Honestly, this experience was even more rewarding than I could have ever hoped. Everything was spectacular from day one! Applying was easy and I met so many likeminded and wonderful people who I'm so happy to call my friends. The school I worked in was amazing and I was inspired every day by the children I got to teach. In fact, every person I met in this wonder of a country was beyond incredible; they are the nicest and most accommodating people I've ever encountered. I feel honoured to have met them. I could not have asked for a more exceptional host family, I have no doubt that they made this trip better than it otherwise could have been. They welcomed us with open arms and we instantly felt like part of the family! Chandni, Mohit, Raj and Aryan created a fun and caring environment full of laughter and went above and beyond to help us with everything. Without them, organising weekend travel to other cities would have been so painful. They are beautiful, kind, lively people and I'm going to miss them so much! Volunteering through IVHQ was the best decision I've made to date and I'm already planning my next trip.
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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
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, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India - Delhi & Dharamsala, Italy, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Kenya , Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru - Cusco & Lima, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Romania, Uganda, Victoria Falls, Vietnam - Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City and Zambia.
Volunteering in India with IVHQ was the best experience I've had my whole life. I loved going to my school everyday and teaching the children. We got to experience true Indian culture in the best way possible which is what you want coming on a trip like this. My host family were amazing, I had so much fun staying with them and they were very welcoming and made me feel very at home and so comfortable. Travelling on the weekends was made super easy to organise with the support of our host family. We had 24/7 support with anything we needed which was very comforting.
I spent 6 weeks volunteering in China, working 2 weeks in a disability centre in Xi’an and the other 4, teaching in the city of Weinan.
David Zhou runs the program in China and I cannot stress enough how great he is as a program leader. Even before I arrived in China, David was always on hand to answer any questions or concerns that I had. This did not stop once I arrived either. Whether helping other volunteers to arrange post placement travel plans, recommending food to try, or helping us when we got lost, he always had time. As did his family. If you’re fortunate enough to stay at the home base in Xi’an, like I did for the first two weeks of my placement and every weekend thereafter, you’ll be welcomed with open arms from David and his family.
As you are pretty much given free reign in the placements, it can be difficult to know what to teach, what to include in lessons and how to get everyone involved. Whatever programme you opt for however, the support you will receive from the people around you is second to none, provided you’re not afraid to ask for help or guidance. The kids I worked with were extremely curious and sometimes a little shy, but all of them loved playing games and having fun. It was often a case of trial and error, but the kids enthusiasm and excitement at having you there definitely made teaching one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
It’s also quite difficult to sum up just how good the food in China is. Whether eating in the Muslim Quarter or dining at Jim’s (Ask David to take you), China knows how to turn ordinary food into something that’s unforgettable. It can however, take some getting used to. Food in the homestay is basic but lovely, and for the best Chinese dumplings in the whole of China, you need not leave the homestay.
All in all, I would certainly recommend the IVHQ China programme. It could be one of the most rewarding things you ever do!
The four months that I spent volunteering in Madagascar through IVHQ were awesome. Coming into the program, my intention was to split my time equally between the Forest and Teaching projects. However in the end, I spent most of my time on the Community project (teaching and construction) for two reasons: 1) there was a constant need for more teachers and 2) I really loved the project. As a teacher, you get to spend a good amount of time off camp, which is nice because it allows you to get to know the locals and the area really well. The camp itself is beautiful and much better than I expected - especially considering the fact that it's located on an island in a third world country. Yet, its important to point out that there are a few drawbacks that come along with living on an island: 1) if you fall ill, you'll have to catch a 6:30 boat to Hellville and then get a tuk tuk/taxi to the hospital; 2) you have to be very conscious of your water/electricity usage because it comes from a reservoir/solar powered generator; and 3) there is limited access to various things you may need (toiletries, snacks, etc.) Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Madagascar! The staff, volunteers and most importantly the locals made my first volunteer experience incredible. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
I had one of the best experiences of my life volunteering with IVHQ in Cambodia! The information and help pre-departure from the IVHQ team was extremely helpful and made me feel very comfortable with the decision I had made to volunteer abroad! The team on the ground in Cambodia were so lovely and welcoming! The accommodation was also so nice, as were the meals. I felt like it was exceptional value for money and a very authentic experience! I loved the volunteering experience and was also made to feel very welcome by the Cambodian teachers I worked with. The children were amazing students and made me wish I could stay longer! I made life long friends with fellow IVHQ volunteers and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend volunteering with IVHQ to anyone!
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