Affordable Volunteer Programs in Cambodia from $360 for 2 weeks!
94% Rating
(35 Reviews)

Affordable Volunteer Programs in Cambodia from $360 for 2 weeks!

Volunteers are needed in Cambodia to join a range of highly affordable projects for durations ranging from 2 weeks to 24 weeks. Based in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and surrounding provinces, volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects. Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses and local homestays alongside other international volunteers.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Cambodia:

  • Teaching English
  • Childcare
  • NGO Support
  • Computer Support
  • Special Needs Care

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $350 for 2 weeks
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 30 and 50 IVHQ volunteers start in Cambodia each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Cambodia with fellow volunteers - visit the Royal Palace, Angkor Wat and more!
Locations
Asia » Cambodia » Siem Reap
Asia » Cambodia » Phnom Penh
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$360.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Cambodia Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.
Other Locations
Provinces of Kampong Speu

Questions & Answers

No not at all :) - the only language requirement for all of the IVHQ programs is being able to speak English. But in saying that, it is great to learn bits and pieces if you can, I really struggled but it didn't inhibit my trip and everyone was grateful if you tried and extremely helpful :)

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    88%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    92%

Program Reviews (35)

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Shania
Female
19 years old
Qatar
Other

English Teaching in Cambodia

9/10

For my program I spent four weeks in Siem Reap, Cambodia teaching English at one of the local schools. It was a challenging but definitely worth-while experience. The information provided by the IVHQ staff prior to my arrival was excellent and allowed me to be well-prepared for Cambodian culture and climate. Knowing that somebody was meeting me at the airport gave me the confidence to travel alone. Whilst in Cambodia there was always a staff member available at the Volunteer House who was extremely helpful with both placement concerns and weekend plans. I was very happy with the quality of the accommodation, which was clean and comfortable, and the food was great. There was a wide variety of food available everyday and there was always more than enough for everyone. During my four week placement at the school I was able to watch the students learn and improve every single day. Transport was also very easy to organise and drivers were always on time for pick-ups. I used the same driver everyday and was comfortable enough to make several trips by myself. Being only 18, my parents and I are very happy with how smoothly the experience went and I will definitely be recommending IVHQ.

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Amelia
Female
10 months old
London
Newcastle University

Teaching English in Cambodia

10/10

I volunteered in Cambodia for two weeks teaching English at a school in Siem Reap. I hadn't had any practice as a teacher so I was slightly nervous but the IVHQ team provided information on the orientation day to help with any questions and concerns we might of had. When we arrived at our school we were given our timetable and some reading material to help us with ideas for teaching the children and what was expected of us. I was given three classes a day, I had to write lesson plans for two of them and the third I just acted as an assistant. The classes original teachers are usually in the room to assist with translation but you can be left solely on your own so I would definitely recommend having some basic learning games and activities before you start so you're not caught off guard. I was thrown into the deep end as two out of three of the classes teachers handed me the textbook on the first day and then went and sat down, although daunting at first I realised this was the best way to get the most out of my two weeks as I now had full responsibility to teach the kids. Having a textbook as a guideline was very helpful but once you get to know the children you become more aware of their abilities. I then tailored my lessons so I was helping them build on what they already knew.

Two weeks didn't really seem long another to make a massive difference however I did see the children improve in my classes and this made all the slightly stressful times worth it. I wish I had planned to stay for another couple of weeks as although exhausted I wasn't ready to leave after two weeks. It was such a rewarding experience and I would highly recommend it to everyone I really stepped out of my comfort zone and was able to give back to an amazing school.

How can this program be improved?

More information about your individual school beforeyou turn up to the orientation day would have been very useful.

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Soohie
Female
22 years old
England
Newcastle University

An incredible experience

10/10

I was teaching English in Siem Reap in Cambodia for two weeks this summer. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I really saw huge improvements in all three of my classes and they were so eager to learn. My placement was a huge learning curve for me as I was put out of my comfort and learnt a lot about myself. I felt like I was making a big and positive impact on the school I was placed in and was definitely a hugely worthwhile experience. I really felt like I became part of the community during my stay in Siem reap, at the school and the volunteer house, and I wish I could have stayed longer. Definitely apply for this programme, it's so worthwhile!

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Tianna
Female
20 years old
United States
Austin College

Self Orienting in the Orient: Cambodia

9/10

As part of a school program I set off for 6 weeks in Cambodia to volunteer with local NGOs over my summer break. IVHQ enabled me to do this by providing knowledgeable resources and prioritizing safety at an affordable price. I stayed in Phnom Penh, a fast growing city in the heart of Cambodia with an authentic feel and modern Western luxuries like a movie theatre and mall. The National Museum and Royal Palace are a must see while in town! I lived in a home-stay with a fantastic family and plenty of other volunteers from all over the world- kind of like a homestay/hostel mix with plenty of people but a homey feel. My NGO placement allowed me to help employees with their English skills through daily conversation and create several presentations for local volunteer training on project development and application. Outside of these immediate impacts, I was also able to help develop applications for three external grants including one for encouraging indigenous political involvement and governmental accountability and one for USAID water sanitation and safe hygiene practices. While I thoroughly enjoyed the work I had, it could be sporadic and I only wish I had more of it to do, but I understand I was placed at a new and growing NGO. My director and the other NGOs employees were a joy to work with, and encouraged me to leave early on Fridays for any weekend excursions I had planned. Having weekends off made for ample travel time with other volunteers (and solo trips) to incredible places like the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, an Irrawaddy river dolphin seeing trip in the Kratie province, incredible ice cream in rainy French-colonial Kampot, and even a weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. However, my favorite weekend by far was a solo excursion I took out to Koh Rong Samloem, a magical small island off the coast where the seas light up with bioluminescent phytoplankton at night. I had the opportunity to travel in ways (tuk-tuks) and places I had never experienced before, I got to meet people from all different places and walks of life and make some friends I have continued to keep in touch with. Thanks to IVHQ even my broke student lifestyle was able to take me far beyond my own city, growing, challenging, and rewarding me in ways I could never have imagined.

How can this program be improved?

Having more work to do would have improved my specific NGO, but I feel this is not a problem every NGO volunteer had.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tianna, Thanks for sharing this awesome review from your time in Cambodia. We are so glad to hear that you lived with a fantastic family, explored Cambodia comprehensively in your spare time, and enjoyed working at your NGO placement. Thank you for your feedback and for being an excellent volunteer, we would love to have you join us again in the future!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

Shuqi
Female

Do it!

9/10

Pretty solid program. Great kids, great volunteers, great place. You'll have a lotta fun just like volunteering anywhere else.
I did two weeks of volunteering, which is a time period that has its advantage and disadvantage. I started feeling sick and couldn't eat by the beginning of the second week, but also new people come after 2 weeks, you start going away for the weekend and really settle in at the school.

How can this program be improved?

I was teaching on my own for the young kids' classes, which I think should be taught by the local teachers and assisted by volunteers for pronunciation, etc. As a non-native speaker, I know the pain when you don't understand a word the foreign teacher's saying. I was basically sitting around in the higher level class, but I think volunteers could teach that class since they are more advanced and could understand you(the teacher for higher level classes treats the job seriously though so I guess letting the volunteers take away her job isn't right either). I don't have a solution to the problem, simply pointing it out. However, I guess every little bit of the correct pronunciations and exposure to English(learning by immersing in an English speaking environment works great for little kids) helps.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Shuqi, It is excellent to hear that you had a lot of fun on the program in Cambodia! We are sorry to hear that you started feeling sick during your second week on the program, it is never easy to be sick while in a foreign country. Thanks for your feedback and for being a great IVHQer!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

The boss monkey on my head. He almost broke my neck and I got a scratch on my face but he got his banana... It was amazing!
LAURA
Female
25 years old
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

HOME OF JOY

10/10

I can't describe with words how much joy my placement gave to my life in just a few weeks. I just want to say thank you to the sisters for their amazing special labour, to my wonderful colleagues Maria and Marita and all the volunteers for being part of this beautiful experience. To the staff at the volunteer house for taking care of us and being aware of all we needed, to IVHQ members and every single person who made this possible. But, I really need to thank the most to my nineteen beautiful angels for showing me how true love looks like and how simple happiness can be. I have in my heart those little faces and I will never forget them.
I totally recommend volunteering to anyone who has the opportunity, even if it doesn't give you the power to change the world, to put a smile on the kid's faces that's something of an achievement and it will be the most precious gift you will ever receive. I am definitely not the same person I was on my first day at the home of joy, because the funny part of all of this is that you go there to teach, but you are the one who learns.

How can this program be improved?

I would say is important to give a better orientation at the placement, because, in my case I felt a bit lost the first couple days. They don't really speak english so, It would be good to have IVHQ staff giving a summary.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Laura, Thanks for sharing this beautiful review from your time in Cambodia. We are so glad to hear that you met wonderful people and had a joyous time at your placement. Thank you for your feedback and for being a fabulous volunteer, we would love to have you join us again in the future!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

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Diana
Female
27 years old
Australia
La Trobe University

Best experience ever!

10/10

Volunteering in Cambodia was one of the best things i've ever one. I highly recommend IVHQ as i had a very pleasant experience with them. Everything leading up to leaving for Cambodia was smooth and organized, any questions were answered in a timely manner. I felt like IVHQ as a company worked with integrity and genuinely want to help those in need. To those who are thinking of volunteering, go for it, you won't regret a second. My only advice is to go with a very open mind, especially if you are going to a country that has very different customs or culture. Cambodia is definitely still a developing country and some may experience some culture shock, but just take it all in and enjoy the ride! The country is a beautiful place filled with even more beautiful people (be prepared to shed a few tears if you volunteer in the orphanages, the children are the most beautiful souls and i never wanted to leave them!)
Thankyou IVHQ for providing me with this experience, i'm already booking my next trip with you guys to volunteer in spain!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Diana, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that your time volunteering in Cambodia was one of the best things you have ever done – it has certainly been our pleasure to help facilitate this for you. Thanks for being an amazing volunteer and for your great advice for future volunteers. We can’t wait to have you join us in Spain!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

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Reegan
Female
21 years old
Canada
Lakehead University

Volunteering with IVHQ in Cambodia

10/10

Overall, spending 2 weeks volunteering in Cambodias capital city (Phnom Penh), was fantastic! Leading up to the volunteering adventure we had great support from the staff. They were always ready to answer any questions I had via email. Once arriving at the volunteer house in Phnom Penh, we were warmly welcomed by the other volunteers as well as the staff on site. I volunteered in with child care in an orphanage for special needs children. I would highly recommend this placement option as I have learned many life lessons and felt as though I left a positive impact. On the weekends there is lots to do in the city, as well as the close surrounding cities. If you're travelling alone, don't worry! All the volunteers are welcoming and often travel together on the weekends!

How can this program be improved?

This program can be improved based on location and food. Traveling 40 minutes to an hour by tuk tuk was not enjoyable after a long day volunteering. In addition, we were given the same lunch everyday and had suggested more of a variety.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Reegan, It is awesome to hear that you had a fantastic time volunteering in Phnom Penh. We are so happy to have helped facilitate this trip for you and it certainly sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by having a positive experience at your placement, and exploring Cambodia with other volunteers in your spare time. Thanks for your feedback and for being a great volunteer!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

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Aldo
Male
Cambodia
Indiana University- Bloomington

Experience was great, but...

7/10

The program was amazing. Cambodians are one of the nicest people you'll ever encounter. With that, though, comes a level of consertatism, which is not over bearing if you're not used to that culture. You just have to understand that it is the way of life over ther . Needless to say, the kids are amazing, as always and the staff is very supportive. If you like experiencing ruins, buddhist culture, and a dialect that is nothing like English - in essence, a place and people that are not the "norm" to Westerners - Cambodia is your place.

How can this program be improved?

Especially in May, it is HOT in Cambodia. That's obviously expected. But the coordinator needs to inform volunteers BEFOREHAND of the accommodations. The volunteer house we stayed in was great, but it was extremely hot in our room (about 90-100 degrees nightly), and we only had a fan blowing hot air on us. Such made it extremely uncomfortable and difficult to sleep, which, in turn, affected our performance at our volunteer placement. For people that are not used to the extreme heat, they need to be informed beforehand so to make arrangements or otherwise specify that they need air conditioning. I know "aircon" (air conditioning) is not the norm in Cambodia and non-revealing clothing goes with the custom, but diving into that custom can be unhealthy if one is not prepared or otherwise informed of it until the day of orientation.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Aldo, thanks for sharing your review. We are pleased that you enjoyed your time volunteering in Cambodia and I appreciate you sharing your feedback regarding the accommodation, as it's important to us that we are providing clear information to ensure that volunteers have realistic expectations. In response to your feedback, we have made updates to our accommodation and are ensuring volunteers are well informed of the weather conditions before traveling.
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

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Chandupa
Female
22 years old
NJ
Drexel University

Six Months in Cambodia

10/10

I went to Cambodia for a six month university co-op program to work for a local NGO. I went in with little expectations, and I came out with one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to help out with the NGO in a deep and meaningful way. In turn, I gained numerous skills that will help me be better at what I do in my future public health career. I was able to come across so many volunteers from so many different parts of the world and I have forged lasting friendships with them. Together we created memories that I still look back on, and that will last my lifetime. I was able to explore a country that does not get enough attention and is not understood by many. Talking with the local people, visiting the country's wonders and historic sites, and living their daily life have taught me life lessons that I carry with me to this day. I would encourage any future volunteers to volunteer for as long as you can (it needn't be for 6 months like I did), because many short term volunteers wished they could've stayed longer and several even lengthened their volunteer trip because they didn't want to leave. Also, come in with little expectations. It's hard to enjoy your experience when you have expectations of how things should be. Also try to explore as much of the country as you can. Doing this helps to understand the country as a whole.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Chandupa, Thanks for sharing. We are so fortunate to have had you join us for 6 months in Cambodia! It is awesome that you took this opportunity to really engage the NGO you were working with in a deep and meaningful way and gained numerous skills for your own future career. We love your advice to come in with little expectations as “it's hard to enjoy your experience when you have expectations of how things should be” and to explore as much of the country as you can. Thanks for being an awesome IVHQ volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

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Nicole
Female
25 years old
Syracuse

I left my heart in Cambodia.

10/10

Day one: I was laying inside my bug net, in the 90 degree heat, with no AC and had just taken a shower from a bucket of water we filled ourselves, only after realizing that rice is the only food we will have for our entire time here. I couldn’t help but think ‘what am I doing here.’

It’s a bitter sweet thing knowing two cultures.

Living in the orphanage for the past month changed my life. These children believe in magic, they play pretend, there is fairy dust in their IV bags. They hope and pray and cross their fingers. They are the happiest, cuddliest, most amazing people on this planet.

If you asked me my first day, I never would have thought I would have missed living in the conditions mentioned above, now I can’t imagine not living like this. I just took my first hot shower in a month and all I can think about is wanting to pour a bucket over my head while the kiddies are calling my name to come play. Leaving here is the hardest thing I’ve had to do and I’ll forever be grateful for the time I got to spend at the Child Rescue Center.

One of the main things I learned here was they aren’t the poor ones on this planet. They may not have much money, if any at all, but they have more happiness with what little they have and that’s something a lot of western people need to learn from.

These children brought light to my world. A day didn’t go by the last four weeks where they didn’t have the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen.

We actually lived in the orphanage with the children, so we got to spend every second with them. Every morning at 5am the music would start playing and we would go stretch and then pray. Breakfast at 7am, lunch at 11, dinner 5 and prayer again at 7. We got into a routine. The kids became family.

Every day I couldn’t help but think to myself “I wonder if this is what it’s like to have kids”. Endless amounts of kisses, cuddles, hugs and love. I miss them so much.

This past month changed my life forever and I wish I could do it again.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, Im not sure. I had the best experience with IVHQ. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nicole, Thanks for sharing such a beautiful review from your time in Cambodia. It sounds like you learnt some incredible lessons from the amazing children at your placement, and from the stark difference in living conditions. We are grateful to have had you volunteer with IVHQ and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager

Natalie
Female
20 years old
Wandin East
Australian Catholic University

Overwhelmed with Experiences

10/10

I honestly don't know where to begin, my entire experience volunteering in Cambodia was breath-taking in many ways. I set off on my first solo trip overseas as I thought it was time to begin what I always had the ambition to do which was volunteer as an English teacher. I came across this program and was NOT disappointed! I left my (overprotective) family, extremely excited (and hiding my anxiety) and headed for Phnom Penh, where I stayed with several other volunteers in a local family's home. Not only did I build lasting relationships with my fellow volunteers but also with the Lim's (Familiy I stayed with). In addition to this and possibly the most impressionable were the children whom I taught. As an aspiring teacher in Australia, I have never encountered nor expected such an experience to leave with. I have remained in contact with some of my students and director of the school and will most definitely return in the coming years. It was truly a beautiful and valuable experience which has left a lasting impression on me.
My experience did NOT end there, thanks to this program I spent my weekends travelling the unique sights of Cambodia with the new friends I made volunteering. From bathing rescued elephants in the Mondulkiri Providence to relaxing on a secluded beach in Koh Rong and visiting the temples in Siem Reap, I owe all of these experiences to IVHQ and their incredible volunteer program!!

Could not recommend this more, planning my next trip perhaps to Zambia to teach again?

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Natalie, It is absolutely our pleasure! We are so happy to hear that you had a breath-taking experience in Cambodia and are still in touch with many of the people you met while on your program. Zambia is an amazing country too, and we would be thrilled to have you join our program there in the future.

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Nicole
Female
22 years old
Cleethorpes
University of Hull

Unorganised, unsafe and massively underwhelmed

2/10

Signed up for 3 months working with NGO's in Cambodia, I was super excited until my first day of placement when I was asked to do IT Support and the language barrier was so big that it became clear I would not get any experience or knowledge because we were unable to communicate with each other. On my first day they also told me they didn't need a volunteer and I shouldn't return until they called me. Well a week passed and nothing. The program coordinator was unsupportive, hard to talk to and difficult to get hold of. When I eventually spoke to him he suggested I wait until they had work or do another placement such as childcare. I then went to head office expressing how difficult communication has been and that email was forwarded onto the program coordinator with no personal response, this was obviously highly unprofessional and made being in the house even more difficult. I was told I could move city and go to another placement but would have to wait 3/4 weeks. After all this I was not refunded for the program, very little apology, they refused to see what they had done wrong and after I left I was basically forgotten about. Many volunteers that arrived when I did were also so unhappy with their placement and had to end up doing an alternative program to the one they selected, or experienced massively unsupportive and unprofessional situations with staff. A guy was placed in the same placement after I left and he was also told they had no work and had to end up doing an alternative program. They really don't care once you've paid and will not try to rectify any issues or recognise that they are lying to people when they register with them. There was common knowledge as soon as you arrived that if you had a problem it would probably not be sorted. I've heard many stories of success with IVHQ but I would definitely recommend staying away from their Cambodia program, there are plenty of other well priced companies who will not take your money and then forget about you.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nicole, thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear about your experience on the NGO Support project in Cambodia. This certainly does not meet the quality standards that volunteers expect from IVHQ projects. We recognize that there have been recent issues with some of the NGO Support placements and we are working closely with the local team in Cambodia to make improvements, so that our volunteers can be effective in the work they do. We understand that in your case there was a lack of support in finding an appropriate solution and the local team provided you with a partial refund of your program fee when you left the program. The local team are checking in with each of our NGO Support volunteers on a regular basis to ensure that they are happy in their placements and they are working with each NGO to support them in providing better structure and communications. Please contact your IVHQ Program Manager if you have any concerns that you wish to discuss further.

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Samantha
Female
25 years old
South Australia
Flinders University

Cambodia will be forever in my heart

10/10

For years I had been wanting to have a volunteer experience that enabled me to become independent, self reliant, experience the world and learn a lot about myself. This trip enabled me to do all of these things and more. Looking at the way these people lived and grew was completely and utterly inspiring. They were always so happy, friendly and had a heart of gold. They were all willing to share with you whatever little they had. I could see them look at me as a walk by in the streets, I would smile and they would instantly smile and say hello. I had never felt so happy in all my life whilst in Cambodia. My heart felt full of happiness and the amount of emotional I felt when saying goodbye to the beautiful children I volunteered with was overwhelming. In such a short period of time I had grown so close to the children I had volunteered with, I learnt that I could do things by myself and I don't think I have ever been more proud of myself for doing something like this. I knew when I was old and aged this would be something that I would remember and that it changed the way I felt about people. I realised you don't need to be unbelievably rich to be happy. These people were so grateful for what they had, it inspired me to be a better person. I am wanting to volunteer more with this amazing organisation and I urge anyone who has the slightest urge to volunteer with this amazing, affordable supportive company!

How can this program be improved?

Possibly people could find out where they will be placed before they arrive to Cambodia? This may make booking tours and preparing themselves a little easier and I'm sure a lot of people travelling alone would have a big weight lifted off them if they knew where they were being placed.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Samantha, What a beautiful review! It is heart-warming to hear about the connection you made with the children at your placement. Thanks for being a compassionate volunteer and it would be our pleasure to welcome you onto another IVHQ program in the future.

Estefy
Female
25 years old
Quito, Ecuador

I'm going back next year!

10/10

I always wanted to volunteer in Cambodia, and I'm so happy I did it with IVHQ. Everything was really well organized, the food was very good, the staff was friendly and helpful, and my placement was exactly what I wanted to do. I volunteered with disabled orphans in Phnom Penh, and it completely changed my life. I think back to it all the time and can't wait to go back. March 2016 I'll be going to India for another 4 weeks with IVHQ :)

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Estefy, You’re awesome! We are so glad that you loved your time in Cambodia and were supported by IVHQ and our local team – we are more than happy to help! We are excited to have you join the IVHQ program in India next year.

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Robert
Male
25 years old
Sydney
University of Sydney

Volunteering - Not What You Would Expect

9/10

Volunteering in Cambodia was certainly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am totally satisfied with the end result of this placement after three months, even if it is not in ways I could have foreseen. Seeing the accumulative effect of my time effort spent on helping the organisation, but also those people who the organisation aims to help, was a feeling that didn't really manifest until the last few weeks. I started noticing that all the small ways in which I had previously helped had all helped the organisation in some way or another, albeit very small contributions. Then I began noticing how, over the previous two and half months, I had provided help, taken responsibilities on and produced work for my placement coordinators that left them open to tackle the larger goals and focus their attention. It then dawned on me, one volunteer doesn't save the world or impact in a gigantic way....but volunteers do. The work hours contributed, efforts expended and ideas shared and tested whilst I have been at my placement might seem to only provide a small effect in the short term but when considered in the larger tapestry of the volunteers who have worked at my placement, then consider the total volunteers in all of Cambodia, it actually makes an incredible difference. Volunteering is crucial to supporting those projects which matter the most, those aimed at improving the lives of others by any means possible.

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Analeigh
Female
29 years old
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Other

Fantastic experience with IVHQ - I couldn't fault a thing. Thank you for a life changing experience at Phnom Penh's Happy School

10/10

I was fortunate to be placed at “Happy School” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – The name says it all! The kids were always so happy, Friendly, enthusiastic, and eager to learn! They had a lot of respect for their teachers and volunteers – They were so grateful for each day. It was easy to fit in as everyone (Students and staff) made me feel to welcome. I encourage anyone, to take on the challenge and complete a stint volunteering – It is very overwhelming, confronting and challenging but so worth it. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone 

The IVHQ staff in Cambodia were warm and friendly, it was easy to fit in. The accommodation was good – clean and tidy, the food was healthy and nutritious. We were told about the cultural differences/ scams/ the do’s and dont’s – we had several different ‘tuk tuk’ drivers to transport us around. I felt well looked after and sage. In no way did I ever feel uncomfortable, unsure about my decision.

I was privileged to take part in the Rice Ceremony, which was held on Christmas morning (2015). This is held at the School quarterly and is an incentive for the parents to send their children to happy school – If the student attends 80%+ of their classes in that ¼, the family receives a 25Kg bag of rice. Parents and caregivers were invited for the ceremony – The children sung Christmas carols and put on a show. The principal assured me that the funds I had raised in my home country will pay for the Rice ceremony in March 2016. This was really rewarding, as I know a lot of my family and friends in my home country want to help different charities, but are sometimes hesitant about where the money goes. Every little part helps. Cambodia still faces a number of development challenges, which sadly encourages children to work on the streets and get money for the family instead of attending school and getting a education.

The little ones have so much love to give and it’s heart-breaking that they don’t have the same opportunities as we do in New Zealand. If you are thinking about volunteering – Just do it. Do it now, as you may never get the opportunity to do it again.

A huge thanks to IVHQ (Head office + Local staff) for giving me the experience, it defiantly opened up my eyes and made me appreciate all the little things. It was an experience I will never forget.

Thank you
Analeigh

How can this program be improved?

It was pretty close to perfect. All i could say is that it would be handy to have a weekly timetable - so we can see exactly what we are teaching each day (and because I like to be super organised) ha.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

"If you are thinking about volunteering - Just do it." Well said! We couldn't agree with you more Analeigh! Thanks for sharing a little about your time in Cambodia. It sounds like you had a really special time and we are glad that we were able to facilitate this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Sophie
Female
26 years old
Cambodia
University of Newcastle

An experience of a life time!

10/10

I had the privilege to work at National Borey for Infants and Children for a week in January 2016.

It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

The children were all beautiful and unique in their own way.

My day commenced with twelve other volunteers from IVHQ. We all left our volunteer house at 830am and finished around 4pm.

The activities the children loved was face painting (mainly the volunteers!), bubbles, playdoh, drawings and dancing.

One of the most challenging experience for me was feeding the children. After a few days though you got used to the routine.

This program taught the importance of teamwork and communication with other volunteers, staff and the children.

A lot of the children did not verballing speak, so the communication I used was body language to get a message and conversation across.

It as at times very emotional and moving seeing the children with their disabilities. The most important aim for myself towards the children was to show them patients, empathy, respect their dignity and show them love.

The mama's and staff at the centre are incredible people. They had so much patience, love and respect towards the children.

I highly recommend National Borey for Infants and Children to people who have a kind nature and patients. These children just need to be loved and cared for individually as a unique individual.

Thank you IVHQ and Cambodian Volunteer Foundation for my incredible time in Cambodia.

How can this program be improved?

Inform the volunteers which children have illnesses such as HIV so that everyone is aware and safe in the environmental settings.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sophie, Thanks for your review. It's great to hear that you had an incredible time volunteering and it seems like you were able to have a really positive impact on these children's lives in the time you were in Cambodia. Thanks for being an IVHQ and we hope to see you on another program again in the future.

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Gena
Female
24 years old
Hamilton, New Zealand
University of Canterbury

Amazing!!! Already Rebooked!

10/10

I volunteered in Cambodia - spending my first placement in Pursat, with an amazing host family! I will never forget how kid they were and helpful even with a language barrier we had at times, my second placement was Siem Reap at the volunteer house. Both placements I chose to be a part of the child care program. My volunteer experience in Cambodia was unforgettable, eye opening and so inspiring. It was my first trip overseas on my own but not at one point did I feel unsafe, the staff prior to departure and when I was in Cambodia were so friendly and helpful. I felt supported and excited every step of the way. The placements IVHQ selects in the host country have been carefully picked and you can see the full impact they have on the community once you are there, and it is privilege to be a part of that. Not only is the volunteering experience absolutely wondrous, the entire time, with other volunteers, in country support team! and of course the people of Cambodia made the entire trip unforgettable, adventurous and addictive. I have already booked my next lot of volunteer experiences and hope to be able to give as much as I know I will get out of them.

How can this program be improved?

Taking everything into consideration and the realisation that you are emerged in another culture, it is hard to note any relevant/serious improvements - as this would simply be trying to change the program to make yourself more comfortable - as it is nerving being out of your own environment - but the point is to immerse yourself and enjoy it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gena, It's great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts from your experience in Cambodia. It sounds like you had a great time both volunteering and exploring the country with your fellow volunteers which we love hearing. We are looking forward to having you back on our programs later in the the year. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Jenn
Female
26 years old
Calgary, Canada

My Experience was unforgettable!

10/10

I was placed in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia for six weeks, and just as my title says, it was unforgettable!

The city is full of life and loads of things to do. It is a place to really experience true Cambodian life. You are away from most tourists (with the opportunity to partake in touristy things), but you are mostly amongst the locals and sharing in their day to day lives. Another positive of being placed here is that PP is close to many places such as Kampot, Kep, and Sihnoukville, which are fantastic weekend getaway places. But, aside from that, the people, the food, and the atmosphere that is in this city, can't be experienced anywhere else.

There are three housing option in PP, and I was placed in the homestay. This was fantastic, and I couldn't have asked for a better place to stay. The family treated us really well, and made delicious food each day. There was anywhere from 8-15 ish volunteers staying here. Full house which made for great conversations, and loads of people to go do things with.

I taught at a home for children who came from rough homes and such. I was the only volunteer from IVHQ at this placement. At first I was worried about that, but it was really a blessing. I had the opportunity to really take control of the education that these students were receiving while I was there. This was fantastic as I am in my final year of teaching. I only taught half a day as they went to Khmer school during the other half. I wish I could have spent so much more time in PP teaching. The longer you spend, the better connections, and the bigger the impact you have on these children.

Teaching in Cambodia with IVHQ was by far the best experience I have ever had. I keep in contact with my volunteer placement, and I am planning to go back again in the near future.

If you are considering Cambodia, do not hesitate. Sure there will be challenges, it is hot, schooling is different, the culture is different, but isn't that why we travel in the first place? To experience these differences, and to grow and learn from them.

I think of Cambodia everyday. I will never forget the people and things I experienced on this journey.

Don't hesitate, sign up and stay for as long as you can. Two weeks is just not enough to experience it all.

How can this program be improved?

I think IVHQ needs to emphasize the importance of why we are there. Many volunteers skipped out on work, and that is taking away from the integrity of the programs.
Not in my placement, but some placements had an over abundance of volunteers, and those extra bodies could have been very useful in other organizations.
Lastly, IVHQ needs to make volunteers aware of transportation costs once in country. ie. to and from work each day. We were told to budget for water, but honestly in PP no one can drink the water so everyone has bottled filtered water which is super cheap and always available. The money that they suggest should be budgeted for water, should actually be budgeted for daily transportation. So just keep that in mind when planning your trip. Mine was about $4/day USD. I had other transportation methods available to me (pedal bike), however I had a great Tuk Tuk driver, and I felt good about supporting him and his family while I was there.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jenn, Thanks for sharing your thoughts, advice and photos from your volunteer experience in Cambodia. It was great to have you volunteering with IVHQ and we hope to welcome you on another program again soon.

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Gemma
Female
22 years old
Victoria, Australia
Other

Absolutely amazing!!

10/10

This was my first solo trip and it was way out of my comfort zone, I wasn't sure what to expect but it topped any expectations I had!
I loved every minute of my time at the Home of Joy orphanage in Siem Reap, it was absolutely amazing and it is actually pretty hard to put into words but it was a life changing experience!
I would recommend this program to everyone, the support post departure and on arrival is great. As I went by myself I was pretty nervous but the accommodation was great and I met so many great like minded people there from all over the world.

I can't recommend this high enough, I have encouraged a few friends to use the program and travel to Nepal next year, I am also super excited to be heading on my second trip with IVHQ to Vietnam in January with 2 of my best friends!! Love love love it, there are so many options and very reasonably price!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gemma, It's great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time out to share your thoughts on your IVHQ volunteer experience in Cambodia. We have similar feedback from so many of our volunteers who travel abroad to one of our programs solo and we are glad that you too benefitted from being able to connect to other volunteers from all over the world. We look forward to having you on our Hanoi program in January. See you soon!

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Tahlia
Female
24 years old
Brisbane, Australia
Queensland University of Technology

My volunteer experience

10/10

Prior to completing my program I had visited Cambodia twice with my family. We all completely fell in love with the culture and people there however were saddened by the horrific past and the number of people living in poverty. I vowed I would come back and try and help in any way possible. After talking to a few friends I decided to try volunteering, I travelled to Cambodia as part of a 6 week Southeast Asia trip but two weeks was no where near enough time for me! It is hard being a uni student and finding enough time but I still enjoyed every minute of it.

I was placed in the Missionary of Charity orphanage in Siem Reap which was a beautiful little orphanage for babies to 5/6 year olds. Our job mainly consisted of playing with and entertaining the children while making sure they were fed, bathed and looked after. This proved difficult at some times due to the adventurous and brave spirit of the children! The children are all so affectionate and love the attention and the carers and nuns who work there are very caring. There was limited teaching facilities which I was surprised by and I would have loved to try and run some classes however it was near to impossible with none of the children speaking any english.

Siem Reap is an amazing place and the volunteer house and staff there were so great. The house is a short walk from 'Pub Street' which is a street full of bars, clubs and great restaurants. Safe to say we enjoyed the social aspect of the whole thing! Overall I had the most incredible time and seeing the smiling excited faces of the children when we arrived in the morning made it all worth it. I loved it so much that I am returning in a few months! Would highly recommend to everyone interested.

How can this program be improved?

Discussions among other volunteer companies, there were a few days where there was 6 or 7 volunteer staff to about 20 kids. Even though the kids loved it I thought this was not necessary and that if it was better organised. Some of the volunteers could have gone somewhere else in need.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tahlia, Thanks for sharing a little about your time volunteering with IVHQ in Cambodia. We often hear that our volunteers’ duration is not enough, but the good news is IVHQ offers volunteer programs throughout the year in over 30 different locations so there will always be a chance to do more at another time. Your experience in Cambodia sounds very rewarding and we are glad that we were able to facilitate this opportunity. We hope to see you on another IVHQ program again soon.

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Zita
Female
42 years old
Toowoomba, Queensland. Australia
University of Southern Queensland

Amazing experience at Joy Day Care

9/10

I was placed a Joy Day Care in Cambodia where my responsibilities included showering, feeding, teaching, playing with and cleaning up after children aged 2 to 6 years. The day started at about 9am, when the students were picked up and brought to the centre and ended at about 4pm when they were taken home. The students were divided into 3 'classes' and I worked mostly with the younger students.

How can this program be improved?

Knowing details of my placement prior to arrival in Cambodia would have been helpful and made me feel more prepared. It would have been helpful to know what work I was going to be doing, the age groups of the children, the needs of the placement and other such information would have been beneficial beforehand.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Zita, it's great to read a little about what your childcare placement was like. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ in Cambodia.

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Mary
Female
42 years old
Queensland, Australia
Other

IVHQ Cambodia Loved Every Minute

9/10

For as long as I've known I have always wanted to volunteer overseas and I'm so glad I chose IVHQ and Cambodia as my first trip. It was amazing! So amazing that I wish I was still there! Best time ever!

How can this program be improved?

It would have been great if I knew the age group of kids I was looking after and given more direction as to exactly what they expect from the volunteers. Also the resources needed prior to leaving for you trip so we can buy from home as well as the country you are volunteering in. More variety in the food provided as well as vegetarian options.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mary, It’s great to read that you enjoyed your volunteer experience in Cambodia and we appreciate your feedback. Thanks for choosing IVHQ.

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Bella
Female
24 years old
Perth

Missionaries of Charity Memories

10/10

Hi all,
I just recently volunteered at the Missionaries of Charity Orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I applied for a two week programme however that is my biggest regret as two weeks was not enough. It was a massive step out of my comfort zone as I had never travelled in a foreign country solo however I would recommend it to anyone. It really gives you perspective on daily life as the experience encourages you to compare the life of the Cambodian locals and the life you live back at home. I learn to appreciate the basic necessities and become less materialistic. It was eye-opening to witness the happiness of the locals and sense of community despite living a very basic life.

I had an absolute blast at the orphanage and woke up very eager to return each day. The nuns were very accommodating and the children were super affectionate. Our role was to assist the workers with the children's daily routines, including bathing, feeding and entertaining. It was really rewarding to see the children smiling and loving the attention. The most difficult part was the language barrier as it was very hard to communicate with 0-5 year olds that obviously could not speak english. Nonetheless, I would definitely return.

The IVHQ programme provided quality accommodation and delicious food which added to smoothness of my experience.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing, it would be more communication between the CVF workers in terms of administrative matters.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Bella, Thanks for the feedback! It’s great reading about your experience and that you enjoyed everything from your placement to the volunteer accommodation. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

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Anna
Female
24 years old
Adelaide, Australia
Flinders University

My Cambodian Adventure

10/10

My 4 weeks of volunteering at a disability day care centre in Phnom Penh was a real adventure as it was so different to anything I have ever done before. But it was the best adventure!
Hand of Hope Community looks after 25 children with varying disabilities (including autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities) and ages ranging from 5 to 22 years old. Each child's different and therefore the more individual attention that they receive the better. That is why alongside the 6 staff members at the centre, myself and another volunteer were never without something to do. From helping kids with cerebral palsy practise fine motor movements through educational toys, to drawing picture outlines for kids to colour in, to learning the numbers 1 to 10 with kids with intellectual disabilities, the list goes on. A definite highlight was the first dance party. Seeing the kids faces light up when the music started playing and dancing around the room like it was the only thing that mattered is a memory I will never forget. I want to share my experiences with everyone I meet, but I know the only way anyone would truly understand is if they went on their own adventure.
The support of IVHQ (and CVF in Cambodia) was exceptional and I am already looking at their programs in other countries for my next overseas volunteer adventure.

How can this program be improved?

The orientation session held by CVF didn't answer all my questions as I thought it would. I understand that with such a large number of volunteers it had to be quite generalised, but it would have been good to find out a little more about our own placement that day so that we were more prepared going to work the next day. In the end it turned out okay and my questions were answered over my first few days at placement.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Anna, It’s great to read a little bit about life as a volunteer in Cambodia - thanks for sharing! It sounds like you had a very memorable experience and we are glad to have been able to facilitate this. We look forward to welcoming you onto another IVHQ program again in the future.

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Shanaz
Female
24 years old
Sydney, Australia
Macquarie University

Most Amazing Experience!!

10/10

I just spent 2 weeks volunteering at Missionaries of Charities orphanage in Siem Reap and I can easily say it was one of the best experiences of my life! Where we were placed the kids were very young between 0-5 years old so our main role was to play, feed and bath them. They were so beautiful and always had smiles on their faces despite the unfortunate circumstances they have been placed in! I went with a friend and IVHQ did a great job at placing the both of us and we could not have asked for a better experience. We stayed at the volunteer house which personally I really enjoyed as it was really social and a great way to meet all the other volunteers. My only regret is not staying longer as I think Siem Reap is one of the best places I have ever visited so if you can try to be placed here. I would 100% recommend IVHQ and I can't wait for my next adventure!!!

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Jo
Female
57 years old
Australia

Inspiring and Rewarding - Loved it! Planning my next trip

10/10

I have now volunteered through IVHQ twice, in 2011 and 2013. In 2011, I was placed with Maryknoll organisation in Phnom Penh for 4 weeks teaching English along with computer skills to children aged between 8 to 16 years. This organisation provided free education and accommodation to these children who were all affected by AIDS. My placement was within walking distance with my day starting at 8am to midday and then back at 2pm- 4pm. On this occasion I stayed with a host family which was fantastic. The meals were great and really enjoyed the experience as I got to experience their family life and got to go visit their home province. I don't think this would of been possible if I stayed in the volunteer guest house.

In 2013, I went to Siem Reap and was accommodated in a volunteer house for approx. 4-5 weeks. I was placed with MOC which is an organisation that takes in children at risk because of family situations for a period of time until the family is in a situation to care for the child. I attended MOC in the morning for approx 3-4 hours. I helped with the washing, folding the clothes, cleaning, feeding the children and playing with them. MOC also supports these families with rice etc. In the afternoon I taught English at AOO, an organisation providing free English and computer lessons to underprivileged children. The children ranged from 3-16 years.

Some of my favourite moments would have to be the eagerness of the children to learn and they are absolutely inspiring. They were always so appreciative, friendly and welcoming. Arriving at MOC each morning and seeing those smiling faces was something I looked forward to each day. I great way to start the day!

Make sure you experience the culture, the people, respect their traditions and religion. You definitely leave a different person.

The IVHQ staff and the local volunteer organisation staff are just fantastic, nothing is a problem. It may not happen like you are used to in your own country but this is Cambodia and things are done differently. Relax and enjoy the experience.

How can this program be improved?

In Siem Reap, I would recommend a policy of acceptable behaviour in the volunteer house be implemented more strictly, in particular going out partying to all hours and returning late / early hours of the morning.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jo, Thanks for the feedback, it’s great to hear about both of your volunteer experiences in Cambodia. We are looking forward to having you back for a third time.

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Dianne
Female
57 years old
Australia

A most amazing experience

10/10

My partner and I, both in our sixties, volunteered for the Cambodian program in September 2013.
Having never done this sort of thing we left Perth with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and a sense of nerviousness. We should never have worried as the whole experience was both sobering, exciting and gratifying.
We stayed in the Volunteer House with about 20 young people who, I have got to say, were some of the most amazing young adults I met in a long time. They embraced their volunteer jobs with enthusiasm and joy and it was fabulous at night, around the dinner table, to all be able to talk about our wonderful (and sometimes sad) daily experiences.
I was lucky enough to be placed in a PIO school near the old dump in Phnom Penh and my partner was the "handyman" for the school and the shelter. These children had very very little but the joy from attending school and also knowing they would be fed daily was a joy to behold.
Even with no teaching experience, this was a wonderful 2 weeks spent with about 32 truely beautiful 8-12yolds who, did not have very much, except their beautiful bright smiles and their thirst for knowledge.
Brian made a huge difference with the things that could be fixed and mended.....a huge list...and the children were so grateful for running water and to be able to watch a newly fixed, very old TV. Things that we, in Australia, just take for granted.
We were sad when our time finished but consider ourselves so lucky to have done what we did, meet the amazing people we met, along with the staff, and I honestly can say I came away learning a lot more than I actually taught.
With all the excitement of our experiences and stories now being told at home I have had at least 3 people...one my 22 year old son, wanting details of the IVHQ program.

How can this program be improved?

The safety issues at the Volunteer House, but these have been reported and I have been assured are being looked into.

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Sarah
Female
24 years old
Ontario, Canada
Small Group (1-15)

Some of the most amazing weeks of my life

10/10

The three weeks I spent volunteering at an orphange in Phnom Penh are some of the most amazing weeks of my life. IVHQ made the experience a great one with their low cost and supportive staffing. I met other volunteers during my time there and made some great friends. I miss the kids and the workers at the orphange every day and I really hope I can go back one day. I didn't experience any problems, it was smooth sailing, and the in country support was always there.

About The Provider

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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