International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

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9.3 / 10 after 295 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the trusted volunteer organization, providing safe, quality and extremely affordable volunteering placements in countries all over the world. Each year they place over 5000 volunteers abroad and have a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Argentina, Bali, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia - Bogota and Cartagena, Costa Rica, Ecuador, FijiGhana, Guatemala, India - Delhi & DharamsalaItalyPortugal, Spain, New ZealandKenya , Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru - Cusco & Lima, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, ThailandRomaniaUganda, Victoria Falls, Vietnam - Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City and Zambia.

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I volunteered outside of New Delhi, India, and though I loved my time there I felt that there were some problems with the program. The description of what I signed up to do was completely different than my actual experience because no one from either IVHQ or the organization in India that placed volunteers had ever visited the project site. Additionally, IVHQ failed to inform me, or any of the other volunteers that we would have significantly less work than we had anticipated (for most of my time only 2 or 3 hours a day) due to the summer heat. Additionally, the organization in India that placed the volunteers very often got commission on the taxi and rickshaw rides that we took, overcharging us so much that we had to organize our own. Ultimately, I felt that the problems I and other volunteers had we more the result of the organization in India, but I felt that IVHQ ought to have monitored that situation much better.

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Location:
Posted: July 30, 2010
Overall:
6
Support:
5
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Just arrived back and had a great time. No problems while I was there. Enjoy it! Simon Frost - NY.
I am interested in the Delhi program too. Hopefully the issues have been resolved, because now I am having second thoughts!
Most of the host families, with whom volunteers are placed, run their own projects for the community, so the volunteers are taken to the projects with the host family as they travel together each day. Apart from this, if volunteers are interested in making separate trips, such as to malls or markets, the volunteers are welcome to make their own arrangements or ask for help. There are plenty of fixed-price taxi services which are available to anyone in Delhi, if volunteers feel that they are being overcharged by the organizations. Other than the complaints regarding transportation fees, the volunteers can find many ways to help at each individual project. Though the summer heat will restrict the length of time for which the volunteer projects will run, there are plenty of activities in which the volunteers can participate to smooth the functioning of the projects, such as helping the orphanages with cooking or cleaning, or spending extra hours with the children at school after classes end. Volunteers are always advised to make any of their complaints known to the program coordinators, rather than not finding a solution to their dilemmas and being upset with their volunteering program. Whenever volunteers do speak to the coordinators about an issue, the coordinators are always happy to give several solutions to help the volunteers work more productively. We are sorry that this particular volunteer had such an impression of the organization; however, we hope that many can learn from the volunteer's advice as well as ours.

Great amazing experience and the team at IVHQ was excellent. For anyone wanting to experience this type of adventure I recommend this company. My trip to Ghana was a new experience for me and I was traveling as a solo traveler. But with the support of Jamie Lee and Eddie my trip was wonderful. I met a lot of other volunteers along my way and now feel part of special family that only other volunteers can understand. Do your research of other companies but if you are looking for great customer service and peace of mind I recommend IVHQ

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Location:
Posted: July 14, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Hello Michael, I am going to Ghana on an IVHQ placement next week, also to Dodowa. Is there any specific advice you can offer me ? Appropriate clothes, what the children need, whether you taught at the orphanage or the school? This is my first trip with IVHQ, and so far they have been great.

Loved every moment. The children are the most wonderful and amazing kids I have ever met. They have nothing in life and yet seem to be so happy and contempt with everything they do. They have no fear and make the most out of everything in life. The locals were amazing too, they can never seem to do enough for you, always asking how you are and interested in your days events. Amazing. I worked on the Brown Programme in God's Eye Orphanage, with IVHQ (NZ) and it was the most awesome month of my life.
Recommend it to anyone. You have to experience it to understand how amazing Ghana is and the people that live there. A fantastic experience, never forgotten!

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Location:
Posted: July 13, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

I recently returned from Ghana (June 2010), where I traveled with IVHQ. This website was helpful as I was choosing an organization to go with, so I wanted to add my feedback for those who will follow.
I chose IVHQ after doing exhaustive Internet research as I needed to feel very assured that I was using a reputable company that would deliver what it promised and keep me safe. IVHQ did turn out to be an excellent choice. Outside of this website, I also searched the Internet with terms like "[name of organization]" and "reviews" or "complaints" or "scam" or "feedback." I would highly recommend that you also do your research before committing to any company. You'll likely find both good and bad feedback about most of them (it's worth scrutinizing whether this comes from legitimate sources or from employees of competing organizations), but I found that IVHQ got lots of good feedback and very little bad.
Also, IVHQ does have a facebook page with a huge discussion board where you can find feedback from LOTS of past volunteers. I made a very long post on the discussion board with some objective feedback, both pro and con, that may be helpful: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18532434512&ref=search#!/topic.php...
Although I feel very comfortable recommending IVHQ, it is important to understand that IVHQ, or any organization like it, can only be as good as the local organization it places you with. Ghana has been my only volunteer experience and the local organization there (Volunteer Corps Organisation-Ghana) was outstanding. I can't speak for the organizations in other countries, however. I would recommend that you research the local organization that IVHQ would/will place you with. I got my organization's information through the IVHQ information packet and also by facebooking with past volunteers. (For those of you who may be like me and not understand how these volunteer organizations work, IVHQ is an international organization based in New Zealand whose work is to place you with a local volunteer organization in your chosen country. IVHQ is your primary point of contact while you are still at home, but once you arrive in country, your primary point of contact becomes your local organization. In Ghana, the local organization's work is to place you at one of several orphanages in the country, check up on you weekly or biweekly (depending on distance), be available via phone 24/7 while in country, and take care of you whenever you stay at the central volunteer house. Your day-to-day experience, however, will be more characterized by the particulars of your immediate site, so talking with return volunteers is recommended.)
As far as IVHQ's service went before leaving and after returning, I was very satisfied. E-mails came consistently and always told me what the next step would be, so I never had to wonder if things were moving along as they should. The one time when no correspondence was needed for awhile, IVHQ told me ahead of time that I wouldn't hear from them until a particular date. Even so, when I had questions during that wait time, they were always answered within 24 hours. Information manuals were thorough and well organized.
While I was in Ghana, IVHQ e-mailed me twice with a reminder that if anything was not satisfactory, they were there to help me resolve anything that couldn't be resolved through my local organization. A third e-mail acknowledged that I was almost finished and gave me wrap-up information.
To summarize, I don't hesitate to recommend IVHQ. There was no question that the money I paid was justified for the services I received (room, board, transportation, emergency support (which I needed), food support for the orphanage where I was placed, etc.), and IVHQ's overall cost definitely beat any other prices I saw.
This is a long post, but I hope it's comprehensive and helpful. I learned that choosing an organization is just the first step in a long preparation process, so hopefully, this post will help you make a decision so you can get on with the rest. Best of luck!

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Location:
Posted: July 6, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

this review is soooo much helpful. im doing the tiring internet researching now too, and your review let me know that HQ will be a good choice. thanks!
This was so informative. Thank you for sharing your opinnion - it's stirred a lot of questions in my mind that I'll contact IVHQ about. Thanks again!

This by far one of my more memorable travel experiences and I have travelled quite a bit, but my first volunteer travel experience. From first point of contact I found IVHQ extremely helpful and prompt with their reply, this was followed through right to the end of the program (ie it didn't drop out once I had paid my program fees). IVHQ were only a phone call or email away at all times throughout the program. The organisation on the ground in Cambodia where extremely warm and welcoming, very well organised, provided an orientation day which gave us the opportunity to meet other volunteers and orient ourselves in the city, they were always available by phone for any questions or problems. I choose to stay with a host family who were an absolute delight and really contributed to my experience of the culture. The children in the orphanage were fantastic. I couldn't fault IVHQ or its partner organisation in Cambodia. People who had volunteered through other programs didn't get anything more than IVHQ volunteers. I found the price a real bonus as it allowed me to participate and to contribute financially directly to the orphanage once there - which others found hard because they had already spent so much just getting there. Thank you to all at IVHQ and Star-Kampuchea for a memorable travel experience which exceeded my expectations.

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Location:
Posted: June 27, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I'm also planning on going to Cambodia with IVHQ? Could you please elaborate a bit more on what would a typical day during your placement.
I am planning on going tot Cambodia with IVHQ, can i ask you for how long did you stay there and what kind of work did you do?

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