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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This is not a research program. It is not a worthwhile experience. GVI does not put any money into the field, all of it goes to the office. The studies that you will be doing are made up to fill the day. You will not be fed well (beans and white rice EVERYDAY), you will be eaten alive by bugs, you will be hot and uncomfortable and you will not be making a difference because you aren't doing any real research or conducting legitimate studies. They do not have enough equipment, they still use film cameras, it is run by highschool graduates and not one scientist or researcher. You will not be teaching english in a community and YOU WILL NOT BE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. GVI is just stealing your money. I do not recommend it at all, don't fall into their advertising, if you want to make a difference and volunteer abroad look on ecoteer.com where you wont pay the corporation $3000 to go and do good overseas. No volunteer program should cost you more than your room and board. REMEMBER THAT!!!

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 25, 2010
Overall:
0 (worst)
Support:
0
Value:
0
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Sounds like this may be more of a personal issue rather than an accurate review of the company. First off, to complain about the heat and bugs is bordering on childish and idiotic. You went to a place that is hot and has lots of insects. What would you seriously suggest is done about that? You didn't pay to stay in the Hilton, you won't be served eggs benedict in bed with freshly squeezed orange juice, you will be fed in and affordable and sustainable way, and probably something that can easily be prepared for large numbers of people. Yes some people will make money from it, it's a business. This doesn't make them evil wrongdoers. Who cooked your bland, unimaginative rice and beans for you? Despite how much you obviously hated their culinary attempts, this person may well not be someone who volunteers to cook for fine people like yourself. They may be paid for their service, as will the guides, researchers, admin staff, HR, sales and marketing etc.. Equipment must also be paid for and maintained. They don't employ people straight out of high school either. That is a lie. I have relatively recently completed a masters degree in Ecology, having done my undergraduate degree in zoology, and I have considered GVI as a potential employer.....so I've done my research and it's true to say they don't employ people straight from high school!! To say they do no good and make no difference is ridiculous and offensive to people who did feel they made a difference on such expeditions. It's not all about money getting to other people: education, friendships, cultural exchanges, experiences - these things all make a difference too remember. Perhaps a good attitude is required though, so maybe you're right that you didn't make a difference personally. Well, all the best. And to all those considering GVI, or any other company for that matter, go for it! Or set up your own thing if that's what you fancy, can be done relatively cheaply if you're prepared to do some scouting about.
On my trip, all of the staff had a bachelors degree. Two of them had Masters and one was leaving soon to get his PHd. It was a great trip, as well.
So who were those kids I was looking after? Who were those monks I was teaching English to? Who were those researchers conducting studies in Africa? OMG! I must have gone somewhere because I have stamps in my passport but obviously I was hallucinating the entire 9 months I was away! No wait...maybe I did do all these things. Maybe I did have the most amazing and fulfilling experience of my life. Maybe I see the world for how it really is.
thanks for the heads up...was looking forward to booking a place with them in their sports program but managed to check out the sites you recommended and must say they are WAY more affordable and reasonable...thanks!!
completely agree. I had similar experiencebrowse internet you can find many affordable program like volunteerHQ, rcdpinternational.org so do not waste money
Whereas I think this review is a little harsh the point it's making is essentially true. I did the 6 month internship with GVI in Costa Rica and whereas I enjoyed my six months hugely and made some friends for life I regret having given GVI my money and if I were to volunteer again I would do my research properly and join a not-for-profit program. The base at Jalova is lots of fun but it's not volunteering. It's more of a summer camp. The survey's are not scientific and do not benefit Costa Rica or it's environment in any way. They are simply there to provide the illusion that the "volunteers" (who should really be called guests because they are paying in excess of £40 a day to be there) are doing some kind of good. The exception is the turtle survey which is important but this is not run by GVI it's run by the CCC who are a proper not for profit organization. The CCC use GVI volunteers as man-power for data colleciton. The bottom line is if you want to help turtles in Tortuguero NP volunteer with the CCC directly so you can be sure your money is not lining some fat guys pockets. If however you want to go to an eco-style holiday camp for 10 weeks then for sure sign up to GVI, I had a great laugh, but don't pretend you've been off saving the planet for 10 weeks when you get home. I think GVI are very sly and dishonest. Myself and several other volunteers were quite upset when we realised that actually there is no science going on at Jalova because that's not what we had been sold. We still had lots of fun and saw some amazing wildlife but it wasn't what we expected. They give people the impression they are helping the environment and contributing to our understanding of it but they are not really, it's just a money making scam. The only reason GVI have access to this part of the park is because they are helping the CCC. They should leave Jalova to the CCC to control so that there aren't people making money out of this beautiful and vulnerable area. You'll see loads of positive reviews because it really is an amazing experience to live in an isolated part of a national park in a little community with monkeys and jags stalking about the camp. Just don't let them sell you the whole volunteer thing and when they ask you to clean the staff toilets - refuse! Remember how much cash your handing over to these people.

When I signed up for my internship with GVI all I knew was that I wanted to make it to Africa for as long as possible. I ended up applying and accepting the South African National Parks internship position. I had no idea how this year would change the rest of my life.
Pre-departure GVI had wonderful support and now that they have an office in Boston it made things easier for me here in the United States. Visa questions, packing questions, travel questions, all sorted nicely by GVI staff on the ground. Upon arrival the two week training period was fantastic. It let our group of volunteers really bond and gave us an eye-opening experience of south africa and all the majesty it has to offer. After the two weeks we said our goodbyes and were transported to our respective parks.
As a GVI volunteer I was very well received at my park which helped very much with the nerves of working a job in a new country. During my time at the park I was able to get involved with so many things, my main job task being education of local schools and groups visiting our park. I also had the chance to work with the local communities on projects, work with the game rangers, and work with fellow students from SA who were getting there nature diplomas. The friendships formed are some of the strongest I have and I still keep in touch with everyone from SA. The country and program left such a wonderful mark on me that I am planning on attending the field guiding course and hopefully making a career in south africa in the guiding business.
The cost is hefty, that was my one reservation about the cost but once you are there you realize where the money is going and all of the support and training and logistics GVI takes care of when you arrive is very nice. Overall, I would recommend GVI programs to anyone who is looking to do something not only exciting and adventurous but something that truly makes a difference in the world when it needs it most.

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Location:
Posted: May 4, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

I participated in the EX74 Patagonia Research and Exploration Expedition and it was truely an experience of a lifetime. I learned more about myself in those 5 weeks than I had in years. I was able to test and discover my limits while bushwhacking,crossing freezing rivers or climbing mountains to get to our wild boar transects. I learned skills that are not only valuable in the field, but in all aspects of life. Dealing with strangers became a necessity when you are sharing a tent with two other EMs. When living in such close quarters with the same people for so long, compromise and responsibility becomes necessary– all things I thought I knew but truely learned on this trip. I was able to discover the Patagonian wildlife beyond the borders I would have had if I had travelled alone. The Expedition opened my eyes to new horizons, new adventures, new ways of living – It really changed me, for the better. I will take all of this with me, and hopefully others will too.

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 3, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

I volunteered in Africa, in a school/orphanage in which I cared for and taught small children from the age of 2 up to bigger kids, in their teens. I did this through GVI. It was a very rewarding and valuable experience. Similar experiences are available through other volunteer agencies but I felt like GVI provided me with a great amount of support and pre-departure information, which was incredibly helpful and made my trip less stressful. For example i had a direct number I could call my travel organiser on and within the country the office of people who could help me was at the accommodation where the volunteers lives together.

Program:
Posted: April 26, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

I think that I am in a unique position to comment on GVI, having just returned from 10 months of traveling and doing 3 GVI projects in a row. My aim was to take some time to see the world, immerse myself in cultures and to try and give something back to the world.
My first project was "Teach English to Buddhist Novice Monks and Local Communities in Laos". The support here from both the GVI staff and the other volunteers was amazing. Living in a guest house with our own rooms gave the best of both worlds in that we were able to spend as little or as much time together as we each wanted. I went into the project with no teaching experience but by the end I was taking smaller groups of novices for lessons on my own. To have a young novice monk grab my arm and say "You are a very good teacher" was as rewarding as anything I have ever done.
For anyone wondering how your contribution is spent on these projects the blog for the Laos project at http://gvilaos.blogspot.com/ lists some of the things that they have been able to do.
My second project was "Teaching and community work in Nepal" and it was a completely different situation to Laos. Here I was on my own in a small village and looked after kids in an orphanage. Support was from the manager of the hotel where I was staying and eating and he was able to quickly and easily supply me with anything I needed. Working with children was completely new to me as well but it was hard not to fall for them and to be able to live the life of a local with such enthusiastic guides gave me a view of Nepal that couldn't be matched by any standard trek.
The third project was "Wildlife Research Expedition in South Africa" and here the emphasis was on animals rather than people. Early starts, long days and mind blowing close up wildlife encounters were the norm. Living was in communal style and it was a bit of an adjustment after being so independent in Nepal to have to fit in with a group again. As in most communal situations the cooking and cleaning was a group effort with some meal noticeably superior to others. :-)
The emphasis here was learning about the local environment, fauna and flora and regular lectures gave us a deeper understanding of what we were seeing along with the practical lessons in maps, telemetry and reptile handling etc. Many of the other volunteers had biology backgrounds or an interest in going into the field but I feel, even though I was only there for the "experience", that I came away with a far greater understanding and appreciation of the work being done than I thought I would.
In the end I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the projects that I did or GVI as an organisation. I had great communication and assistance throughout and have seen firsthand what they are managing to achieve in the field.
Ask questions. Volunteering may not be for everyone and it is important to be aware of the field conditions before you go but I can say from the unique position of having done 3 of them that a GVI project will change your life in ways that you can't even guess now.

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 26, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

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