IVHQ Groups Reviews

Volunteer Overseas as a Group with IVHQ

Since our arrival in Bali, the local team have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Not only effectively coordinating all activities, but ensuring our every need was catered for. They made all the students feel safe, secure and valued. These proactive actions to ensure total inclusion have been so appreciated by Pete, myself and our students. Which made our time volunteering a fantastically memorable experience. An experience we hope to repeat again in the future. Andrea Carr, Enviro-Bali Group Leader. Environmental Education (Bali - October 2015)

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity you have given us this week - it was truly a memorable one, and one that gave us a lot of insight into rural communities and what we could actively do to support them from wherever we are. The local staff were absolutely wonderful and a pleasure to have overseeing our stay, as were the other volunteers. I just wanted to say thank you for giving us this opportunity and hope we get to work together sometime in the future. Giana Siddiqui, SJI International Group Leader. Outdoor Work (Thailand - October 2015)

Planning this experience couldn’t have been easier. IVHQ was fantastic to work with - they were proactive in their approach, insightful, had quick responses, and never tired from our many, many questions and sometimes last-minute changes within our group.If you’re looking to arrange a group, you will have peace of mind with working with IVHQ. For future groups and volunteers, I’d say you’re about to have an awesome experience in Costa Rica; definitely take the opportunity to stay with host families - you’ll learn so much Spanish, eat like royalty, and experience the warmth of the culture. As the ticos say, Pura Vida! Ryan Thomas, Group Leader for the University of Michigan Honors Group on the Turtle Conservation project (Costa Rica - May 2015).

IVHQ - University of Michigan Honours Group - Volunteer abroad as a group

I chose IVHQ because of their approach to Responsible Volunteer Travel, the level of service and support I received, and the affordability of their fees. All of my students had access to information ahead of time and the local team were also EXCELLENT on the ground. As a faculty leader, I was completely satisfied and I very much feel that our project was suitable for our group, with all of us growing and learning from the experience. Volunteering in Guatemala was a very humbling experience and I will take my students on more of these kinds of experiences. They all grew exponentially from the experience. The local team was excellent in every way from the moment we arrived until we left; a special kudos to the leader of our medical campaign. He is truly an asset and an angel to the disadvantaged of his country. Michelle Osmond, Faculty Leader for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Group from Algonquin College, Canada (Guatemala - May 2015)

IVHQ Group - Nursing Group from Algonquin College

Overall it was very good! I thought the orientation was well-planned and delivered. It was during that period that I began to clearly understand what to expect. This was a learning and exploratory trip for me and my group and the project was suitable for what I wanted to do. I loved answering the children’s questions, interacting with the other teachers, walking through the community and interacting with the people who lived there and learning from them. I definitely felt as if my time and the time of the entire Village P.r.o.j.e.c.t.s Group was genuinely appreciated and meaningful to the community. We were told this consistently, and the welcome each day from the children, the staff, and the community, assured us that we were appreciated. Each experience broadens my knowledge and appreciation of the meaning of service to others. I am grateful always for that opportunity. I absolutely loved the experience! Gloria Willingham, Village Projects Group Leader (Ghana, August 2014)

I traveled as part of the M-HEAL Group to Guatemala. Before signing up for the trip, I liked the safety requirements and that there was an explanation of fees, making it quick and easy to complete everything. Overall, we had no complications with the service and the team was always there for help. I loved every minute of the trip and our Medical project was exactly what I was hoping for and more. It was also very nice that my whole group could all stay in the same home-stay; it made us closer as a group and more enjoyable. I feel our time was greatly appreciated and I got so many ‘Thank You’s for the simplest things. Even at the beginning of the trip, the patients were so welcoming, with a little boy realizing that I didn’t have a lot of Spanish background and deciding to come up to me and talk to me exclusively in elementary Spanish. I’m so happy I went and I would love to go back. Patricia Dine, Group Member of the University of Michigan, HEAL (Health Engineered for All Lives) Group (Guatemala - March 2015)

I went as part of a school service project. I found everything well-organized and there was a strong commitment to safety and volunteering. The IVHQ team was an excellent source of information and attentive to the group’s concerns and issues, and the volunteer house staff in Argentina were also excellent. Everything was excellent. The local team did an excellent job explaining everything and answering all the questions that were posed (both at orientation and throughout the trip). The project staff did a fantastic job organizing the daily schedule and they were highly attentive to the group’s needs. The volunteer house hosts was similarly excellent and also very attentive to the group’s needs around the house. The Spanish classes were excellent and the best time on the trip was our time spent at the project. We helped 2 families clean their houses after the floods in Villa Allende in the month of March, and when the week was over it was clear that they very much appreciated the help. It was just really great to help them out in a difficult moment. Thanks IVHQ, everything was excellent. Stuart Cassel,Member of the Mission Possible Group (Argentina - March 2015)

Thank you so much for all your help through the preparations for our trip! We really appreciate all the help and support! The trip was a blast! Megan Chiu, Raising Awareness of International Medicine, Purdue University, USA (Guatemala, March 2015)

As a group it was very easy to navigate IVHQ’s information to find the best fit for us. When we arrived in Guatemala, the on-site staff provided a unique volunteer experience for our group by setting up medical campaigns in different communities. Because of this, we were able to assist several community efforts while gaining multiple perspectives on Guatemalan healthcare system, which was one of the major goals of our trip as an engineering healthcare student organization. The local team made sure we visited places that needed vitamins and anti-parasitic medicine as well as general healthcare examinations (provided by the doctor we travelled with). While volunteering, I reaffirmed my passion for working with communities on improving healthcare; it was really inspiring to see the work the in-country team was doing. Throughout the duration of our trip I was in contact with the IVHQ Groups Manager to plan a group service trip, and they went above and beyond in every way possible. Extremely helpful and on top of things - I would definitely volunteer again with IVHQ based on the service provided. Erik Thomas, Leader of the University of Michigan - HEAL (Health Engineered for All Lives) Group (Guatemala - March 2015)

IVHQ - M-HEAL Group - Volunteer abroad as a group

Our Group traveled to the IVHQ program in Zambia. We went to a location that needed our help and we were able to give it our all. We learned a lot and our efforts were appreciated by everyone. We went to the community that needed us the most and that is what made it worthwhile. I have become more confident in myself and my abilities, and more sensitive and respectful for other cultures. I have also improved my communication skills as a whole. My favorite moments were being able to do construction work, and being able to interact with a wide range of people from students, to organizers, to construction workers. I highly recommend this program. Basmah Azmi, Member of the Northwestern University in Qatar Group (Zambia - February 2015)

The pre-departure information was very helpful on the culture and what to expect when traveling to a new country, and the local team were very helpful and informative as well. They gave us a tour of the local community on the first day and pointed out the hot spots as well as the do not go spots, and gave us a better feel for the programs that we were enrolled in. Overall, it was very enjoyable going out to the project site was almost like a personalized tour of downtown and the neighboring city, while the actual work itself was very hands on and physical which I enjoyed very much. We worked on a local day care, building a shed-type area for the kids to play in during the hot summer days or during rainy storms. The community really appreciated the help we were giving them which made the whole experience even better. I felt our time was really appreciated as the look on the children’s faces when we told them what we were doing was truly shocking; the happiness and true excitement was unreal. My favorite moment was when we were building up the daycare. A child who lived across the street would come out and thank us every day for helping the church build the day care he would soon attend. That, alongside the moment when the students received their own notebook, at that moment I knew why I was there, not for the enjoyment of vacation but to help out the community and see the happy faces on every child. Suraj Patel, Member of UF HEAL Group (Costa Rica - March 2015)

We are all back in Doha now, sharing our stories of Morocco with other students and colleagues here in Qatar. We greatly appreciate IVHQ’s hard work in organizing our group trip around Morocco and with the volunteer sites. We had a lovely time volunteering, meeting local women and university students, learning about Moroccan history and culture. We enjoyed being able to tailor our trip to our needs. Our students loved learning more about differences in women’s rights and access to education. Thanks again to the dedicated and amazing team! Dalia Rehal, Group Leader for Women of Change - CMUQ Group (Morocco, January 2015)

Thank you so much from the Missouri State University Group! We can’t wait to start planning our next trip (and I might have to plan one on my own in the near future!). Our week in Costa Rica was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone! It was so beautiful being out in the mountain and and helping the families on the coffee farm. I loved working with IVHQ, I would love to work for a company that is as organized as you all were. Thank you for being patient and always answering our questions. IVHQ was always there to answer our questions, even if they were silly or something we missed from the booklet. We had a great time! Thanks IVHQ! Amanda Gabbard, Group leader for Missouri State University Group (Costa Rica, January 2015)

I am proud of myself and my team, we had once in a life time experience, the children were amazing and I wish I had longer time with them. In the near future I will volunteer again for longer time. Our group taught hand hygiene, oral care, we gave them toothpaste and toothbrushes. We also taught healthy eating nutrition and the last day we had healthy fruits and a party…amazingly fun!! I and my team gained great knowledge and this experience has left us with foot print in our hearts, I will continue to go with your organization on my next voluntary experience. I thank you and the local team for the amazing work you all do and doing. I will never forget, Bali Ubud, forever in my heart._ Deka Ismail, a member of the PHP (People Helping People) Nursing Colleagues’ Group from Saudi Arabia (Bali, October 2014)

I stumbled across IVHQ online when conducting a preliminary search for volunteer opportunities abroad. The website contained much of the information needed. For any additional information that was not included in the website the IVHQ staff, were very helpful and forthcoming. I was able to get a complete picture over the course of the several months that preceded the group trip. Every question asked was answered to completion and promptly. Once we got in-country, the local team was wonderful. The work they do is inspiring. They were very welcoming and forthcoming to the AUC group. We couldn’t have found a better organization to complete our volunteer work. They exceeded all expectations, as they were organized, prompt, and open to ideas and suggestions. We had a great time working with them. The project was a perfect integration of basic sciences and clinical medicine, and it also allowed for the group to see preventative and diagnostic medicine. It was exactly what we were looking for as 1st/2nd year medical students. The fact that we got to see a rural village as well as the schools was a great asset to this trip. It really allowed the group to contrast what undeserved areas are really like when outside of the U.S. The hands on experiences that we were able to participate in are priceless and will be held dear to everyone on the trip. No one wanted to leave at the end of our stay. I would love to help others make the same great choice we did by choosing IVHQ. Thank you again for all your help. I hope that future AUC students will go through IVHQ. Madison Bangert, Group leader for American University of the Caribbean, School of Medicine: Latino Medical Student Association (Guatemala, August 2014)

Over the past 3 years, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar has worked with IVHQ to arrange group programs for our students each year. Our students find their own preferred overseas locations and propose these to us for review and advise; so far our annual student groups have volunteered in South Africa, Morocco and Thailand with IVHQ. I have found IVHQ’s service to be superb. We typically have a few unique situations that aren’t necessarily covered on their website. However, in having a dedicated Groups Manager, any additional information we require is provided in a timely manner. I really enjoy working with IVHQ and appreciate IVHQ’s willingness to work with us. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (South Africa, May 2012, Morocco, May 2013 & Thailand, May 2014)

IVHQ was great to work with, they she always got back to me quickly and were incredibly helpful. During orientation we also got told a lot of things that would come in handy while we were there. The food was excellent and our hosts were very nice to us. It was cool to live with people in Guatemala, rather than just staying in a hotel. My friends and I bonded with the nurses that we were shadowing, and one day they invited us to have lunch with them. We laughed a lot and had a great time! Meggie Manzo, a member of Clarkson University 3 Group (Guatemala, April 2014)

This was my first volunteering experience, and I absolutely loved it! This experience has thought me so much about life and showed me that there is so much more out there. It made me grow as a person and it made me think about my future a lot. In these kind of experiences, you get to really know yourself. I recommend IVHQ to anyone who wish to volunteer abroad; they are helpful and you can trust them 100%; They are there for a good cause. If you are not sure to do it or not to do it; my answer would be: DO IT! It will be the BEST experience of your life! Giving always feel good.__ Stacy Mercier, a member of the Université de Moncton, Canada, returning Mondial Solidarite Group (Guatemala)

IVHQ went above and beyond when answering all of my questions. My group had many questions and IVHQ was always very prompt, thorough, and extremely helpful, the local team also did a phenomenal job and my group was very pleased! Volunteering at the orphanage was more than we could have asked for, we loved it. The living standards and meals were much higher than we expected. We fell in love with the kids in such a short amount of time and loved getting to know them. Thank you for everything, this was an experience of a lifetime and each member of my group loved it! University of Arizona - Family Studies and Human Development (Guatemala)

This past summer, I organized a group of 16 volunteers to serve with me in Ghana. We cared for about 40 children and lived with the family who founded the orphanage. Throughout our four weeks working with the children, we got to observe them open up and grow in so many ways. Upon leaving everyone on the trip was sad to go and realized they were all changed in unique ways for good. We had become a team and a part of the orphanage family. The experience is so valuable, because in traveling the world to give to others, we are given so much in return. The IVHQ staff was so helpful throughout the entire process and provided us with great care and support in and out of the country. Anything we needed or problems needing solved were taken care of quickly and successfully by the IVHQ Ghana staff, as they checked up on our program often. They did a great job at handling such a large group of volunteers staying at one placement, and I would take another group through them any day! Ohio State University Group (Ghana)

The days spent at Kimuka certainly rank among the best experiences we’ve ever had. We’ve picked up personal skills and education from this experience that we’ve never come across through our years of schooling. Kenya’s culture and people are, to say the least, vastly different from that in our country. Interacting with the Kenyans and soaking in the Massai culture gave us new outlooks on life (not that our school teachers are too happy with the “hakuna matata - no worries” bit). The visits to orphanages and slums exposed us first hand to the problems faced by those in less privileged lands, enabling us to understand their plight rather than merely know of it. I started on this journey to give, but at the end of it I definitely feel I’ve gained much more than I’ve given. This wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work put in by you and your organization and I wish to thank you guys for the help. I deeply admire the work of International Volunteer HQ in providing quality, affordable volunteer opportunities that benefits both the local community and the volunteers. Singapore University Group (Kenya Maasai)

Our group of 27 students all absolutely loved volunteering in Ecuador through IVHQ and we would strongly recommend that other colleges and university groups volunteer with IVHQ! In fact, we were so pleased with our experience that we are planning to make our volunteer trip to Ecuador through IVHQ an annual experience! Planning our volunteer experience with IVHQ was exceptionally easy and before we knew it, we were all arriving on site in Quito, Ecuador! With IVHQ, we never had anything to worry about! Volunteering in Ecuador through IVHQ was a highly meaningful and even life changing experience for each of our 27 volunteers. Our students were able to actually make an impact in another part of the world, and our volunteers were so moved by the experience that many are planning on returning to Ecuador through IVHQ once again! Our group really enjoyed volunteering, but also loved exploring Quito, Ecuador. We made great friends with our host families and other Ecuadorians, and many of us still even keep in touch with our host families and others from Ecuador! We could not have asked for a better experience! Albany University SUNY (Ecuador)

From start to finish, we were provided with wonderful support in planning our trip. All questions were answered in a professional and timely manner, leaving no doubt in my mind that we were going to have a successful trip. The trip served as a wonderful experience, and I would surely recommend this organization. It is certainly one of the more affordable ones, but IVHQ assures a higher level of comfort with their support. I am personally looking forward to future trips in their other locations such as Costa Rica or Guatemala. Wonderful experience! University of Connecticut Doctors Without Borders (Peru)

Everything was terrific. Triple AAA. The school health campaign in Costa Rica was great for the size of our group of 23 people. The local team and our local host family were excellent! Living accommodations for such a large group were great - a very large host family home. The highlights of our trip were the host home, the health campaign in the school, and the talk at the local hospital about health care. We were also given time to travel and shop. The local team was quite accommodating with the schedule. Thanks for all your organisation of our trip. Mt Carmel Nurses Group (Costa Rica)

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