GVI Participant Reviews
Wildlife Conservation Internship in South Africa- an experience of a lifetime
Submitted by Patrick Falk - Chicago | June 20, 2018
I had an incredible experience as a wildlife conservation intern in South Africa. We were based in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, which was 45 min outside of Kruger Park. Each day we spent around 8-10 hours in the field, tracking the local wildlife (mainly the large predators and herbivores) and taking valuable data. Our focus animal was the cheetah, and it was amazing to up close to these creatures and see them every day. I learned so much how these animals behave, and how our data helps larger organizations understand how to best conserve these animals. The scenery was incredible, and we were often treated to amazing sunrises and sunsets on our drives! It was also wonderful to live in community with other volunteers. GVI does a great job of building community and encouraging the volunteers to get to know each other. I really enjoyed that aspect, and there were certainly many fun memories from our time on the base camp! Overall, this experience made a profound impact on my life moving forward. I had always thought of wildlife conservation as just a secondary interest, but after going on this trip I've realized that I want to integrate wildlife conservation into my career moving forward, and I'm very excited it.
Best thing I've ever done
Submitted by Fauve Chapman - Dublin Ireland | June 05, 2018
6 months on from my 6 week project in the gorgeous village of Huay Pakoot and still missing it as much as my last day. I had the best experience I've ever had. I knew when I booked the trip that I would get to spend time with elephants but did not expect to end up meeting friends I know I will keep in touch with. The staff, the village, the villagers, the children, the families, the dogs, pigs, chickens and buffalos!! It was all home to me for 6 weeks and very hard to get back to life once I'd left. I will definitely re visit this wonderful visit as I don't think I could accept never seeing it again! That just cannot happen! ;)
Program: Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand
Marine conservation and PADI divemaster internship
Submitted by Kayla Moore - - | May 30, 2018
I was lucky enough to spend six months on this program and it still didn't feel long enough. I learned so much marine conservation and coral reef diversity. The practical experience I gained from this program has helped me to further my career in marine science. The community work is fulfilling and important, the diving was beautiful, and the amazing people made every day feel special. I would definitely go back!
Costa Rica Jalova
Submitted by Becca | May 28, 2018
I spent just two weeks in Costa Rica with GVI, but in that short time alone, I felt I had gained so much.
Upon arriving I was greeted by a group of people who welcomed me instantly. The level of knowledge and enthusiasm each and every staff member and volunteer has is huge, and really inspired me to learn and become part of the team. I received training regarding the huge biodiversity of the Tortuguero National Park, as well as in data collection methods and practices key to life in the jungle. Although there is a lot to learn quickly, being out everyday helping with various programs allows you to put it all into practice.
Although the experience brought with it some challenges, such as physical exertion and living conditions that take some getting used to, they are 100% worth it, not only to be able to witness the good that is being done, but also in the personal sense of achievement.
As someone who has struggled with Anxiety, there were some moments before and during the program where I felt I was struggling, but the support of the staff and attitude on base that means no one needs to do anything they aren't comfortable with, these moments passed quickly.
I am to be back in the Jalova base before the year is out!
Providing educational experiences for disadvantaged children South Africa June/July 2015
Submitted by Jo - Perth Australia | May 13, 2018
I travelled to South Africa after my original GVI trip to Nepal had to be cancelled due to the terrible earthquakes four weeks before I was due to leave. I am grateful for the opportunity to visit South Africa and I had some memorable experiences during my 4 week stint there. As an experienced early childhood teacher of over 40 years, I was sad that my knowledge and experience wasn't used to it's full advantage- I was very disappointed that I didn't get to work in the Kindergarten (as I had been led to believe,) and spent my whole time in Ikalythemba. I brought an entire month's of preparation and planning activities with me -including resources and craft materials for the Kindergarten. I did use them with the older children, but not to the extent to which they would have given the most impact for the younger children. The turn over of volunteers was an issue as the children were constantly adjusting to new faces ever week or so. I hope the resources and items I purchased with money I fundraised back at home, were used and benefitted the children and that a bit more organisation and thought to where volunteers are placed is now in place, as I felt I really didn't make a lot of difference in the four weeks there, despite doing my very best. I made some amazing friends in the house we all shared and it was a fun and interesting time. My reason for volunteering wasn't to see the sights but did have the most amazing experiences while I had free time on the weekends. I don't know whether I would volunteer again with GVI but I still would like to go to Nepal, and may give GVI another go as it could probably be the most amazing opportunity.
GVI responded to this review May 21, 2018 at 8:27 AM
Thank you for your feedback on your experience in Gordon's Bay. As a feedback led organisation, we take all kinds of feedback very seriously and do our best to work on all elements of someone's experience, to improve it for future participants.
We're sorry to hear that your experience in 2015 wasn't as expected. If you would be keen to discuss this with us in further detail, please email us at [email protected]
All the best,
The GVI Team
Just when you think you’ve seen it all
Submitted by Melanie - Windsor Canada | April 18, 2018
Swimming with sharks, turtles, octopus and all kinds of fish on a daily basis is amazing. Sometimes you see the same type of fish over and over again so you disregard it because you want to see something new, but then you see that same type of fish and it’s a baby, and you are in complete awe. I was so lucky to spend a month of my life in the Seychelles and dive 2 times a day 5 days a week. And just when I think life cannot get any better a Manta Ray swims towards me, directly in my direction to the point I could have touched it and just as it would swim right into me and pivots to my right and passes me by. Needless to say, there was a happy dance being had underwater.
Submitted by Yvonne - California United States | March 28, 2018
I returned home a couple of weeks ago from volunteering with GVI. I found out within a few days of me starting that they charge different amounts depending on where you live. For example I live in the USA and they charged me $700/$800 more than somebody living in the UK. I confronted GVI with this unethical way of doing business during my exit interview and have had two more conversations this appalling way of doing business upon my return. They are so concerned the culture and habits in the countries they have their volunteer opportunities and educate and stress with the volunteers how important it is that we do not offend anybody because GVI wants to uphold their name to high standards. But than they turn around and treat their volunteers in a disrespectful way by charging them different prices for the same thing depending on where you live. Shame on you GVI....Your volunteers are the backbone of keeping your business going. If you do not treat them right than it is just a matter of time your business will fail. A very unacceptable way of doing business.
Program: Volunteer with Children in Laos
GVI responded to this review April 06, 2018 at 3:37 AM
We're really sorry to hear that you weren't fully satisfied with your GVI experience.
Unfortunately, the cost of marketing and recruitment is radically different in different markets. Currently, it costs us three to four times the amount to recruit participants via advertising from within the US as it does in the UK. This is something however that we are always looking to refine and improve upon.
I'm glad that you have already been in communication with our Alumni and Field teams. If you have any further questions, please do us at [email protected], as we're very happy to discuss this more with you at any point.
The GVI Team
Best life experience
Submitted by LB - Geneva University of Law | March 26, 2018
I went there for 3 weeks during April. It was so great and i met so many wonderful people that I decided to go back.
It was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed teaching to the Monks and Novices and the taught me so much their culture. If I had visited Laos on my own i wouldn't have learned that much buddhism.
GVI is a wonderful organization and I'm glad I had the chance to experience it !
Program: Laos Teaching Internship
Glorious Gordon's bay
Submitted by Teala - Worcester United Kingdom | March 22, 2018
My trip with GVI was one of the best things I have done during my summer holiday! The people on the project were amazing, the local people were amazing and the children we simply inspiring and wonderful!
We taught the children to count using songs and games, we provided them with art and drama lessons which they wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise and we read with children who had no parents to hear them read. It was such a rewarding and life changing trip.
I would recommend GVI to anyone; they look after you, provide a brilliant programme and engage all people in sustainable development.
Dream job on a tiny island
Submitted by Anna Sabrina Petry - Other | March 12, 2018
From my first day on I learned so much the reef around Caqalai, the Fijians and their culture and how important education and community work is. That is what I love the work GVI does, it is not just marine conservation and diving, it connects everything therefore you can understand the whole context. This is the best way to do it because that is how everything on this beautiful planet works, everything is connected and depends on each other.
The project really opened my eyes how to be aware of our environment and improve my ecological footprint. I was so impressed by the way of living I experienced on Caqalai island. Everything was unpretentious but enough to be really happy and achieve something. For me, this time confirmed which work fulfills me the most. After one month I finished my Coral Reef Research Diver course, I am so thankful for this amazing experience, for all the lectures, the possibilities to go on dives and clean the ocean with my own hands on DAD dives, SAD snorkels and beach cleans and for all the beautiful, mindful people I met during my time in Fiji. I have so much respect for the whole staff team and the Fijians on Caqalai, Leleuvia and Mouturiki, you are doing an amazing job!
I left this island with the promise to do whatever I can, to save the ocean and share my new knowledge and experience with as many people as I can.