I had the opportunity to volunteer with IVHQ in Ghana, Africa this summer. It was the best experience of my life. I decided on IVHQ by doing research on several programs and comparing them. I am a college student so I don't have a lot of money, and IVHQ was definitely the most affordable program I could find.
I felt like I was pretty well prepared for the trip because IVHQ provided an extensive handbook and a program coordinator was constantly in contact with me. She helped me with a background check, visa problems, and travel insurance. I also went with my boyfriend, and they were very good at helping us out to make sure we received the same placement and same details.
Airport pick up was a little bit of an annoyance, as I waited in the airport for several hours while they collected everyone, but not a huge problem. Once there, the placement I received was great. There were several different placements in Ghana, so I can't speak for every one, but mine was really an incredible experience. The woman who was in charge of the orphanage/school that I volunteered at, was very friendly and loving. There were times when I felt like I wasn't making a difference because I was just helping in the classroom most of the day, however, there were times when I knew I was. The children were joyed to just have a new friend and leader in their life. It was truly amazing to see their faces light up every time the volunteers came around. I was also able to work with a couple other volunteers to repaint the walls of the orphanage and clean up some things around the place.
Our volunteer house was more than I expected it to be. We were also provided with meals. Food allergies were a bit of an issue that never seemed to get fixed, so that was a bit of an annoyance, but you have to realize you are in another country where they don't deal with food intolerances.
We had an IVHQ representative assigned to our program that visited us once a week. He would check in on us and make sure things were going ok. All of the IVHQ representatives are fantastic and so friendly! They are really a great group of people. The head of the program, served all 30 or so of us dinner the night we arrived. Everyone I met was a very loving person.
Overall, it was a truly rewarding experience. I would definitely recommend IVHQ to anyone who is looking for a cheaper program with a great experience.