blue Mountains. Our project leader was amazing, she kept us motivated - providing us with information we needed to fully understand the goals of the project! It felt great to see what we had accomplished in such a short period of time- a true testament to what teamwork and inspiration can do! At the end of the two week project we continued on to the adventure tour- an adrenaline junkies paradise on steroids! We got to see such an incredible amount of the country- stopping at only the best selected activities along the way. You name it- we did it, bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, white water rafting, shopping, rappelling, aboriginal dancing and instrument playing! One must obviously go to get the true experience and perhaps you will understand why it is so difficult to explain in words!

How can this program be improved?
To change one thing... let us stay longer!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bex
10/10

Life Changing

Our work was in an Australian Wildlife Park. We started with a tour of the park, getting to meet the animals before starting our work. We cleared out frog ponds to repaint it's waterproof base, we worked on the erosion around the park's protective perimeter fance, cleared a waterfall, put up bat boxes and built a brand new pond for the dingoes. All of this was done with the animals all around us, and it was an amazing experience to get upclose and personal with the animals. The accomodation was basic, but the experience as a whole was well worth it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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kassiigirl13
10/10

Having fun while you help

I personally had a great experience with ISV and would recommend them to everyone. The first two weeks are spent volunteering in smaller groups of about ten doing some kind of conservation work. In those first two weeks my group bonded so much and we had a blast every day. A lot of our work was habitat restoration and removal of invasive species (aka weeding) but it also included trail maintenance as well. We stayed in two very different houses that were both beautiful in different ways. What I loved most was that we got to see a part of Australia that tourists don't normally see, I mean we went to Sydney and Cairns but we got to see Pretty Beach, Murrurundi and other beautiful places that you won't normally find foreigners. The second two weeks are the adventure tour which is a lot of fun but it's also a lot of traveling too. Overall I think if you wanna see Australia and make a difference too, ISV is the way to go!

Yes, I recommend this program
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emsere
10/10

New Experiences and New Friends

I know it sounds cliche, but I had the best time of my life in Australia by traveling with ISV. I'm a very shy person and was originally terrified of travelling alone and spending four weeks with strangers. However, I was amazed to discover that the 10 people in my volunteer became close friends that I still talk to even a year later. On the adventure tour, I met even more people and challenged myself to do extreme activities such as surfing, snorkeling, absailing and white water rafting. ISV gave me the opportunities to better myself as a person and the people that they paired me with gave me the courage to go through with them. Sure, it is cliche, but ISV honestly gave me one of the best experiences of my life that I will cherish for the rest of my life and shaped the person that I am today.

Yes, I recommend this program
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ihrtLithgow91
10/10

Most amazing experience of my life

I went to Australia July- August of 2010 and I have to say it was the most amazing and unforgettable experience of my life. The two week volunteer project was the most fun I had doing volunteer work ever. The people I worked with and shared in this experience have become life long friends and companions in my life today. There are so many memories, pictures, and journal entries that I think back on and automatically I am there with them all again enjoying and remembering our good times. For the first two weeks I spent in Lithgow with my group was a good time working with all sorts of animals, cleaning cages,and interacting with the animals at the animal habitat. We did so many tree planting you would think you'd be sick of it, but on the other hand we actually had a lot of fun singing songs, goofing and finding a rhythm to our daily work. It was a sad day to leave our project leader Alex, but with the next two weeks ahead of all of us we were just as excited. The next two weeks were unforgettable and full of adrenaline, and just amazing views and experiences. Basically every day for the next two weeks we were in the water, be it snorkeling, white water rafting, scuba diving, ocean rafting of learning how to surf, we were always near the clear blue and beautiful water. I wouldn't ever trade my experiences that summer for anything in the world. I made a thousand memories and good friends to share a wonderful experience, and nothing can ever replace that summer.

Yes, I recommend this program
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RFN
10/10

ISV Australia Volunteer Program

For 4 weeks, you get to meet like-minded people who you can work with to help the environment, explore new places, see emus running about in the fields, make friends with dingo pups, and see wallabies hop about in the fields you are working in. Amazing program!

Yes, I recommend this program
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MSUJessica
10/10

Make Friends While Making A Difference

The summer of 2010 I traveled to Australia with International Student Volunteers. My mission: complete projects with the Department of Sustainability and Energy. Each day involved something new. I worked along side the local old-time forest rangers learning about the area and ways they are conserving. One day I installed cameras in a forest to determine whether or not the DSE would conduct a controlled burn of the area based on the animal movement in the area. Other days I surveyed land for endangered plants. Other tasks involved building fences, weeding noxious plants, planting, and eating local treats.

The trip encompassed more than volunteering--I got to know a group of college students from across the country. We spent the first two weeks in secluded areas surrounded by wildlife. In the mornings we woke up to kangaroos eating outside our doors. In the evenings we went on hikes, nature walks, and to the small local pub (we met a reporter and made it on the front page of their paper!)

Following the two weeks of volunteering, we embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives. We met up with other volunteer groups to travel the east coast of Australia. Along the way we surfed, rappelled, snorkeled, shopped, hiked, swam, four-wheeled, encountered native animals, experienced native culture, and bungy jumped. The bonds we made will last a life-time.

Following that month long journey, a few of us opted to travel to Fiji for a week of relaxation in the sun.

Leading up to the trip, I solicited everyone I knew for donations. Donations are tax deductible; therefore many people are inclined to donate! The money was well-spent as I returned with great friends, amazing pictures, and a new sense of the world.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brittanyy4815
9/10

Wanted to go to Australia my whole life...

I have always wanted to visit Australia, and ISV gave me an affordalble way to do just that! Not only did I get to go on the trip, but everything was planned out so I didn't miss anything. I also felt good about myself when I can home, because I really felt like I made a difference in the sustainable development in Australia, as well as learned about responsible tourism! I worked at a winery planting trees to help wild kangaroo and local birds as well as working on the ferel proof fence to help keep out non-native animals. Truely a great experience! Going again this year!

Yes, I recommend this program
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travelbug22
10/10

You Won't Regret It

Going on ISV was the best decision I've ever made. I had the most amazing 4 weeks of my life! The first 2 weeks of volunteering were so great. I learned so much about conservation and nature, what it means to live simply, and things about myself. I overcame my fears of animals and insects, and realized I am capable of making a difference in this world. It was such an eye opening experience, and I wouldn't of traded it for anything. The host organization was so amazing, and they treated us so well. Everyone was so nice and friendly; the friendship that grew from this experience will last a lifetime. We were all so sad when the two weeks ended, we didn't want to leave our volunteer site. Also, my project leader was so awesome and made everything so much easier and more fun for us!
The next 2 weeks were the most fun filled, adventurous, adrenaline rushing time of my life! All the activities from scuba diving, snorkeling, bungy jumping, white water rafting, ocean rafting, sky diving, Sydney Harbor cruise, and many more were the most exciting, fun, and amazing experiences. I would go to bed every night saying that was the best day of my life, and then the next night I would be saying the same exact thing. I met so many amazing people and had the best time of my life! Like my project leader, my adventure tour leader was super cool and helped us have the best possible time. I saw some of the most beautiful sceneries ever, pictures never did any of it justice. I never felt unsafe or in danger with ISV and I would go back in a heart beat!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlin
10/10

Better Than Any Vacation You Will Have!

Participating in an ISV program was, and probably will still be, one of the best experiences of my life! The volunteer portion of the program really integrates you into the country and teaches you about the culture and environment you are working in. I traveled to Australia and we got to stay in A-frame tents in the mountains of the rain forest! The scenery was spectacular and we saw more wildlife on our site than we would if we took a tourist vacation, including wild koalas bears, wallabies, parrots and a python! Our daily schedule wasn't too strenuous, yet we worked hard to make a positive impact on the environment. Some days were tiresome like when we weeded out large, tree-like weeds, but the social aspect of being around your fellow volunteers made times fun and entertaining. During our free time, we took hikes to a waterfall, had fires at night, and even were taught how to knit beanies and make hand made jewelry. Our host organization and leaders were great! They were all friendly, fun to be around, and our cook made amazing food with our help!
The second part of the ISV program is the adventure tour, which is the most fun and adrenaline pumping two weeks you will have in your entire life! Everyday had some kind of amazing activity like white water rafting, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, visiting an Aboriginal park, and free days where you can relax, explore, or participate in offered activities in the area. At times the schedule can wear you out because you are having action packed days and late nights out on the town. The free days give you time to relax and take it easy if you want, or if you’re me, go bungee jumping and keep taking in all the excitement! We took a large coach bus from town to town and sometimes they were overnight rides. These were for further destinations so we weren’t wasting time driving much during the day. Accommodations for the trip were all pretty nice. I didn't know what to expect staying in hostels, but some were really nice and exceeded my expectations! Overall, this trip is worth every penny and you will have the experience of a lifetime! I think if someone were to plan a trip like this for themselves, they would end up paying even more and not do as many amazing things and see the culture and environment like we did! The volunteer portion allows you to see the wildlife and scenery better than any tourist ever would, and the adventure tour takes you more places and offers you more activities than you could ever imagine! I will remember this trip for the rest of my life and suggest it to anyone interested in traveling and making a difference overseas!

Yes, I recommend this program
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AKA
10/10

Heart Warming Adrenaline

To start the trip off, we got to volunteer for a full two weeks- food and board were completely provided for this portion of the trip. I was placed in an Educational Facility called Wild Mountains. We helped rehabilitate part of the rain forest by planting trees and weeding- and not your typical garden weeds- these weeds were the size of trees- they were trees! We also helped with building maintenance- bathroom repair and oiling etc, as well as little odds and ends like building new shelves in the pantry and a new garden seat for a new amphitheater we helped build. A group of 12 strangers showed up, and a group of 12 friends left- with a new respect for life- this was the heart warming part.

We then got to meet up with all the travellers for ISV in Australia and travel down the coastline from Cairns to Sydney- and this is where the Adrenaline began! We went bungee jumping, sky diving, snorkling on the great barrier reef, white water rafting, ocean rafting, ocean kayaking, hiking, swimming, clubbing- everything you could want to do- we did.

Breakfasts were always included at the hostels, some dinners were covered, and other nights our tour leaders got us really good deals, and lunches were almost always up to you.Food is slightly more expensive in Australia than in Canada and the US- please keep this in mind when budgeting.

The project was run very smooth and both my project leaders as well as my tour leaders were amazing people who helped the trip run very smoothly!

After the main trip is done, there is also an option to go to FIJI for a very low added cost, which was another amazing adventure in itself.

Yes, I recommend this program
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cjeffers1
10/10

Australia's Finest

I have volunteered a lot but never has it felt so good to travel abroad and volunteer. Before traveling with ISV I was caught between a rock and a hard place. While on the trip I was able to clear my head and figure things out. I felt my best because I was making a difference beyond my own backyard.Our project leader worked just as hard as we did during our volunteer weeks. We were like a family all working for the same cause. I cannot place enough emphasis on the benefits of this program. I was a little apprehensive to go alone, but I am so very glad I did. I made some amazing friends, five of which are my best friends. We bonded so quickly and had some great laughs during the four weeks we spent together. All of the staff such as the project leaders and tour leaders went above and beyond to make sure we had the time of our lives. Our project leader drove us to the zoo, to see a local Australian football game, to the bowling ally, and to a waterfall in the mountains. If we ever had downtime our leader made sure we had fun. Our tour leader made sure we all were safe. He would find each and every one of us taxi's if we needed it and he always made sure we got the best deals and discounts wherever we went. I highly recommend this program for anyone who is looking to travel, make a difference, see the world, make lifelong friends, and do things you always dreamed of.

Yes, I recommend this program

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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