Bamboo Alumni

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Bamboo.

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About

Bamboo is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, and the USA. Their vision is to connect volunteers with communities in need. They offer dozens of programs in 19 countries on 5 continents.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 47 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 31 - 45 of 47
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Allison
10/10

BE THE CHANGE TAUPO

This inspiring week has lasted long after we arrived home.

If you have a goal or desire to be part of change whether social, environmental humanitarian or for wildlife and don’t know where to begin, then “Be The Change” is an amazingly supportive environment where you can grow your idea and listen to other passionate people like yourself to feel confident that you can make a difference.

Everyone was at a different stage, some didn’t know what they wanted to do but as the week rolled on with sessions on fundraising platforms, watching videos of people presenting their passion, how to deliver your idea and listening to guest speakers, pieces of the puzzle fell into place..

During the week, we all bonded like a special family and I hope one day we can all meet again. Thankfully I have caught up with two special people from our group here in Melbourne to continue our inspiration and motivation.

Being all together in a great location was a great way to come together with like minded people and yes there was down time in-between where we played badminton, visited eerie NZ steam pools, went out for dinner and most importantly got to know amazing people and facilitators from around the world.

Only thing was, once you came home that was the challenge. How to keep focused and keep the support going, We wrote 3 month 6 month goals which were delivered via email from our friendly supervisor. My challenge was to keep moving forward so I engaged the support of Business mentor back home to continue to move forward step by step.

Thank you to Be the Change Facilitators for a brilliant week, we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful, friendly and supportive Team.

How can this program be improved?
As the program had people at different stages the only improvement I would make is to identify those who have their idea ready to work on now and find strategies to work on each day. I felt I could have worked on more specifics to move forward further. The presentation on the last day could then incorporate what strategies were put in place or discussed during the week. Eg. I have never had a facebook page so I didnt know how to use it or set up a business page which instead of the day before we left, it could have been a strategy I learnt earlier in the week.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Troy
9/10

Peru/Cusco/Urubamba

"The 2012 distribution trip to Peru was an amazing experience that allowed me to bond with other members of the group while visiting orphanages, schools and community centers. The opportunity to meet and speak with community leaders helped broaden my understanding of the socioeconomic challenges that the people of Cusco and Urubamba. I will be joining GVN on many future distribution trips as it has changed my approach to living.

How can this program be improved?
The ability to bring more supplies. Knowing what the children really need, if I should return, I know exactly what to bring.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Catalina
10/10

My Experience with GVN

It is amazing when you can be part of a experience that not only benefit a community and people in need but teaches you why it is important to care and why everybody should help causes like this. Global Volunteer Network is an excellent organization to help others and learn great things. I feel proud and lucky I had the opportunity to be part of their crew in one of their distribution trips. The kids, women, and people that benefit from GVN's programs will be the change and the future of a better community and a more just world

How can this program be improved?
The Peru distribution trip was wonderful to see how resources are allocated and distributed into the hands of those who need it most. It provided both an educational and fun experience. It is hard for me to think what i would change. I would probably make it a little longer to spend more time with the communities, but this won't be fair with those who work and have to get back to their daily lives.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlin
9/10

A Life Changing Experience

The Be the Change program takes your idea and gives you the skills and experience you need to make it a reality. The program provides you with fundraising techniques, tips on how to promote your project using social media, inspirational case studies from the staff and so much more.

Not only do you learn from the staff, but you meet a diverse group of like-minded people from all parts of the world, who wish to create positive change in some way. You will learn from each other and be inspired by new ideas and perspectives. You will also make friends for life.

How can this program be improved?
The program only lasts a week, which isn't long enough. I feel there is so much more that could be covered if only there was more time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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hilary0993
10/10

My Nepal Experience

In 2012 I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in some of GVN's programs. I was a volunteer in the Nepali village of Bistachhap, and was able to experience two different placements during my time there (Children's Homes and Teaching English). After my volunteer placement I also participated in the fundraising trek to Everest Base Camp. During the time leading up to my placement, GVN was extremely helpful. Being only 18 at the time, the prospect of travelling to another country by myself was very daunting. They (particularly Fiona) made me feel totally assured and I never had any doubts about my safety. Once in Nepal, all my programs were everything I hoped for and more. The transition between GVN and their partner organisation in Nepal was flawless. The programs were great and the kids in both were wonderful. The teaching was a bit challenging at first but extremely rewarding. The Everest Trek was amazing, meeting Eliza and Fiona from GVN was great (they were just as lovely as I expected). Climbing to Everest Base Camp is something I'll treasure for the rest of my life and I can't imagine better people to have done it with. I will be doing more programs with GVN in the future and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Tara
10/10

Be The Change- Taupo, NZ

This program offers a rare opportunity for a diverse group of individuals to come together and openly share their ideas and dreams in an extremely supportive and nurturing environment.

It is basically a camp for adults, where the focus is on social change and personal passions, and during which a random group of socially like-minded individuals inevitably form very tight-knit relationships through a range of discussions, learning activities, excursions and everyday living experiences.

For me, this program far surpassed my expectations. I went into it thinking that I was going to learn some of the extra skills I needed to help transform my ideas/beliefs/hopes into a concrete and viable project. Instead, the program was far more focussed on networking: identifying the holes in my own skill-set then finding other individuals/groups etc to support me across these areas. (Which is SO much more effective!!) It is important to be aware though, that in this short time there isn't much chance to really enhance your skill-set. The program is more about identifying what you need and making plans for realising these needs once you leave the program.

I came to the program with a very clear picture of what I wanted to achieve (to help establish a school in Liberia). 'Be the Change' was invaluable in helping me to refine my plans through constructive criticism, networking and informative presentations across a range of areas, including marketing, fundraising and the use of social media.

The facilitators were outstanding- friendly, passionate, intelligent and inspiring individuals who openly relished the opportunity to meet and work with every single participant on developing their personal areas of interest and passion. It was impossible not to feel caught up in the supportive and euphoric atmosphere of 'being the change', however the support offered was both concrete and realistic.

It was an inspiring and unforgettable experience made all the richer by the combination of facilitators, guest speakers and fellow participants.

I think this program is ideal for people who want to make a difference in the world, but who feel overwhelmed by their ideas and feel ill-equipped to turn their dreams into reality. You do however need to be highly motivated and committed to making your change. The team at GVN are great on-going supports to turn to with questions as you move on with your ideas, but ultimately you must have the drive and determination to keep chipping away at your goals once you return home.

How can this program be improved?
I found the program a little too short, as many people just seemed to get a grasp on what they wanted to achieve, but then had to leave before they had enough time to refine these ideas. Even one or two more days would have made a BIG difference.

I think networking is definitely the best way to go, but for people who do want to build their skills I think there should be a few optional skills sessions included. E.g. I think the program overview makes it seem like you will learn how to build/create a website. Although this can be extremely intricate, for people with limited I.T. experience I think running a short session (simply using one of the free website proforma sites) for people to mock up a website would be valuable for many.

Also, I think it would be good to organise one or two follow-up skype group sessions for the whole group (so people can keep up with what everyone is up to and help keep motivation levels up).
Yes, I recommend this program
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Akriti
10/10

Inspirational but ambiguous

Was a profound motivational and networking experience meeting professionals in the field.

However in terms of development of individual aspirations and goals, I found the support to be ambiguous, weak and impractical.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Monica
9/10

BTC in Tuscany

I really had a good time in Tuscany. The program, the staff, the people, the place, the food... everything was so enjoyable and inspiring. I would definitively recommend the BTC program, it's a lifetime experience!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rita
10/10

GVN Be the Change, Taupo

A very warm welcome from GVN team when I arrived. I was then introduced to other participants who came from around the world. In a very short time I did not feel like a stranger at all.

The GVN team facilitated and delivered the programme very well - well organise and they are very knowledgable and experience. During the workshop there are some interactions, group discussions, activities and we are also given small tasks during the workshop. We had presentation close to the end of the programme. Also, we had guest speakers who added more flavour to the programme.

If you do not know what you would like to achieve out of the programme, but have a passion in social change, the GVN team can help you in many ways - they can provide you advice, guidance, help you brainstorm your unclear ideas to the possibilities where you would like to be and what you can do to achieve your goals or dreams.

When you finish the programme, GVN team never close their door - you are always welcome anytime if you need help from them.

Outside the workshop hours we had freedom to do anything we'd like to do - exercise, quiet time, etc. We also had opportunity to visit a few places, see the beauty of the nature. I thoroughly enjoyed the programme, the one week programme is worth to attend for those who want to make a difference for the better.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lydia
10/10

A week like no other

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Be The Change. I didn't have a specific project, or idea that I wanted to implement for social change. The Be The Change programme can meet you where you are at though, and provide you with transferable skills that can be used in many different situations.

The facilitators were fantastic and really enriched the experience. They all went out of their way to ensure participants were comfortable but challenged and learning. The environment was very supportive and this allowed participants to open up and be honest and real about their ambitions and goals.

The content was varied and very applicable. Each workshop taught something new but everything was ultimately interlinked. Guest speakers also provided additional external information.

All in all this course was highly beneficial, and was such an amazing week filled with wonderful people, information, inspiration and food. It gives you the space to bring who you are and allow people to feed into your passions and ambitions.

Yes, I recommend this program
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trvl4good
9/10

Empowerment!

That is what BeThe Change is all about. Empowering those who want to make a difference in the world by giving them the tools and confidence to step out of their comfort zone and take action.

You come out of this experience knowing that one person can promote change and the GVN team is there to help you with your ideas and any obstacles you might encounter. Or, if you don't come with a specific goal in mind, they help you discover your passion and guide you as you explore possibilities.

I attended Be The Change in Taupo, New Zealand in 2009. The participants in our group came from more than 8 different countries and we became a family during the week. We not only learned together, we laughed and cried together (and especially inspired each other).

Throughout the week we learned the basics of what it takes to get your project off the ground, and how to advertise/promote your ideas using social media. We also had time for fun as we explored the local culture.

I left the workshop, not only inspired to "Be the Change" but as a changed person with friends from all corners of the world.

How can this program be improved?
There was a little disorganization from time to time but the program was fairly new. I know that since that time improvements have continuously been made and the program has advanced.

All in all there is very little to complain about.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Eben
8/10

See the other side of the Galapagos, and Contribute

My family spent two weeks in the San Cristobal program at the end of 2011. Most people who visit the Galapagos are on highly structured tours, whisked from place to place, and carefully shepherded by guides. As volunteers, we had a very different experience, seeing things that most tourists don't.

The station is located at high elevation on San Cristobal, a much cooler, cloudier, and verdant area than the hot arid coasts. They support a very wide variety of efforts, mainly centered around supporting native plant life and encouraging local people to support conservation. We spent a lot of time doing greenhouse work, sorting and planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and moving plants around from sun to shade or vice versa. We also spent time on removing non-native plants, especially Mora (Blackberries), which has run wild.

Perhaps the most eye-opening day for me was spent at a neighboring farm 20 minutes down the road. There our task was clearing one of the farmer's fields that had become overgrown with Mora, but what struck me was seeing up close how local subsistence farmers live, raising all their own food (pigs and chickens running around the yard, and a few cows for milk), and living in a house they constructed themselves of local materials. For years I'd heard the Galapagos described as pristine and mostly untouched, but it's important to learn that people have lived there for a long time, still live there now, and are an important part of the story.

Other work we did included tasks in support of the station, such as collecting fruit from the surrounding forest, helping prepare meals, and even hauling lumber out of the forest for construction. (When they need wood, they cut down a non-native tree and turn it into boards by hand.)

The work is 5 days/week, with weekends off, so most people head into town on the weekends to enjoy the beaches, snorkeling/diving, restaurants, and tours. The station is also flexible if you want more time off, for doing a multi-day island tour, for example.

The station can accommodate up to 50 volunteers, though we were there at a very quiet time with around 15, though every few days people would arrive or depart. Most of the volunteers are in their 20s; as a family we comprised both the youngest and oldest people there. Our youngest, then 9 years old, could not officially be a volunteer (we had to assume responsibility for her), but they were quite good about finding tasks where she could contribute as well.

On the whole this was a great experience. We were able to see a very different side of the Galapagos from what most tourists see, and also contribute toward improving the islands for everyone.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing? Well, the beds were really terrible, the mattresses were quite worn out. In general, it seems that it's very expensive to get stuff to the Galapagos, so perhaps they should figure out some way for volunteers to bring in stuff they need, be it mattresses or tools or equipment.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Andrea
10/10

The Best Experience of My Life!

Volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya was a life-changing experience. GVN definitely helped in making this a safe and unforgettable experience. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to volunteer abroad and who loves children. You won't regret it!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Beki
10/10

Nepali Adventure - Childrens Home Volunteer Program

Volunteering abroad has thus far been the highlight of my travels. I have traveled to 14 different countries, Nepal being the first country I actually became part of an organization and gave something back to the local community.
Arriving in Katmandu International Airport I was greeted by hundreds of locals all wanting to carry my bags and the view of a polluted city. My program was based in a village where I worked everyday in a Children's home. My part was to be the Didi, or big sister figure to the children. Helping them with homework, getting ready for school, playing with them on days off and maintenance around the home.
Life in the village was something I couldn't have expected and in fact while I was living there it was a great challenge getting through the days. I didn't shower in two weeks at one point, as the water was arctic temperature and I couldn't bear it. The 'Charpi' or Nepali village toilet was another experience in itself, and adjusting my palate to Daal Bhat twice a day, everyday,eaten with my hand, for a month was another thing that took some getting used too. In the end I became Daal Bhat crazy and would crave it like a mad man. Even coming home I still felt like the food. Looking back I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Nepal is beautifully scenic, taking hikes to the top of mountains with incredible Himalayan views was just breathtaking. Watching a wedding procession in the village and seeing Hindu rituals performed was something I couldn't have even imagined. Locals in both the village and city were always very interested in the volunteers and would love to have a chat. There was alot of poverty in Nepal which was not only heartbreaking but very eye opening and it felt amazing to be able to be part of the group of people that are trying to make a difference. The staff from the volunteer organization were amazing, helping us with anything and everything we asked. The whole experience was very relaxed being able to travel and sight see during our volunteering. Since the trip to Nepal I had booked another volunteering trip with GVN. Just cannot wait to get back out there and volunteer in a community in need once again. Definitely would recommend the GVN Nepal volunteer program to anyone considering volunteering abroad!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sarah
10/10

a definite must for would-be volunteers

this was truly the greatest experience of my life, to the extent that i every day i think about nepal and the people i met their. The staff at GVN are warm, kind and dedicated. They will answer any questions or concerns and show you respect. You will meet other volunteers from all over the world, of all ages (86 was the oldest i encountered!!) and these volunteers will become your closest friends.
Nepal is the most breathtakingly beautiful country i have ever visited, in every aspect. In particular, the people are friendly, generous and curious.
The children that i worked with were an inspiration, constantly laughing despite the traumas they had suffered in their early lives.
My daily routine consisted of, waking up when the family rooster dictated, morning nepali tea made on the wood fire, getting the children ready for school, then i would spend the day with my host family or helping the community maintenance team. i would spend the afternoon playing with the children and helping with homework before going back to my host family for evening meal. bed time was usually around 8pm as there is nothing to do once it is dark due to lack of electricity!
my host village was remote and traditional. i felt like i was really living an authentic nepali life. vsn gave us language and culture classes to prepare us for this.
at weekends volunteers would head back to kathmandu to let our hair down and have a western meal.
I would strongly recommend GVN to anybody looking to volunteer in nepal and i would strongly recomment Nepal to anybody looking to volunteer somewhere!!
the experience truly changed my life, i returned to the orphanage 2 years later and i plan to go back again very soon.
also, the cost for this programme is not overly expensive and i can guarantee that GVN put the funds to very good use

Yes, I recommend this program

About Bamboo

Bamboo is the next step in independent volunteering and adventure travel.

We're dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what responsible tourism is all about. Our dedicated team, consisting of the perfect mix of international travellers and passionate...