I have had a long but great search for my host family, the person that was in charge of placing me was Jodi Standrowicz, she has been a wonderful help and is a great person. I had been accepted by a family but they were horrible at contacting me back and then I came to learn that they were actually still considering families. That made me a little discouraged and sad because there didn't seem to be great communication. Jodi however kept my spirits and hopes high and would always message me back and return my calls, the longest I ever had to wait for a response was probably a day. Jodi is a great person and I would recommend her however, she is switching to sales but she really kept me happy. I didn't have a problem with getting my money back if there wasn't a placement, luckily I did receive a placement. I can't wait to spend three months in France and learn the language that I love.
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This past summer, I was fortunate enough to volunteer at GeoVisions' Italian summer camp in Macerata, Italy. I had an amazing experience and I owe it all to the support I received from the people at Geovisions. Before departing, the company made sure to send me several packets of information regarding the transportation they arranged for me from the airport, cultural differences to be aware of while abroad, and specific details about my role at the camp. I felt extremely prepared and comfortable about my trip and I know that my easy travel experience was largely due to the arrangements that GeoVisions made for me.
While abroad, I was equally pleased with the support and accommodations that I received. My housing was safe, clean, quiet, and had the added bonus of an amazing view of the city. Our group was placed in a location that was close to restaurants, a grocery store, and the bus station, which made navigating the area an easy feat. Marybeth, my contact at GeoVisions, was always available to answer any questions I had. She also made sure that the staff at the camp were attentive and diligent about transporting our group to and from the location on time, providing meals and a detailed daily schedule, and planning fun trips for our days off.
Overall, I would highly recommend GeoVisions to anyone interested in volunteering abroad. I had an amazing experience both at the camp and in my leisure time, and I know that this would not have been possible without the support I received from this well-organized company. The program is truly worth every penny and I am certainly planning on participating in another GeoVisions program in the future.
Where do I begin...
I'd say the lack of communication after squeezing the program fee out of me was the worst aspect. Why, after shelling out a thousand dollars, did I have to grovel and beg for answers to my questions? I just got the general impression that no one cared. They were incredibly attentive at first, whilst trying to reel me in. No communication while I was overseas. One shoddy copy and paste email that got lost in my spam folder. Didn't see it til I got home, but never did they try to contact me again after not hearing from me. Sent an email about a week after getting home expressing my concern with their partner that I had to deal with in Italy... who honestly did some incredibly unprofessional things... and never got a reply. Why should they, when I'm not paying them anymore? Right?
Also, I was switched last minute from the conversation corps to the au pair program, and paid the conversation corps price. And did not receive the weekly amount promised to au pairs under geovisions.
After hearing other au pairs in Italy complain about them, and knowing others still that found their family through a free website and didn't have to pay anyone a dime, I can guarantee that I will never use, nor recommend Geovisions. An utter waste of money, time, and stress.
Before taking the leap and enrolling in a program from this agency, I was nervous. The company is registered with the Better Business Bureau, but you have to lay down $350 right off the bat, and then you have to wait for up to 60 days. Communication was really fast before I submitted my application and deposit, but it did get slower afterward, which made me a bit nervous.
However, right around the 50 day mark, I received an email with the applications and contact info of my host families. They couldn't find a single family who wanted to have an exchange student for 3 whole months in the autumn/winter, but I didn't mind the prospect of two different experiences.
One of my host families was rather bad at communication, but luckily the first family I was going to stay with was great and responded quickly, so I didn't have to be afraid that no one would come to get me at the airport.
The Geovisions fee is expensive (I paid a little over $1500 for my program), but once you get here, you have a free place to stay plus three meals per day, so any way you slice it, it's cheaper than living in even the sleaziest motel back home and eating a peanut butter sandwich for dinner every night. I'm currently located in an absolutely beautiful little town in southern France, so I definitely don't regret paying the program fee. It gets you a place to stay, meals, insurance, and the peace of mind of someone doing a background check on the people you're going to live with, and you have the added security of knowing that if, somehow, the experience is truly awful, someone is going to answer your phone call and help you.
The French coordinator for my stay told me about problems that another girl staying in France was having. She and the host family apparently didn't get along, because the girl didn't know French very well and that annoyed the host mom. However, the girl was quickly transferred to a different family who treated her better.
I was pretty terrified before catching my plane to France two months ago, but everything has worked out more spectacularly than I even dared dream. There weren't very many detailed reviews when I was looking around, so hopefully this one is of some use to you if you're considering Geovisions. My host family has been incredibly sweet. They take me to lots of cities to explore, and I got to help harvest grapes one day and olives another day. This program really has allowed me to have experiences I could never have with a plain old study abroad program through university. And just for reference, the program I chose requires me to teach English to my host family for 15 hours every week. It's really fun; my host family is very enthusiastic about learning.
I participated in conversation corps program with Geovisions in Italy in May 2012. Before going to Italy, I applied for the same program in Brazil. For Brazil, everything was set up. I had an outstanding host partner waiting for me and I was incredibly excited. Being a Canadian, I had to apply for a brazilian visa. Geovisions knows I am Canadian but contines to send me links for American only websites, which is incredibly irritating. It was my first time to apply for a visa and I was searching for guidance from Geovisions and I didn't get any support. It was not particularly their responsibility to get a visa for me, no. However, I was 18 years old and in need of guidance. They are there to help you. Anyways, they told me to apply for a tourist visa. I sent Sara my appkication form before I sent it and asked her to review it. She said it looked perfect and it shold be fine. It turns out that Canadians don't have to register for a tourist visa and my application was rejected. This was a 3 month waiting process. I became discouraged and switched my program to travel to Italy instead because there are no visa requirements.
The host family in Italy was not a good host. My host mother was very rude and continuously inconsiderate. She once told me I should leave her home and not return. This is incredibly rude. Why did she say so? Do I party? No. Do I drink or smoke? Not often. Do I teach english everyday? Yes I do. Do I attend dinner everyday? Yes. Am I polite? Yes. The deal was that I work throughout the week then travel on the weekends. My host mom didn't like that. I don't think she knew the situation from Geovisions. I don't think she is a good host. In Canada, if an Italian came to teach my child English, I would NEVER tell them to leave because I am feeling stressed. As she spoke these words, I wanted to cry. She "didn't mean it" but its rude and she knew exactly what she was saying before she said it.
I don't know if I would travel with Geovisions again. There are no excuses.If you have the choice to speak with anyone, ask for Chris. He is a fantastic representative and is incredibly helpful. He will answer any possible question you have, as soon as possible. I dealt with Marybeth and she took many days to respond to my emails. At one point, I emailed Chris because Marybeth wasn't responding and I like to make plans effeciently. In my opinion, if I am paying you x amount of dollars, you shoud communicate with me and put me first. Geovisions is cheap for a reason: the service is low standards. They give what they advertise and nothing more. I really don't want another fellow canadian to stay with the host family I had. There's a difference between culture shock, culture differances and plain ignorance.
Geovisions isn't a bad company but its very particular. Please don't arguw with me, I don't care to hear it. This is my opinion and the purpose of this website is to post a review, not get into some kind of jerry springer "I'm right your wrong" crap. My opinion. Take it or leave it.
Everyones experience is different and in the end, I got what I paid for. It was worth every penny. However, I am slightly dissapointed with the service and chosen host family. I specified what I was looking for and I didn't get anything close. If Geovisions cannot meet specifications, they should not ask the question. If I fill out a form which labels me as a canadian cirizen, I should not receive "American" only forms; I have better things to do than sit on the computer and basically search an entire web page to find the Canadian version. Geovisions offers these programs to residents from: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. It there are no resources for a Canadian criminal record check, maybe the company should reconsider the countries they serve. And yes, after a few houra on the site, I realized I needed a zip code to fill out the remainder of the application, half way through. Perfect. This wouldn't be a problem with a well organized company.
Not reccomended for good service.
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