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Volunteer Abroad Reviews

Siddharth Swaminathan
Nationality: Indian
Age: 19
Program: Brazil
Project: Community Development
Date: June 2015 - 4 weeks

Without the slightest hesitation I would do it all over again if I could spare some time in the future. I had the most amazing time, along with fellow volunteers, teaching kids with ages ranging from 5-15, painting, construction and playing with small children. My project was Community Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was life changing experience right from bonding with strangers and impacting these kids life even though it lasted for a meagre 4 weeks. It was completely a different experience as we had set up a working, functioning care home with proper teaching facilities within the given duration in order to be certified by the local government and as a result, I learnt to engage more in team-work, have become more independent as a person, and better matured.

Marissa Mason
Nationality: American
Age: 21
Program: Ecuador
Project: Teaching English
Date: June 2015 - 4 weeks

I feel I became the best version of myself when I was in Ecuador. Being a volunteer through IVHQ requires you to be flexible, independent, and unassuming. One must simply go with the flow without any expectations and take on whatever comes your way. I have volunteered with IVHQ before and the way I felt after both trips solidified the fact that volunteering is something I will continue to do for the rest of my life. I enjoyed the food and was accommodated as a vegetarian (bread, jam, fruit, and coffee/tea for breakfast and a meat, rice, and veggies for dinner). My host family was absolutely wonderful. Perhaps one of the most fantastic things about my trips was the people I lived with. I was lucky enough to be in a house with 6 other volunteers. We got along so well and I have no doubt we will be friends for life.

On my very last day (after 4 weeks), I came to school as usual and was hanging out with the kids in the school yard. I was about to head into the classroom when they convinced me to "play a game" in which I had to wear a blindfold. Going along with it, I let them take me. They ended up bringing me and the other volunteers to the classroom where the students themselves, from this seventh grade class, had organized a surprise goodbye party. I was so shocked I cried. They had gotten some small snacks, a couple balloons, and made a poster. It was so sweet and so sad to be leaving such a wonderful group.

Michelle Fagela
Nationality: Filipino
Age: 21
Program: Romania
Project: Childcare
Date: July 2015 - 2 weeks

My experience in Romania for childcare was great! I believe two weeks is a good amount of time to spend there, but not enough time to personally meet everyone who comes in. The first week I spent my time with 4 international volunteers and a few locals. The kids were around 6 to 12 years old and we stayed at the community center from 8 - 5. Time flies by so fast when you play games with the kids, help them on their worksheets and you bond with them so much. The second week I was with two locals and an international volunteer. We stayed at Gyergyo, Harghita at a summer camp called "Winnie the Pooh's Camp." You spend 24 hours with the kids there in little camps which I find adorable. The language barrier from yourself to them is hard, but later on they start getting it and I got to learn a little bit of Hungarian there as well. This whole trip has been amazing even when you're done for the day, you can go out and explore the city or spend time to do activities with other volunteers as well. Also you can go out and party with everyone. Overall, I highly recommend it and Jackie and Peter are awesome advisers to go too and I thank them for the time there. Cheers, Michelle Fagela Vancouver, British Columbia


Mahadia Iman Semboja
Nationality: Norwegian
Age: 19
Program: Brazil
Project: Childcare
Date: June 2015 - 5 weeks

I got placed at the most perfect placement and I couldn't be happier. I felt the teachers were really happy to see me, which made my day even better because I knew my presence was appreciated. The best part was when the kids came running to us in the morning. It was my first time travelling alone to a foreign country (Brazil) and also the first time I had to organize my day and such. Which was really necessary for me to learn due to the fact that I'm heading to uni in 3 weeks. This trip helped me to grow and learn so that I can be on my own and not depend too much on my parents. This whole journey also made me appreciate my life more because the kids we worked with in Rio didn't have much but they still had smile on their face and that made me realize that I should be thankful for being born and raised in Norway where I don't have to worry about much. The other great thing was that I met the greatest people and I know for the fact, I made friends for life during my stay in Brazil. I just want to say thank you IVHQ for this experience. I will come back trust me and I cannot wait. I couldn't be happier that I chose IVHQ, I really saved my money. Such a great organization and I will recommend you guys to my friends and family.

Katie Dawson
Nationality: British
Age: 19
Program: Tanzania
Project: Childcare
Date: February 2015 - 10 weeks

I'm a 19 year old female and I went to Tanzania for 3 months, originally I was worried about doing this. However, I cannot recommend IVHQ more. All of the information and help you get before leaving is very thorough, and if you have more questions for them they are very quick and happy in their response. When in-country you are then working with a local organization, who have a working relationship with IVHQ and they are excellent. I'm so happy with the process of each organisations. Originally I was worried that because IVHQ wasn't an organisation run in my own country it may not be best for me. I could not have been more wrong, I would definitely use IVHQ again.

Manjit Bhandal
Nationality: East Indian
Age: 24
Program: Peru - Cusco
Project: Medical
Date: July 2015 - 1 week

My project was hands on medical experience and it was the most I've ever been able to do with a patient and I'm a first year med student! I loved it. The project was definitely worthwhile to the community and I believe I helped in triage and emergency when the clinic was too busy. I know that I have grown as a person, medical student, and future physician as a result of this experience. The people I met, the reality of life I have seen, has been incredibly humbling and life changing. I'll never ever forget this trip or the people I met. I love Cusco and my Arcopata family SO much! One of my favorite moments was hiking and exploring caves in Cusco with my ENTIRE home-stay family. We had such a great time with beautiful views and just an amazing bonding experience. I miss them so much!

Dumytru Horda
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Program: Argentina
Project: Teaching/Education
Date: 15th June 2015

I think if I would have stayed longer, I would have been able to make more of an impact. But it was very rewarding to see the kids learn and grow in such a short period of time. Even though I am going into a different profession, I've learned so many transferable skills because of this experience. Also, I've been able to meet absolutely wonderful people that have taught me so much. I liked the fact that the house was outside the city center. The surrounding area was very peaceful and safe. Jose and Ariel did a great job in keeping everything clean and making sure the volunteers felt comfortable.

Fernanda Arcos
Nationality: Mexican
Age: 18
Program: Mexico
Project: Environmental Research
Date: July 2015 - 2 weeks

It was the most amazing trip I ever had. I met incredible people and make such a good friends. This program has also helped me with my career and I'm very happy.

Keilly Pulgar
Nationality: Venezuelan
Age: 18
Program: Argentina
Project: Healthcare
Date: June 2015 - 4 weeks

The staff were amazing and made my entire experience very comforting and enjoyable. As an aspiring doctor, it was a great experience being able to compare the healthcare system with that of the U.S. The doctors and nurses were also very helpful and tried to include me in everything that they were doing. This being my first time volunteering abroad, I believe I came back a more open-minded, independent, and appreciative person than I was a month ago. Some people didn't seem to like the amount of people staying at the house or the food but I enjoyed my time more when the house was full of people. There was more to do and more chit chat going on. The food was amazing and I appreciated the effort the cooks and house staff put into making us happy with the meals and switching it up every night. I absolutely loved my experience with IVHQ and look forward to volunteering with them again in another country.


Allison Weingarden
Nationality: American
Age: 23
Program: Guatemala
Project: Teaching English
Date: July 2015 - 2 weeks

My time teaching in Guatemala was wonderful. I learned a lot from the experience about myself both as a teacher and a person, and the kids learned a lot of English!

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