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Involvement Volunteers International

Highlights of the trip:
There were plenty of highlights, just to name a few, team building. It was a great sensation, knowing how quickly we all bonded and how the program is run. I think you did a great job managing the team and also making everyone feel comfortable. The pre-training before entering the villages was great. I enjoyed learning about the culture and a bit of Bislama! I enjoyed the fact you are open to ideas and let us (the students) come up with suggestions which you took on board.
I enjoyed exploring the markets as part of the program! The warm fuzzy feeling when people from villages wanted to make a change. I didn’t realise the lack of nutrition knowledge. I felt I grew as a person on the trip, and felt I accomplished what I wanted. I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t stay and continue to explore Fiji with the team.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The accommodation was nice, I didn’t mind having cold showers! Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I wasn’t on this trip for luxury, so the fact that I had my own room was a bonus. It was an advantage being a guy in this case. The food was nice! I was happy Lynne catered for my diet, which ensured I was in top condition for the expedition.
Any improvements to help us be better:
A few improvements to make the trip more awesome. Legislation issues with the form, which Paula pointed out! Again this is out of your control but needs to be addressed. Maybe more interactive team cames, such as Pictionary or family feud. Mainly for bonding purposes. A team meeting debriefing in the morning before going to the villages would have been great. For example, knowing exactly where we were going and maybe what to expect.
It was, however, their festive season, so I know we couldn’t predict everything. A 30min question or idea building session, to bring the team together late in the afternoon would have been good. To reflect on what we noticed and what we learnt so far. Then ideas of what can be improved for the next village, for example, what can be added to the presentations, and want job everyone wants to do. I think just a bit of

Program:
Location: Vanuatu
Posted: Jan 14, 2020
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Spent two weeks at the turtle conservation program in Bali on the island of Nusa Penida. My only regret is that I didn't stay longer. IVHQ did an amazing job organising the trip and getting me in contact with the Green Lion partner organisation before I left. They answered all questions quickly and provided modules to prepare for the trip and make it easier. I was nervous since it was my first trip alone, but I loved it and plan to return this year.
As for Bali itself it is a lovely place. The locals are extremely friendly and after a day you feel like you've known the coordinators and other volunteers for your whole life. Taking care of the turtles was a unique experience, especially releasing one on my last day there. The accommodation is lovely (Class House), and so is the food. The beach is just a two minute walk away, and there's a medical centre right next to the accommodation in case of an emergency. Even the stray animals are very friendly (no they don't bite) and probably one of my favourite parts of the trip.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Indonesia
Posted: Jan 10, 2020
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I volunteered along with my girlfriend to teach English at Emerging Voices in Cartagena, Colombia from Nov-Dec of 2019. The experience overall was amazing. We got to work with lots of different groups of people, from young children living in a poor neighborhood, to teenagers learning skills related to the hospitality industry, to adults who’s English was very good, but they just lacked the confidence to use it. I also enjoyed the ability to visit other projects at Emerging Voices such as the project to feed and spend time with the homeless and the sports development project that worked with kids living in a Drug Rehabilitation Centre.
One of the highlights was definitely meeting all of the other volunteers. Programs like these bring out great people and we had a ton of fun hanging out with people coming from all over North America. My other highlight was definitely the food! Sophie was our local Colombian chef and she made the most amazing meals every day. I was always excited for meal time! She also kept the house impeccably clean and even made our beds every day; what an amazing lady! I also enjoyed working with Monica who is the program owner. She is a very inspiring women and a kind soul. We happened to be there during a transitional time for Emerging Voice so that meant we had lots of different volunteers, but also lots of different coordinators. We had three different teaching coordinators during our 4-week stay. One consistent throughout though was Lao. He worked with the childcare program, but he was the only constant in the volunteer house for the entire time that we were there and he made our experience that much better with his kindness and light hearted nature. The last thing that I really enjoyed was the location of the volunteer house. It was located in the safe neighborhood of Crespo; it was only a 5 minute walk to the beach and only a 10 minute cab to downtown so it was truly perfect! All in it was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to give back and also push themselves a little out of their comfort zone!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Colombia
Posted: Jan 9, 2020
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8

Involvement Volunteers International

Bali Primary Teaching Review by Eba
I have just spent 3 weeks on Bali and enjoyed every minute of it.
Going there, all by myself, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, so I expected nothing. During the first breakfast with the other participants I already felt at home and welcomed. We also met our coordinators who took very good care of us during our whole stay there.
The first week was introduction week and it was SO fun. We got to experience all of the Balinese culture, visit temples, be part of the flower offering and explore the city with the help of our coordinators. I went in March which is in the end of their raining season so we did also experience a lot of rain during our tours.
I learnt that most of Bali believes in hinduism and that reflects very much in their culture, which is very different from my own culture. Visiting temples, watching a traditional balinese dance show and learning the language really makes you feel like you are a part of their culture. Even If you don’t believe in hinduism it’s nice to enjoy the culture.
One of my favorite days during the introduction week was the day we had a cooking class and our coordinator taught us how to make typical balinese food like Gado-Gado, sweet tempe and fried banana. Most of the balinese food is vegetarian, which makes me, a vegetarian, very happy. If you ever go to Bali you must try the Sweet tempe, it’s amazing.
During that lunch we got to discuss a lot of different topics with our coordinator, who was very open to talk about his beliefs and his culture. We realised that in some cases we have very different opinions and other cases we think very similar. It’s cool to see that even if we grew up in so very different conditions and so far from each other, we can still agree on a lot of things.
Without knowing it, I went there the week that Bali celebrated their new year (they have a different calendar). Because of this there was a big festival in the town, where we lived, called the ogoh-ogoh festival. People carry big, scary looking mascots which are supposed to capture all the bad spirits and then later in the night you burn the big “monsters” and the bad spirits inside them. The first day of the new year is celebrated in total silence. You are not allowed to work, no fire, no travel and no partying. That day me and the other participants had to stay at home and not use any electricity. We ended up playing games the whole day and night so we didn’t bother that the wifi was off.
At the end of introduction week I felt so happy that i got to do this with these amazing people around me, not only the other participants but the coordinators and the staff at the accommodation as well. I was so excited for the next two weeks.
The second week it was time to work, we had got our schools, the curriculums and the groups on Friday so that we would be ready on Monday. Since I was in primary school I had planning in the morning and teaching in the afternoon. In our first week, we mostly tried to understand at what level the students’ english was and we planned to work from there. We taught them numbers, body parts, shapes, directions, places and clothes. They were only 9 years old, so we taught them very basic english. You’ve got to start somewhere. When in school, we always had a coordinator with us to help us translate if we were going to explain a game or something the students didn’t understand. The coordinators were so helpful there, we literally couldn’t have done it without them.
According to balinese traditions it gives you luck in life if you get married in the beginning of the new year. Therefore we had a big wedding at our house in our second week. The son of the house owner was getting married. The whole week was spent preparing for the 700 guests that was going to come on Friday. There was food, flowers, fancy clothes and a lot of people coming and going during the week. I felt so lucky getting to experience both a balinese new years and a balinese wedding, it was amazing.
Because of test week in the ordinary school we got to go to the kindergarten the first days of our third week. Due to the fact that we had our lessons outside of the ordinary schools hours and it wasn’t mandatory attendance, we had the student rest after a long day of tests instead of going back to school for another 2 hours of english. It was nice to try kindergarten for a few days. The kids there were only 5 years old and knew almost no english but we had a wonderful teacher there to help us translate. Compared to primary school, kindergarten is more playful. We did some coloring on the theme communication and we played with them a lot, which was very fun!
Our last day in kindergarten we also got to experience a birthday party. All the kids in school gathered in a classroom. There were hats handed out to all the kids and the teachers. Cake was served and all the kids got a gift bag to bring home, consisting of candy, a drink and fried chicken.
The last two days of my third week I was back in primary school, in the same class as last week. By now I knew some names and could play with the kids in break. It was so fun being around them and seeing their smiles when we entered the room, it gave me so much energy. They were also very thankful, giving us presents and drawings every other day. Leaving the class on Friday, knowing i was not coming back, was so hard. I really hope that they keep learning and that they go far in life.
Since we had a lot of free time in the weekends and when we weren’t teaching or planning we also got to explore the city and surroundings by ourselves. One morning I went to do yoga, another I visited a waterfall nearby. In the evenings when all the participants were done with work. we usually went to a cafe in town or a pub nearby. We came from all over the world and we were so different but all so similar. I can really say I got some new great friends on this trip. Our last night together we went to a karaoke bar, that was a night I am going to remember a long time.
As well as the last night I am going to remember my time in Bali for many, many years. I learnt so much about myself, about the balinese culture, I met so many great people and saw so many stunning places.If you have the opportunity to be a part of this program- DO IT, you won’t regret it. As my mom said, it’s the perfect mixture of tourism and working, it can’t get better than that. I can just agree. So thank you for making this possible for me and for so many others. Thank you for letting us explore Bali and assist you at the same time.
Ebba Jönsson, Sweden

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jan 7, 2020
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

I had an amazing time volunteering at the KAT center. I really loved spending time with the animals. Answers are below.

Highlights of the trip:
The highlight of the trip was working at the KAT center. It was so rewarding and I just loved being able to spend time with the dogs and able to bring them so joy throughout the day.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The team was amazing. Lok was fantastic and assisted with every request. The team at the house were also great especially Sapna.
The food was great also. The staff who did the working at the house were so kindly and friendly.
The accommodation was good. My bed was very hard but I did expect. My only disappointment was the bathroom and that the toilet didn’t work all the time and some of the other volunteers didn’t have enough respect for others to clean up after themselves. It was really quiet gross at times. I did inform Sapna about this.

Any improvements to help us be better:
When booking the trip, I had through that I had booked 2 weeks at the KAT center to only be told that I had to do the culture/introduction week for the first week then go to the center on the 2nd week. I had this changed and only did the first day and then went to the center. I think that this should be more clear at the time of booking.

On arrival at the KAT center I didn’t really get an introduction and wasn’t shown around. I think that it is so important that the volunteers are shown were everything is and receive an explanation about the dogs that are in the center. They also need to have signs on the cages of the dogs that you are not allowed to interact with. One of the girls was cuddling a dog with distemper and she didn’t know it as then wasn’t allow to handle any of the other dogs for the rest of the day in case the disease was spread.

Thank you for all your help. It was a great trip.
Cheers, Monique

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jan 2, 2020
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

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