South Pacific Calling! Global Volunteering in the Cook Islands

Video and Photos

Discover the Top Five Boomer Volunteer Vacations Worldwide.

Request a boomer volunteering brochure.

About

Join Global Volunteers for one to three weeks in a variety of volunteer projects in the Cook Islands! Experience this exotic South Pacific island culture and locale while working one-on-one with youth, seniors and families striving to improve their futures on education, social service and conservation projects. You're needed to assist with a wide range of community service work projects on this captivating South Pacific island!

Types of volunteer activities include:
• Help children build on their English language skills
• Stimulate children 1 to 5 years old through reading books, arts and crafts, and more
• Work one-on-one and in small groups on numeracy and math comprehension
• Help high school students learn computer basics
• Work in a library and set up computerized library systems
• Help maintain school facilities by painting, repairing and reconstructing buildings
• If you have experience in organizational management, grant writing, bookkeeping, you can help local businesses!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

92%
based on 6 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 8.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
Default avatar
Teresa
7/10

Cooks rock!

This time last year, I was just leaving the Cook Islands after a three week volunteer stint, assessing English language reading skills among 8th graders in the Arorangi community on the western side of Rarotonga, the capital island. Facebook reminded me of this earlier this week by providing a flashback photo of me and my co-teacher Bill in front of Arorangi School waiting for the island bus we boarded at the end of each teaching day to return us to our family-run motel accommodation half way round the island. In fact, we relied on the island bus to take us anywhere and everywhere we wanted to go. Since the entire island is only 32 kilometers around, it was easy to access all the attractions via public transportation. Bill was a return volunteer. In fact, he had worked at the Arorangi school during all his previous visits to the Islands, a total of six I believe, and so was well loved by the students and highly respected by the principal and teachers. He prepared the school for the national maths competition which took place in the capital village, Avarua, during our stay. It was great fun to watch as the 4-girl team in the 6th grade class grew in confidence and self-esteem under his tutelage. They won the national award for their grade level, the only team from Arorangi to achieve that distinction! We all cheered their victory from the stands in the national auditorium. As a first timer, it was great to have Bill and another returned volunteer, Mary, in our group. They were invaluable resources for getting the most out of our experiences, both working and playing. Mary managed to arrange for two of us to accompany her to Aitutake, the resort island an hour's flight from Rarotonga for a fabuloJus day trip. She had missed the opportunity during her previous Cook Islands service by signing up too late to get a space on the small inter-island flight. We benefited from her savvy by signing up early to join her on the outing. Our group leader, James, was very approachable and professional, but a bit distracted since he also has a full-time job running the island's only brewery. At times, we had to remind him that he needed to schedule activities that had been promised to us, like the island night at the Edgewater Resort which nearly got forgotten about until we reminded him during our final week together. I was particularly inconvenienced by his tendency towards distraction. Since I was heading to Asia at the conclusion of my service in Rarotonga, due to the limited flights out of RAR I had to leave 24 hours earlier than the others returning to the U.S. James agreed to pick me up right after school on our final teaching day to take me to the airport, and directed me to leave all my luggage, including hand-carry in the company van so that we could go straight to the airport for my 4PM flight. In the event, he totally forgot to collect me, and I ended up getting a ride to the airport with the Principal who desperately tried to contact James by cell phone to no avail. Fortunately, I had both my passport and my wallet on me, so I went on my merry way sans luggage, leaving James to sort out how to get it to me. With the help of Air New Zealand, he did eventually get it to me about a week later, apologizing profusely. But on balance, my experience was uniformly positive and the people I met both among the locals and my fellow volunteers could not have been more supportive, friendly, and helpful. Having lived in Hawaii for many years, I was glad to see that the aloha spirit is alive and well in this part of Polynesia.

How can this program be improved?
I got the feeling that James was kind of a placer holder for his wife. Several people told me that she had been a better administrator of the program and the sort of lapses our team experienced would not have happened on her watch. I hope that she will return as the GV leader for this project when she finishes her training in NZ. James is certainly capable and well-meaning, but his priorities lie elsewhere in my impressions.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Debbie
10/10

Global Volunteering is Good for the Soul

I had an AMAZING experience....the people at Global Volunteers were so helpful and kind...made friendships via phone and emails!!!
The trip, itself, was more rewarding than I ever thought possible...GOOD FOR THE SOUL..The people in Rarotonga are so welcoming and the island a paradise. Debbie and James are very warm and personable and SO full of information and wisdom! Our team gelled together quickly and we felt like a family!
Hope to get there again someday, soon!

How can this program be improved?
Providing individual keys at the Kiki Motel
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sue
9/10

Global Volunteer Cook Islands is a wonderful program!!

This program has a wonderful in-country leader. The people of the community are very welcoming and appreciative of the work that is done. They support the efforts of Global Volunteers.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Michael
9/10

Great experience making an impact for other people

This was my wife and my first major trip after I retired. We had previously traveled extensively but had never done a Volunteer Trip. The Global Volunteer stateside organization was very helpful with any questions we had regarding arrangements for the trip. The Global Volunteer in-country staff was there to meet our flight and took excellent care to ensure we had a productive as well as an enjoyable visit. We experienced many aspects of island life that the tourists never encounter. Plus we met many wonderful islanders that we will alwYs consider as friends. Our project while we were there was to assist the children improve their reading skills. The effort was enjoyable and rewarding. The children looked forward to their time with us as much as we look forward to being with them. A typical day began early as we had to catch our bus to school around 8 AM. It ended around 5 PM after the last class plus taking time to visit with the school staff to ensure what the plan was for tomorrow. Evenings and weekends were full of things to do and my wife and I went to the island of Aitutaki for one weekend and it was truly amazing. We loved our time so much that two years later while on a trip to other parts of the Far East, we scheduled a stop in the Cook Islands for a few days just to experience the people and the place agIn. It did not disappoint us.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
DRM
10/10

Perspective chaning opportunity

This program was an amazing opportunity to not only volunteer, but to truly learn about another culture. I was there during the January trip, so there were a variety of assignments to choose from. Examples are: giving computer skills training to the teachers and the Red Cross, painting classrooms, cleaning up hiking trails, and sorting through donated books at the library. While at the work sites, you had a lot of time to interact with the locals, and learn about the Maoiri language and culture. Set in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, there was plenty of time to enjoy the island outside of the volunteer hours. I plan to return again soon!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
"Papa"
10/10

2012 will be my 6th volunteer trip to the Cooks.

Usually, I tutor Maori kids in English in a Primary school on Rarotonga. Sessions are one-on-one. Having gone back various times since 2004, it's gratifying to see old stundents who have progressed and know I have helped. Kids are kids all over - some are more driven than others, but all welcome the attention and put forth an effort. The staff is very supportive, and I have done some work with them as well. Our team leader is a local who provides insight to the Islands from history to local politics. Coming from Ohio in the winter to the tropics is a bonus, as is the tax benefit, but the best is the laughter and smiles of the people!

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984 - and trusted by 34,000+ volunteers. Volunteering for one to three weeks under...