International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

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9.4 / 10 after 417 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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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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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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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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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?

I volunteered through IVHQ in Coast Rica. My home stay was very nice and the food they served was very good. I feel very safe here. Maximo Nivel is the local organization through which IVHQ sends the volunteers who sign up through them in the Costa Rica program. I am unhappy with Maximo Nivel and my volunteer placement and experience as a whole. A large majority of the volunteers in this program location were unhappy with their placements. Many of the people I have spoke with are not doing what they signed up to do and do not feel appreciated at their placement by the local staff. I was basically just a free day care worker. I can not say that anything has gone wrong with myself or any of the other volunteers, only that I feel unmoved by the experience.
99% of the volunteers are very young, early 20s max, American and really only seem to have come on their parents dime to party with other American volunteers with complete disregard for their surroundings. I can say this as I am Americn myself. There are some exceptions of course.
I'm sure IVHQ works with some great programs in other locations. Costa Rica is good if you are young and want to party and make a lot of friends. I do not recommend Costa Rica for those expecting something more.

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Posted: June 20, 2010
Overall:
5
Support:
5
Value:
5
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

hello everyone. i'm very surprised to see this review. i am here in costa rica, also through ivhq and maximo nivel, and have been here since may! it's awesome. ivhq was great before coming here and maximo is fantastic all the way. they go above and beyond, there's just no other way to put it. they do a great job from housing to projects. i think this person should be careful about putting words in "lots of other volunteers" mouths. i was here in june, and still am here, and everyone i speak with is happy. no doubt there are always problems and obstacles and hurdles, but ivhq and maximo nivel have done very well in addressing all concerns. they're great! pura vida
Hi, I'm interested in traveling to Latin America for a year to do medical/ health care work and learn as much Spanish as I possibly can in that time. Peru is at the top of my list. Do you have any recommendations as to where to go and which company/ organization to go with? thank you
I am going to Costa Rica in a few weeks and I was wondering why you were unhappy with your placement? DId you not want to volunteer with the childcare program or were you looking for something else?

Nkwanta is an amazing place and my experience at God's Eye Orphanage and with IVHQ and Volunteer Corps was incredible. It was very well organized right from the moment I signed up, I was supported throughout the entire experience, all of my questions were answered thoroughly and promptly and I had the experience of a lifetime. I would definitely recommend IVHQ if you are interested in a great volunteer experience.

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Location:
Posted: June 15, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

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