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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

From the start of researching a company to use to volunteer abroad to actually getting on the plane in JFK, NY I did it all in 3 weeks. And from the moment I found IVHQ I thought it was a little too good to be true. I had some concerns due to some of the negative feedbacks on other sites saying that the really highly recommended programs are fake and scams. I spoke to many alumni and realized that every program is different.

The program that IVHQ has set up in Ghana is well run from the very first impression. They make sure you have all the contact information you need before your trip and the first time you meet them at the airport that are a huge support system.

When deciding to volunteer people need to know that its not going to be a vacation. It is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and put you in a place where you with help others but at the same time it will help you grow as a person as well. There was no running water, electricity was spotty at times, and there was no AC. But bc of the lack of amenities that most of us are used to it allows you to unplug and go back to the basics.

I was placed in the Pink Program which was based in the Potter's Village in Dodowa. I was pretty surprised to find it to be an already established orphanage. By established I mean they have a home with a school with some teachers and 'mama's' that help with the children. It was an easy transition to step in to help and aid the children with their tasks.

People are always concerned about why companies insist on paying to volunteer. But when you think about it there are people behind the scene that plan for your safety and doing research to find these placements to make sure that they are true to what they are saying. There is reliability with IVHQ and that is worth the registration fee. During the orientation you even get a breakdown of where your money goes to, so they were very open about it which put my mind at ease.

The Ghana staff at IVHQ was always there for me throughout my entire stay and was always asking if there was anything that I was concerned about. I must say I will suggest this program to anyone that will listen and just tell people to go with an open mind and let yourself be in the moment and you will not only help others but you will grow so much as a person!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

To whom it may concern,

Hi, my name is Chris. If you are reading this, you are thinking about traveling to Guatemala. I wanted to write this for you, so that I might answer some of your questions.

I spent 3 months in Guatemala (3/13-5/13).

I decided to travel to Guatemala for a couple reasons.

1) Medical Experience

and

2) To learn Spanish.

I was able to successfully accomplish both of these goals. I am currently applying to medical school, and my personal statement focused on my experiences in the hospital that I was observing in.

Working in the hospital was a unique experience because I was able to get hands on experience that I could have never gotten in the states. (Scrubbed in to about 5 surgeries) During my medical school interviews, I had a lot of interesting things to talk about that made the interview better.

I tried learning Spanish through various avenues, however, the only success way for me has been total immersion. (I am a proficient Spanish speaker.)

With that being said,

I highly recommend that you travel to Guatemala through IFRE, ONLY if you are serious about having a real life experience. I wouldn't advise you to go there if you are not serious because life is hard down there. You'll be miserable if you are a turkey.

Day to day life events are what you make of it. I would suggest if you go there that you have daily schedule that is busy. (Volunteer project and Spanish lessons.)

The Contact through the program Oscar Gomez is a very nice man. He looks after the volunteers and is very reliable when it comes to issues that the volunteers need.

Please do not hesitate to contact me.

filosacp@mymail.vcu.edu

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I spent 12 weeks (originally supposed to be 10, but I extended as I was enjoying it so much,) on the Forest Conservation Project. I had an incredible time whilst here, and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody considering volunteering abroad.

Settling into camp life took a little while, although it wasn't as basic as I had expected, and the staff really helped all of us settle in as best they could, and were incredible throughout my time here.

The project consisted of walks to survey ten different sites, all a short walk from camp. Surveys are carried out on lemurs, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies. There are various resources on camp to familiarise yourself with identifying the local wildlife and the staff are fantastic at teaching you all you needed to know. The surveys are a lot of fun, and allow you to get experience in the field of carrying out scientific surveys. Great for all you budding conservationists out there!

The project has a great relationship with the local village, which definitely helps to enhance the experience. Whether it's playing football with the locals or the after party at Vola's house on a Friday night, it is great to integrate with the locals in the way that we did.

Whilst on the project there were also great chances to get off camp and do other activities. This included scuba diving at a protected marine park and quad biking around the island of Nosy Be. Again the staff are great at ensuring you have all you need whilst doing these activities.

All in all I found it to be one of the best experiences of my life and couldn't recommend it highly enough. I have made friends for life, and hopefully gained valuable knowledge and experience to hep with my future career. The only downside was that I eventually had to leave.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Frontier

I spent 12 weeks (originally supposed to be 10, but I extended as I was enjoying it so much,) on the Forest Conservation Project. I had an incredible time whilst here, and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody considering volunteering abroad.

Settling into camp life took a little while, although it wasn't as basic as I had expected, and the staff really helped all of us settle in as best they could, and were incredible throughout my time here.

The project consisted of walks to survey ten different sites, all a short walk from camp. Surveys are carried out on lemurs, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies. There are various resources on camp to familiarise yourself with identifying the local wildlife and the staff are fantastic at teaching you all you needed to know. The surveys are a lot of fun, and allow you to get experience in the field of carrying out scientific surveys. Great for all you budding conservationists out there!

The project has a great relationship with the local village, which definitely helps to enhance the experience. Whether it's playing football with the locals or the after party at Vola's house on a Friday night, it is great to integrate with the locals in the way that we did.

Whilst on the project there were also great chances to get off camp and do other activities. This included scuba diving at a protected marine park and quad biking around the island of Nosy Be. Again the staff are great at ensuring you have all you need whilst doing these activities.

All in all I found it to be one of the best experiences of my life and couldn't recommend it highly enough. I have made friends for life, and hopefully gained valuable knowledge and experience to hep with my future career. The only downside was that I eventually had to leave.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Frontier

Just coming to the end of 8 weeks on the Healthcare project, volunteering for the Fiji Cancer Society. The healthcare project hasn't been without its complications, but I have had a great time living as part of a Fijian family and have gained a lot of experience by being involved with clinics within the hospital. I would recommend Frontier and Fiji however the healthcare project needs some improvements before it is up to the same standard as the other projects that are run in Fiji by Frontier.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
9
Value:
7

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