This program was amazing. I'm not even exaggerating. You might think I am, but I'm not. I'll start at the beginning.
ISV Reps came to my university (University of Prince Edward Island), and I made my decision right then and there, I was going to Costa Rica. I signed up in like October, and was only leaving in July... So I had to be patient. But, time flew by, and before I knew it, we were on our way to la Pura Vida! As soon as we landed I felt safe, and welcomed. There were lots of other ISV participants landing at the same time, and ISV staff in the airport just waiting to meet you. We got on the bus, and heading to our hostel (which wasn't really a hostel at all, more like an awesome ISV B&B). We had orientation, met all of our group, and were off to our volunteer destination the next day. Those 2 weeks were some of the best weeks of my life.
I never expected to get so close with my volunteer group. There were 12-14 of us, no electricity, no TV, no internet. So when we weren't working we had nothing else to do but to talk to each other. It felt so good to do that again. Our group was placed in San San Pond Sak in Panama, on a Sea Turtle Conservation project. I felt completely safe during our entire stay. The staff & project coordinators were amazing, so welcoming. They showed us their culture, and we helped with whatever they wanted us to help with.
Our volunteer tasks ranged from helping them build a dock, to doing work with the sea turtles (my favorite part). We help with night patrols: patrolling the beach at night, hoping to find a turtle laying her eggs on the beach. If we did find one, we'd collect her eggs and bring them to the hatchery to protect them from poachers & wildlife.
Food. The food was different, but in a good way. Although I'd be lying if I said my first piece of pizza afterwards wasn't heaven.. And I'll never eat plantains again, ever. But overall, it was good.
We got to go into town during our volunteer weeks too, which was great. Got to call our parents, use the internet, etc.
Now, for the adventure tour. It was AMAZING. Once you're done your 2 weeks of volunteer, you go on a cross-country tour of 2 weeks doing AMAZING things. We went white-water rafting for 3 days, we went zip-lining, saw SO many things - stayed in these swank eco-friendly hotels. I can't even explain it. You just gotta do it.
Bottom line - if you want to travel, and experience a country for what it REALLY is, not just its tourist locations, do an ISV program. You won't regret it.