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Volunteer Abroad Reviews
The local staff were terrific. They listened and tended to everyone's requests and concerns, the best they could with resources they had available. They arranged excursions as well as transportation. If anyone had questions, or needed to talk to them, they would seek you out and were very attentive to questions, ideas or concerns. The renovation projects were fun and rewarding. I particularly enjoyed observing the daily lifestyles and rituals in the Monastery. I went with an open mind and zero expectations of what I would encounter. I learned to take each experience a moment at a time, which allowed me to take in and be open to their culture, without judgement. I met so many kind and fun people from around the world, both locals and volunteers. There were just enough women, my age or older to hang and do excursions with, which was one of my concerns when I decided to do this. I had wonderfully, challenging &life changing experience! Would definitely do it again, perhaps next time with my son.
IVHQ were so helpful with our program booking - we had to change programs last minute and they organized everything straight away and were really great with giving us information and options. The orphanage and the day care rely on volunteers to the point where it would be very difficult for them to function successfully without, and so that means that you definitely do feel as if your time's genuinely worth it. The kids and the staff really do appreciate the volunteers, and skilled volunteers can really bring a lot to the day care program. I've learnt and experienced SO much through this trip. Having lived in 4 different countries now (currently living in a third world country) and having traveled to over 30 countries, I've actually been genuinely surprised at how much I feel like I've learnt and grown in Vietnam and through volunteering. The culture is so different, and volunteering and living not in the centre of Ho Chi Minh gave such a different perspective than if I was there just to travel - it felt like we got to know the city and understand the culture in a much better way, as well as being able to give back to the community. I loved it. It was such, such a wonderful experience. Thank you for making it possible. Also, the local staff were my guardian angels - they went so out of their way to help us, were available at any time if they were needed and were just the best people you could have around to help volunteers who don't speak the language or know the culture.
The project was hard, tiring work, but that was what I was looking for. It was good that there was freedom and laterality to do what we wanted to help advance the project. it was good seeing tangible progress in front of our eyes. Every volunteer's manpower does contribute to the project, and I felt like for once I was making a change. The experience of living in a third-world country for one was a very eye-opening experience; it taught me the value of being simple and enjoying the small things in life. The family was very, very hospitable. I felt I made a second family here. We connected personally, had good food, and even went out a few times to meet other family members. The beds were comfortable, the rooms and bathrooms clean, the food was tasty, and we felt safe and comfortable. No problems whatsoever. A favorite moment included playing soccer with a group of local boys. IVHQers vs Cuscoan boys, and we barely won by a margin of one point. It was fun though, as I played goalie and had a lot saves despite the score being 12-11.
My host families were infinitely kind and welcoming. Both locations had ample room and excellent meals. The hosts made genuine efforts to welcome me into their lives by taking me on hikes and to their farms, allowing me to help cook, and showing me local sites. I felt taken care of at all times. I have solidified my being as an independent traveler and a totally realized person. My travels have brought me intellectual and emotional breadth, and my volunteering has brought me closer to individuals and the community that has so openly welcomed me.
Once you get used to the Mora Mora lifestyle, the Marine program absolutely delivered! The accomodation had a beautiful view, spectacular property! From everything I've seen, things are just going up! I loved this trip!!! I wish I could have stayed for longer, and I can't wait to see how the program grows!! Keep up the good work :)
The orientation was so much fun. I had the best time, and it was the best way to introduce me into the culture in such a short amount of time. IVHQ was always available to answer any questions I had. I was even able to reach you in New Zealand through Skype on a telephone call. I think the children enjoyed the lessons we had planned for them. I hope it engaged them in learning more. I have learned a lot. I learned to be more independent and open-minded. Learning about a different culture has really helped me grow. I really enjoyed my accommodation and couldn't have asked for anything better. I loved surfing the breaks at Padang Padang beach, seeing the children laugh and smile while learning what we were teaching them, and celebrating Galungan with the Penestanan village.
In Guatemala, the local staff is always available, cheerful, and supportive. I applied to teach English, and the school that I was at utilized my math teaching background and Spanish speaking skills. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
I enjoyed orientation. The painting and temple visit were amazing experiences and the language lessons helped a fair bit when in the local community. I feel like the project was one of the best experiences and working with the turtles was exactly what I wanted to do. The project is not only worthwhile for the turtles but it is good for the local economy and it is raising awareness about the environment which is really needed over here in Nusa Penida. I feel like I have grown immensely. I'm able to see things from different perspectives now and I also found that I'm more comfortable with being on my own. The hosts and meals were amazing. The accommodation was always clean and well kept.The overall experience was amazing.
Going to Bogota, I didn't know what to expect, but Monica and Edyta were very helpful in answering emails with all my questions, so I felt comfortable enough when I arrived. Volunteering in Colombia has easily been the best experience of my life. I worked at the Little Heroes project, a shelter for kids fighting cancer, and it was the great. The kids were so loving and strong. I always felt appreciated, welcome, and loved (I don't think I went 10 minutes without a hug from these kids). Also, IVHQ has been awesome ! The coordinator was there on time for the airport pick-up, she also helped us with anything we needed (directions, and helping us find things we need, dealing with any problems that came up). Everyone working with the Bogota program was very helpful The apartment was nice, Rosa's food never disappointed. The area around there was really nice too, malls and supermarkets within walking distance. In the 3 weeks that I was there, I made so many new friends from all over, and we also met many locals. We had more than enough time for working and exploring the city. My only regret is not staying longer :)
I enjoyed every moment of it. I discovered things about myself and strengths I didn't know I had. You give a lot, but receive 10 times back. It's amazing and it's an eye-opening experience. I'm already thinking of my next trip! I love travelling but this is so different and so fulfilling, it gives you an other perspective on the world and people. Good accommodation standards (western toilets much appreciated!), clean, common areas were spacious. I got the chance to meet with the Grandmother of a little girl I chose to sponsor (paid her school fees thanks to fundraising) as she has only her Grandmother to care for her. A favourite moment was meeting with this humble lady who could not speak English, but expressed all her gratitude anyway. It was really emotional.