GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles

Video and Photos

Measuring a turtle at the beach
Measuring a turtle at the beach
Working close with our friends the lemon sharks
Working close with our friends the lemon sharks
Seychelles beach clean up
Seychelles beach clean up
Manta (the boat)
Turtle dive success
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles

About

As a country supporting 115 islands, Seychelles is ecologically diverse. Home to area-unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems, you’ll find over a quarter of the land under protection. This is an opportunity for you to contribute towards sustainable development projects in marine, animal, and environmental conservation.

Gain practical skills and experience by; researching coral reef recovery and climate change, working with lemon sharks and turtles to learn a range of safeguarding techniques, and collecting important data for government run sustainable initiatives. Each program has set objectives that are measured against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Connect with the local community and international volunteers alike, learning about different cultures. Make new friends, encounter the rare and giant Aldabra tortoise, or travel to nearby islands.

Highlights
  • Live and volunteer on an archipelago of 115 islands, connecting with local communities and international volunteers.
  • Learn about ethical volunteering and actively contribute towards long-term UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Increase your conservation skill-set, and gain your PADI divers and PADI Coral Reef Research qualifications.
  • Travel to UNESCO world heritage sites, swim in supreme tropical waters identifying native aquatic sea-life.
  • Experience a different way of life immersed in local communities, learning about the culture and customs.

GVI has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

Questions & Answers

For the Marine Conservation Expedition on Mahé, all volunteers require a current PADI Open Water. No additional skills are required, but it certainly helps if you’re already familiar with diving safety protocol and marine / boating experience. You will study either fish, coral or invertebrates and be taught survey methodology. Writing on a slate underwater would be a good activity to practice...

Reviews

95%
based on 27 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 27
Default avatar
Kieran
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living on an Island - Kieran Wilkinson

Hi,

My name is Kieran, 22 years old and from the UK. I went on a 4 week volunteering course with GVI in the Seychelles on their island conservation program. It was truly an incredible place and experience. I met people from all over the world and everyone had a passion for the work. Real difference from my usual job working in Insurance in the city. Everyone got along and the staff were really friendly, knowledgeable and funny. The support GVI staff were also very informed and present when you wanted help organising the trip.

The base it self is simple, but more than I had first thought. It has clean filtered water. Solar panel electricity for the base. Enough water for the toilets and showers. There is also a good single on the island if you have a local sim for internet and texts. Bear in mind this is an island. The base only has a small boat and the other other people living there are some rangers stationed on the other side. The base is also right on a stunning beach and there is a lot of wildlife around. Food is mainly vegetarian but I was surprised to how much I would like it and the opportunity to cook with different people. There is also a constant supply of local beer and BBQ nights to relax.

The work itself is amazing. The island is certainly breathtaking and holds so much wildlife. Turtle surveys, Shark tagging, Tortoise monitoring and also a ratting program. The ratting program may not be for everyone and the staff are very considerate and will not make you do anything that you do not want to. My personal favourite was the sharks. Catching a baby Hammerhead was incredible. Cute little head. The water around the island is also incredible for the snorkels and certainly beats the tourist chaos and makes you an in depth feel for life their and another way of living.

Enjoy!

Kieran

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I will definitely need a waterproof camera. The Water and snorkels were amazing and you get up close with wildlife that you wouldn't get on a standard holiday.
Default avatar
Chelsea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Adventure

The time of my life!

Diving twice a day in the beautiful waters of Seychelles, becoming family with people from all over the world, learning about the reefs, becoming part of the culture, beautiful hikes and some fun evenings out ;) can sum up the amazing adventure I had in Seychelles.

The accommodation is something to get used to but this becomes part of the experience. Everyday you will get a duty to complete with a time between your dives which help you grow in team work, leadership and make you appreciative of the privileges we have at home. You will definitely grow within yourself while on this adventure!

I found my passion for marine life which changed the direction of my life and with this I got qualifications there to help with my CV for the future. Definitely recommend for those thinking of going into the marine industry as well as those looking for an amazing diving experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Put yourself out there, enjoy every moment. Your time there will fly by!
Default avatar
Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

This experience was truly life changing and something I will hold close to my heart forever. If you ever get the chance to go on a trip abroad, this would be the one. Living in rural conditions right on the beach really put me out of my comfort zone and forced me to adapt to this new way of living. The interaction with the locals was awesome, getting to see how the island natives live and what they enjoy around the Seychelles. I stayed on the lovely Cureiuse Island (a completely uninhabited island with just GVI, the Seychelles National Parks Authority; no roads, no infrastructure) for two months. I worked with Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, studying their growth and nesting habits. I also got to perform the catch and release of juvenile Blacktip and Lemon sharks as well as working with other volunteers on the giant tortise census, analyzing of the growth of the endemic Coco De Mer trees, and beach profiling. Traveling to the Seychelles was an extremely spontaneous choice, however I wouldn't change a thing. Meeting people from around the world that share the same interest as you and becoming family with the other volunteers and staff is something I can't explain, you just have to experience it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Really read the packing list and contact past volunteers to see what they brought and how it worked for them so you dont over/under pack!
Default avatar
Beatrice
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living the island life

Living on Curieuse for three months was the most amazing experience, I got to work with baby sharks and see nesting turtles and even hold some baby tortoises that they take care of on the island. It's an unique experience that I don't think would be available anywhere else. The work that is done on the project is relevant and any task that is given will have a purpose for either the natural habitat of the indigenous species in the Seychelles or the environment as a whole. There is also time for activities outside the project, such as exploring the neighboring island Praslin and the amazing beaches there. I did my Open water course on Praslin during several weekends when we had time of.
Living the island life on Curieuse is sometimes hard work but is so rewarding and so worth it! And getting the chance to see the Seychelles is a huge bonus!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The first time I got to release a baby shark after we had done all the data collection. It was a bit scary, they have sharp teeth! But the staff were amazing and calm and told me exactly what to do and what not to.
Default avatar
Hannah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences of my life!

This experience was amazing I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an adventure and who loves the underwater world and conservation. I learnt how to become a better diver and also how to protect the environment. I met the most amazing people from all over the world who are now my closest friends, the staff are there to ensure you get the best out of your time in the Seychelles and are absolutely full of knowledge. I fell in love with this country and it’s beautiful beaches and the incredible reefs it has to offer! This program is full of adventure, knowledge and fun!! I cannot recommend it enough. Over three months I managed to achieve 75 dives, encounter more than 50 turtles, hike in the most beautiful terrain, swim in beautiful beaches and make life long friends!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Grasp every moment of this experience!! Take every opportunity you get and enjoy this beautiful country.
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Kyle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time on Curieuse!!

This is a great opportunity to engage with marine conservation work within a pristine Nature Reserve on the island of Curieuse, Seychelles. I can honestly say that joining the GVI Giant Tortoise and Biodiversity Conservation Project was the best thing I have ever done, an experience I will value for the rest of my life. Right from the very beginning with the contact from the staff, I knew this trip was going to be amazing but nothing can prepare you for how picturesque it is. The best experience for me was when I was lucky enough to see a Hawksbill Turtle basking on the surface of the ocean, whilst being watched by a school of five bull sharks. The staff were so knowledgeable and were always happy to help. I have learnt to cook food for 17 people with very limited cooking equipment and ingredients, loved every Friday BBQ night and made friends for life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure you take a box mosquito net and plenty of insect repellent!
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Ally
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience with an awesome organization!

I spent 4 weeks volunteering with GVI's Marine Conservation project on Mahé Island in the Seychelles and absolutely loved my experience! While on the program, I learned so much about and helped to collect valuable data on the flora and fauna of the Seychellois marine ecosystems, advanced my scuba diving skills, further developed my own environmental ethic, and formed great friendships with people from all over the world. I felt like I had great access to information while planning my trip, and I have still felt a large pull to remain connected to my experience in the Seychelles through GVI's extensive alumni programs. I would highly recommend GVI for anyone who is interested in international volunteering and meeting people from around the world. Additionally, GVI's marine conservation programs are especially well suited for science-minded folks with a love for experiencing the natural world!

Default avatar
Adam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I didn’t want to leave!

After booking my trip for only 1 month, I tried desperately to change my flights in order for me to stay for another month... with no luck though.
I learned so many new skills, both social, and scientific, that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I’ve always thought about going into marine biology in university, however never had a concrete plan, so part of the reason I went to the Seychelles was to give myself a sense of ‘work experience’ to determine my studies, and boy was I blown away with what I got. The hands on activities, and the friends you make, will stay with you for a lifetime.
Writing a small review on this page cannot compare at all to what experiences you will get in Curieuse Island. JUST GO!! I promise you, if you love warm weather, biology (marine and general), and making new friends... this is the trio for you!

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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time on Curieuse Island

I can honestly say that joining the GVI Turtle and Lemon Shark Conservation Project was the best thing I have ever done. It is an experience I will value for the rest of my life. Right from the very beginning with the field manual I knew this trip was going to be amazing but nothing can prepare you for how stunning it is. I remember one day, I was chilling in the hammock before dinner when I saw a juvenile Lemon Shark and a ray. I called everyone and we watched the shark almost beach itself on a few occasions. However the best experience for me was when I was lucky enough to see not 1 or 2 but 3 Hawksbill Turtles lay their eggs all in one day. It was magical. The staff were so knowledgeable and were always happy to help. I have learnt to cook food for 25 people with very limited cooking equipment and ingredients, loved every Friday BBQ night and made friends for life.

Picture of Gemma Bassett
Gemma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Changed my life!

My name is Gemma, I’m from a small town called Skipton in the UK. I studied at college Art and Design and I work now as a Marketing Manager for a stationery company. I’ve always been interested in volunteering and making a difference so being able to volunteer abroad on a variety of projects was a natural next step for me. I came across GVI on the internet whilst searching for a project that both myself and my boyfriend could do together. I then met with a GVI ambassador who really helped me to choose a project right for us and talk me through the process of applying – I already felt part of the GVI family before I got on the plane to fly to the Seychelles. The flight was long with a change in Dubai so we had a couple of days to relax in the Seychelles before being picked up and taken to the gorgeous island of Curieuse. We really didn’t fully understand what to expect by this stage and was going with the flow, meeting new like minded people and getting welcomed into island life. The first day was by far the hardest on the island, taking all the briefing tasks in and trying to understand everything you’re going to be a part of for the next two/three weeks! The GVI team on Curieuse were amazing and their energy was what kept me going. My favourite part of the experience was being able to release a lemon shark back into the sea after an examination – truly beautiful creatures. I learnt from my trip to the Seychelles that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was and also some things that I am good at that I didn’t think I would be. It has raised my awareness of my inner self and made me realise that I need to do more for myself in giving back to the natural environment and wildlife as the experience in the Seychelles changed my perspective for the better. We both felt completely safe and supported throughout our time on base and made some amazing new friends who we still see now we are back home in the UK – and even some of them have flown over to the UK to see us!! I feel this project got me on to a new path in my life, a more conscious living journey and something that is moving forward day by day. I would love to do more work of this nature in the future and I do believe this opportunity has helped me massively! I want to say a special thank you to Alan, Morgan, Catherine and Pete who each supported me on the island and gave me some amazing advice in my short time there. I’m very sad to have left and I hope to see them all again one day on Curieuse island.

What would you improve about this program?
We got a lot out of being on the island but the two weeks was probably not long enough and the team on the island could probably find longer term volunteers most useful. Perhaps looking at intake scheduling and planning volunteers applications may support them more!
Default avatar
Amy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgetable experience

My volunteering with GVI on Curieuse was what pushed me into following my passion for conservation. I felt relaxed going on my first solo flight/trip because of the amazing support from GVI before and during my time in the Seychelles. The hands on learning and variety in the volunteers programme makes everyday exciting. The staff were like a second family and I made some life long friends. I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
More interaction with the local communties during projects would be great!
Default avatar
Leigh-Anne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI marine expedition

My first week with GVI Mahe, Seychelles at Cap Ternay was a very busy one, the amount of information I learnt in such a short period of time was astounding, and yet I thrived at wanting to learn more. The days are long and tiring but in the best way!

Helping the marine environment and learning more about it is something I hold dear and it wasn't just about having fun it was serious and to know the work we were doing was making a substantial difference.

If more people can do what we have done all around the world then there is a slight hope in saving some of our coral reefs and marine life which have nearly been lost. Also being able to teach this to the local school in Seychelles was another an amazing experience, they want to listen and knowing they will grow up with this knowledge from GVI staff already makes the world a better place.

Everything about the program was inspirational. Plus scuba diving every day, well who wouldn't!!

Default avatar
Vanessa
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Curieuse Island Conservation Project

Although the base camp is very basic you do quickly adjust to that, helped by great staff and a brilliant group of international co-volunteers who gelled into an amazing team. The routine and simple life, free from technology (unless you want to invest in a local SIM) leads to great conversations, learning new card games - from Russia to Australia, joining an impromptu yoga class, discovering the delights of Exploding Kittens, or reading on a beautiful beach close to camp in your down time. I was there outside of the main turtle and shark monitoring periods but this gave me the opportunity to participate in a wide range of projects including beach profiling, Giant Tortoise measuring (hatchlings and ancients), Coco de Mer studies as well as monitoring the beaches for Green Turtle nesting and continuing the Juvenile Lemon Shark monitoring. It is worth finding out what you will be involved in and an idea of the size of your group, but whatever it is you will be trekking over beautiful, if rugged, terrain most days and getting to enjoy the simplicity of island life. Added to this we snorkelled every week and got to see so many wonderful marine species. GVI seem to be very age inclusive, which was important to me as a mature person. There are opportunities to explore other islands at weekends and Bird is highly recommended.

What would you improve about this program?
Match the number of volunteers to the requirements of the survey/data collection projects running in the relevant season where every possible.
Read my full story
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Melanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Big blue ocean.

My entire life I’ve been curious about the ocean and all that it has to offer. Volunteering with GVI really gave me a front row, hands on experience in marine conservation. Spending the last 7 years as a paramedic has been great, but spending 1 month working in marine conservation has really opened my eyes to a whole new world and is now a career path that I would like to explore further.

To anyone considering volunteering abroad, GVI is definitely the organization to go through!

What would you improve about this program?
Less base duties and an increase in the grocery budget.
Default avatar
Sebastian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Curieuse Island - 12 weeks of working in paradise

The seychelles are a truly magical places for volunteering. Especially Curieuse Island - with just the day visitors you life almost alone on the tropical island. No hotels, no shops, no cars or streets. Living on base is basic: no hot water, simply toilets and no air conditioning ;) . But after my three month experience I have to say that you do not need those things. The advantages of the island life are superior. In the right season you can see turtle laying at the beaches, you can work very close with baby lemon sharks (and by close I mean you definitely will thouch them if you want) and of course you will see the over 100 giant tortoises on the island. But you should have in mind that this is still a conversation project and not a 5 star luxury vacation! Be prepared for sweaty manual work, to develop the base, so it is a benefit for all.
But this is just a side note all in all I can totaly recommend joining this project, it is truly an experience I will never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
I was thinking a lot about if there is something to improve. But I have not found anything, so my answer to this question is „I don’t know“

Interviews

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About GVI

Founded in 1998, GVI runs programs in various countries around the world, each manned by our own staff and aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), as well as the objectives of local partners. We welcome participants...