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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Being neither an English-native speaker nor a teacher, I was pretty curious on the
introduction day of my four weeks teaching assignment in Luang Prabang, Laos.
How would a Swiss teach English to a Lao buddhist novice monk? After one of the
first few exercises, it became pretty obvious that this would not be that difficult.
Laura, one of the International GVI staff at Luang Prabang, actually managed to
teach us a few Thai sentences without using any English word at all. This was not
going to be the only eye opener in Laos. Although the resources are pretty basic, I
was amazed by the creativity of the local staff as well as my fellow volunteers in
preparing valuable teaching material.
While the teaching experience at a local college was a good experience, the evening
class with “my” Buddhist novices turned out to become the real highlight of the day.
Not only are they so eager and motivated to learn, they are also remarkably strong
personalities considering their young age. While the main purpose of the
assignment was to share with them my knowledge, I actually felt that instead of
only giving, I received a lot of inspiration and motivation from these boys.
Luang Prabang is such a beautiful place and the Lao people are so friendly. Once I
had settled down from a more hectic Western lifestyle after a few days, I truly
started to appreciate this wonderful and calm, yet very vivid place. Back home in
Switzerland I once in a while day-dream and recall the great Lao food and the
always friendly smiling local people.

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Location:
Posted: December 19, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
44

I had a fantastic time on the program. I have gotten to know some really great people.
I was living in a floating house on a river in the Mamirauá reserve in the Amazon forest with 2-5 other people.
Every morning at 7.30 we took the boat out on the main river to observe pink river dolphins. The sometimes got really close to the boat, jumping and carrying objects in their mouths.
When living on such a small and constricted area (10x15 m), you get really close to people. After a week it's like you've known eachother for years. And since we didn't have neighter TV, radio, nor internet, we spent a lot of time talking.
People in the Amazon are warm and friendly. They are always there to help you. They invite you in to their house for lunch or dinner, even if you've just met. Most of the locals speak little or no English, but it doesn't matter, you can communicate anyway.
I loved it there and I recommend everyone to go on this program!

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Posted: December 13, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
10
By: ugglana
Age:
19

I decided to go on the marine conservation expedition to the Seychelles to gain field experience, as I had just completed my honours thesis in marine biology - but spent all my time in the lab! I thought this was a perfect way to gain valuable skills whilst contributing to marine conservation - and there was no better place than the Seychelles! Initially I was quite nervous, not knowing what to expect and whether I would be able to manage the 2 months. I was originally signed up for the 1 month expedition, however the phone call from the GVI office informed me that the 1 month program involved mainly lectures and learning how to correctly identify and survey the marine species of interest - not the actual field surveys which I was wanting to do. So I decided to join the 2 month expedition and was very glad I did - however it still did not feel long enough once I got there! The other volunteers were all like minded and everyone got along really well. It didn't take long to become friends with everyone because of the close living quarters. The weather was hot and humid and it took a couple of weeks to settle in and get used to drinking so much water to stay hydrated! The first month consisted of lectures and exams to be able to accurately identify the groups of fish or corals we were delegated and other lectures on turtle biology, mega fauna and survey methods and DVD sessions with appropriate documentaries such as the BBC Coral Reefs. We had dives every day to spot fish (or corals if that was the group you were assigned prior to departure) and accurately name them and get signed off by the staff. We also completed out Emergency First Response training, and some volunteers did their Advanced Open Water diving Certification. It was not until the second month of the expedition we got the conduct the in water surveys with our dive buddy, and the first month of training really made sure we were up to scratch on our skills! In second month of the expedition we had a lot more spare time than we all expected, so we watch a lot of movies, read, husked coconuts and did our daily duties throughout the days. We had 2 days off a week, and usually went to Victoria (the capital of Seychelles on Mahe Island) to use the internet. It was a 40 minute walk from base to the bus stop and another hour on the bus into town - and sometimes the internet wasn't even working! I definitely think this expedition was worthwhile, and it is something everyone should consider - for a short or longer period! I learnt a huge amount of information about the marine environment, in particular the fish which was a nice change from studying corals at home. I also learnt a lot about myself, and found this to be a very special and memorable trip. I can't wait until my next one!

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Posted: December 11, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
24

I had the most awesome time in Luang Prabang. I was a teacher there for 2 moth for normal students and novice monks. When I first came here I actually had no idea what to expect. I just knew I would teach English. In the first 2-3 days the staff members explained everything to us. To be honest, before I thought the first time I was scared. Not that I’m afraid to talk in front of groups or anything, but teaching…. And that as a not native speaker…. Even because I just knew school in Germany… But then I had my first lesson, in a temple called Wat Naxang. I thought with a volunteer that had been there for two weeks already, so he knew what to do. It was awesome! 20 little kids. 7-12 years old sat there, repeating every word we thought them, almost screaming. When we played games with them they cried with laughter and at the end of my first lesson they gave us little flowers they found. My fear was gone. I knew the two months would be so wonderful.
And they were. Every morning all the volunteers met in the so called Ressource-room, where everybody planed their lesson. I loved it. We were like a little family, everybody helping each other. Especially because we lived all together in one guesthouse so you had just to knock on the next door to find somebody who would hang out with you. The staff members also helped us a lot when we had problems while lesson-planning or any other problems.

I had to teach just in the evening in a College and in a temple so that gave me the rest of the day to explore Luang Prabang. A beautiful city. Small, but many people speak English (at least a bit) so it didn’t take long till I found my first lao friends. After two month I knew the tuktuk-drivers by name and the waiters in the restaurant wouldn’t bring me the menu because they knew me and mostly knew what I would take.
Teaching itself got really easy after one week. Lesson-planning got easier and as we got to know the students it was fun to prepare the lesson and teach them. I enjoyed especially teaching novice-monks in the temple a lot, because I learned so much about Buddhism there.
So after 2 month I can say: It was the most perfect time of my life and I will definitely go back there!

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Location:
Posted: December 10, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

Last summer I had the unique opportunity to spend 6 weeks volunteering with GVI (Global Vision International) in Kenya. GVI runs two schools in Bombolulu, which is the biggest slum in Mombasa. Although Mombasa is a nice coastal city with direct beach access, people in the slum village live in the most basic conditions. Children often have to work during the day to help sustain their families and therefore do not have the opportunity to visit classes on a regular basis. The schools run by GVI offer children in the village the possibility to fulfil their primary education by only paying a low amount of school fees.

During my time in Mombasa I taught a standard 6 class (average 12-13 years old) at Precious Vision Care Centre. The institution is run based on Christian values. This is why every morning the kids sing and pray for an hour before going into class. The school also serves three basic meals a day for the children, often the only food they get. From the first moment I was overwhelmed by the love and joy the kids share, despite the poor circumstances they live in. They were grateful for every new thing they learned and showed a great amount of motivation when it came to work in class. However they also enjoyed playing games (usually football and rope jumping for the girls) during break time on the playground.

In addition to teaching English at Precious Vision I also taught Computer lessons twice a week in the community church of the village. Adults also have the possibility to participate and benefit from lessons in English, Swahili (their native language) and Maths. Although working with adults was not comparable to the time with the kids, it was all such an enriching experience and the students showed a great level of motivation and dedication.

Being part of this project has been the most humbling experience of my life. All the impressions and experiences I have made will be invaluable to me in many aspects of life. If you have the opportunity I would definitively encourage everyone to spend some time volunteering in a third world country. It changes the way you look at the world.

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Posted: December 6, 2012
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
10
By: rdecaro88
Age:

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