Global Vision International (GVI)

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9 / 10 after 209 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.gviusa.com/

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After being forced to take a gap year not getting the grades I needed to go to university, I was left with the perfect opportunity to do something worthwhile with my time in between retaking exams. Going to Thailand on my own has taught me so much despite the fact I was only able to do a 2 week programme. It was a great way to gain independence, but more importantly has taught me the importance of volunteering. Through teaching in schools and working within the community in Baan Nam Khem it has really broadened my mind, meeting a wide range of interesting people, both adults and children, and by the end of your time spent there you don’t feel like a tourist but more like one of the locals. The GVI team based in Baan Nam Khem were incredibly supportive and enthusiastic in their work, which quickly rubs off on you, so that you can really enjoy your project whilst also feeling a real sense of achievement at the end of each day. Being able to fully submerge myself into the Thai culture really adds to the experience, making a nice change from everyday life back at home, getting you out of routine. As I only got to spend a short time in Thailand, it has left me wanting more from volunteering, to which I am looking into doing another project in the very near future! I would highly recommend GVI to anyone, not just in Thailand, but to any of the exciting destinations they have to offer, without a doubt it is one of the best experiences I have done.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 4, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8
Age:
18

My husband and I had amazing memorable time volunteering in Nepal for one month, with weekends off to explore the breathtaking surrounding Annapurna South area.

We worked across four projects: child care centre, street kids rehabilitation centre and conversation club and also, a school in a nearby village. We were scheduled for two of these programs each day. We had lots of variety across these projects and met daily throughout the week with GVI staff for updates and opportunity to share concerns etc..

Key to working in these communities is expect the unexpected and be flexible. We didn’t expect to work in the school as we were under childcare but due to Dasai schools and childcare centre was closed so we assisted with scrubbing walls in preparation for painting. We valued the opportunity to see another part of the working community and meet an amazing principal who built the school from conception. Likewise, GVI staff were flexible too, one day I felt quite tired and exhausted recovering from a sore throat and irritating cough and took a morning off. Also, we wanted to do a trek for longer than a weekend so took a day off either side of the weekend (this was during Dasai and regular volunteer programs were disrupted) and staff happily supported us to do this.

Our 'home stay' was great , it was really more of a guest house as the entire second floor was four bedrooms rooms with individual ensuites and access without going through the main house. This wasn’t really what we expected for a home stay but it was very much appreciated to have our space and privacy after our days adventures! The food ranged between good and excellent. But we were happy, a hot meal at the end of the day that we didn’t have to prepare and we had no tummy bugs the whole time we were there!

We have an aspiration in many years to come when we are retired from paid work to work 3 months of the year overseas in communities. We want to trial different organisations to identify an organisation that aligns with our values and provides support and training on the ground so that we can have both positive impact and enjoyable rewarding experience. Orientation was comprehensive, loved our language classes to help get us started and training for our roles was well supported. Nothing was too much trouble for our on the ground GVI staff.

These children are forever imprinted in our hearts and minds. At Malee Patan child care centre: Sabitri for her resilience and strong spirit, Blipblob for his warmth of nature and amazing soccer kick for such a lithe body; Kripa and Isha, who always sought each other out then huddled and chattered with enthusiasm; Samir just wanting to be noticed and learning from us hitting is not the way to do it!; Ayusha, fine features and with his quiet ways who was always hanging onto my husband’s leg; At conversation club the two pairs of sister we spent many hours chatting and laughing: Srijana for her high aspirations and maturity taught us origami; younger sister Safel who wants to be an architectural engineer; Sarchita only a little older than sister Rojish very capable but lacking a little in confidence. Their warmth and friendship will always be with us. And we are grateful for what they have taught us.

GVI has set the bar high for us in considering other volunteer organisations to explore!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 25, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8
Age:
51

I volunteered for a month in the Seychelles after browsing the internet endlessly trying to find the best place and program to go on. Stepping off the aeroplane into the humid environment was a shock at first, you could feel the sweat drip down your face. My first thought was it was going to be a hot, sticky, smelly month of volunteering and working outdoors all day - it was. Yet I had enrolled in the terrestrial expedition so was based on Curieuse Island, which to my relief was not quite so hot. The staff were all extremely friendly and the facilities were pretty good, a lot better than I had expected at any rate. The first week was mainly dedicated to learning about the different activities we would participate in, the scientific procedures that went with them and undertaking a first aid course.
We went on many long and short 'wurtles' (turtle walks) to the other side of the island where we generally saw a turtle nesting or a hatchling each time we went. The turtle beaches are not accessible to the public, so it was great being able to go to them by being apart of GVI. We also started bird surveys - we were the first group to begin recording the different species found on the island which was a fun but sometimes challenging task. When the ground was dry we were able to go 'Coco de Mering', braving through dense scrub to find the trees and record their locations. It was a lot of fun, but you got very dirty and covered in red paint! We went snorkelling as much as possible, seeing many reef fish, rays, the odd shark and looking out for turtles to record. It was great to come back to base after a hot days work to dive into the nice warm ocean and then lay on the hammocks and read before dinner. The week ended with a Friday Night BBQ, generally themed and was a great time to relax and have fun.
On the weekends you had free time so were able to do whatever you wanted. Being associated with GVI also gave us many local discounts, so travelling was quite affordable. We went to a couple of different islands, my favourite being La Digue where we hired bikes and relaxed on the beach.
The experience was quite unreal, if I had the opportunity again I would definitely go back!

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 25, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
19

The decision to participate in GVI Laos’ teaching program was simply one of the best things I have ever done. The GVI staff I worked with were incredibly dedicated, professional and friendly. I was wonderfully surprised with the level of organisation and support offered by the staff who I felt did their upmost to ensure that we were able to contribute and participate as fully as possible; giving us the support needed to build confidence and skills while allowing us to develop a level of independence that left me confident to teach a class unassisted by the end of the second week.
The two classes I was involved with gave me the opportunity to interact with Lao locals from a range of backgrounds, skill levels and settings. I was lucky enough to teach in a picturesque monastery school situated a little way out of town a surrounded by forest where I taught introductory classes to Novice monks aged from around 6-15.
The entire experience was amazingly rewarding. All the students I had the pleasure of interacting with were hardworking, dedicated and so appreciative of the work we were doing. Although I was only on the program for a month and had no previous teaching experience, I felt that I was able to play a real part in improving the life opportunities of the students I worked with.
I would encourage anyone wanting to make a positive impact while travelling or wanting to experience a culture beyond the tourist experience to seriously consider undertaking the GVI Laos teaching program. My only regret is that I did not stay longer.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 21, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8
By: pjrose
Age:
21

I spent four weeks on GVI's Teaching English to Buddhist Novices program in Luang Prabang, Laos. I thought the program was good value for money considering the cost covers accommodation, food allowance and training. Really though, the experience I gained on the program was priceless. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to volunteer as a teacher or just travel with a greater depth of cultural understanding and community involvement. The staff were great and the training we received before and during teaching was really thorough. The students are wonderful and conscientious. Not all of the classes are novice monks, some teaching is at the local college and this is great to show the different class environments and types of students to be found in Laos. There was plenty of time for sight seeing as well with most tourist check list items within an hour or so of town.
The city is magical, the students are beautiful people and the program allows volunteers to really connect with the community. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 24, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: aemmerto
Age:
21

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