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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I recently spent 3 months Volunteering in Ghana at the Amber program with IVHQ. Simply put my time there was amazing. When I first decided to take the leap to volunteer in Africa I was really nervous as It was going to be my first time traveling alone. But I soon realized the amount of support that you receive from not only IVHQ staff but past, current and future volunteers you are never alone. The staff become some of your best friends and the vomunteers become like family to you... It sounds cliche but I really did make life long friends that I am so happy to have had the chance to experience this with. Evans, the project coordinator for the green and Amber program is amazing, he is such a genuine guy and will remain a friend of mine for ever. If you ever needed anything at all he was there.. just a phone call away... Even if it was something as silly as "what tro do I take to get to accra" hahaha. As for your placements... what you get out of the experience is what you are willing to give. If you walk in with no expectations and a complete open heart What ever program you will be placed in I can guarantee you will have an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to volunteer at both the green and Amber program and can not express how much I loved every second of it. Falling in love with those kids take all of five minutes and leaving them will be the hardest thing you'll ever have to do... Well at least for me if was. The only thing I would encourage IVHQ to do would be to send more volunteers to the programs that don't get as many long term volunteers... Like the Amber program. It's frustrating knowing that other programs could have 8 volunteers while you only have 2. Although it gave you more time to spend with the kids one on one it makes it very difficult to start up long term projects like other programs do because there is not a constant flow of volunteers to keep the projects up. Even sometching as simple as taking time to help one kid with his reading proved to be nearly impossible with only two volunteers because you have 40 other kids wanting your help just as much and with just two of us it could be overwhelming. But that said I would not chnage anything about my experience for the world. There wasn't a single day I was in Ghana that I didn't feel at home. I never felt unhappy or unsafe or unsettled. Ghana truly is an amazing country that will grab ahold of your heart forever. Yes you live simple, and basic and won't have the luxuries that you would elsewhere but honestly it's worth it and you start to realize that you don't need those luxuries to be happy. The locals there live with next to nothing yet they are some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life. Anyways, overall I would say without a doubt that if you are considering volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ... DO IT. It is a great way to travel to a country like Ghana for the first time. IVHQ looks after you very well, the accommodations are comfortable, the food is fine, the placements are amazing, and you are given plenty of time to yourself to travel and see the country. The program is affordable and the staff go the extra mile to make sure you are comfortable. So do it... Take the leap!! The experimeve is amazing and you will come out a completly different person.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Jan 19, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7

AFS

My daughter was supposed to study abroad in Northern Italy for her senior year and had to return early because when she told the coordinator of her region that she felt like she wasn't welcomed by her host family and that her host mom was not making her feel like part of the family, the coordinator gave her a contract to sign and said to her "you don't want to go home, do you?"hmmm. My daughter tried to make things work and followed the guidlines of the program and wenr to her volunteers when she had problems,when she couldn't take it anymore living with this host family(even wanting to go to a hotel) AFS did nothing to help my daughter but just made her more miserable.
Anything your son or daughter might say to some of the volunteers will be used against them if the want to swich host families. My daughter was doing well in school, in spite of it all ,and made wonderful friends (her only support system) and had to return home early because they took a deaf ear to her and she could not take being mistreated by her host family any longer.

Program: Gap Year
Location: USA
Posted: Jan 19, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Nakuru Hope

I first met Susan in 2010 when she was taking groups to Nakuru Hope to volunteer. My timetable that year did not allow me to go but I kept it in mind as I was impressed by Susan's passion and commitment. I visited Nakuru Hope in August 2014 for 3 weeks and was surprised by my experience.
The school had opened at the beginning of the year and Susan, her son and daughter had an official opening mid year. I arrived for the last week of Susan's visit and was made to feel very welcome by all. The children's assembly the first morning bought tears to my eyes. I was overcome by there happiness and willingness to learn.
The home stay facilities are excellent and welcome surprise. There were a number of other volunteers who came and went while I was there and meeting and learning from them was amazing.
I helped with classes, as my background is teaching, marked exams, read to and with the students. I was impressed by the English of the 8 year old students. Helping with food twice a day and playing at break times.
Sounds like fun, there were also home visits to see where these children live. It was in a slum area after all. They manage or not on so little. Walking around the slum was no problem. An old man came and shook my hand to thank me for visiting.
I highly recommend this experience to everyone.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Jan 18, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

NGO Abroad

I had the pleasure of connecting with NGO Abroad and Ann during a career consult. I must say that my interaction with Ann was amazing. Ann is a woman of great knowledge and she knows her craft. Ann provided me with insightful and useful tips and ideas with regards to my quest to begin a career in international development. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone. It is practical and effective in its purpose. I think Ann again for her professionalism, insightfulness and knowledge. Anyone who is on the cusp of getting into the exciting career field of international development must first start with a career consult with Ann. She will provide you with much needed information and opportunities.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Canada
Posted: Jan 17, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I am volunteering in Nairobi, Kenya for two months. So far it has been an incredible experience that I would definitely recommend for a person who has traveled before and is understanding and patient towards cultural differences. I did feel that prior to leaving I was given little information, but when I asked questions I was always given an answer in a very timely fashion so I would encourage anyone wanting to come to ask as many questions as they can so as not to have any wrong expectations.
I was warned by friends and family to be safe and to be conscious of Ebola, so to anyone worried about traveling to East Africa I can tell you that there are thousands of miles between Kenya and Ebola and despite walking around in the slums I have yet to feel unsafe. It is wise to be aware of ones surroundings but that is true of any city in the world.
My biggest complaint about Global Crossroads was an issue with invoicing. I received my invoice after I had arrived and when I went to go take money out of an ATM, the machine swallowed my Visa Card and the bank would not return it. It was an upsetting situation though a traveler should be prepared for these kind of things happening and not lose their head. I arranged for a wire transfer of the money but a few days after I had arranged for the transfer another invoice appeared with new figures not on the old one. I would hope that for the future Global Crossroads will provide an invoice and an opportunity to pay that invoice well in advance to the person leaving their home country. It would have been helpful for me to know beforehand how much spending money I would have available as well as for the volunteer to know a figure in which to raise the funds either by themselves or with their community. Personally, I would have put off my departure date so that I could have had more time to work.
I gave support an 8 and not a 10, but I feel that it is more of a cultural difference than a lack of caring. Like I said previously, information wasn't amply provided but no questions were left unanswered, I just had to make sure I asked the correct ones. When I arrived at the airport I was told someone would be waiting for me but had to wait an hour before that person arrived due to traffic. Upon spending more time in Kenya, I realized that time is much less punctual than what I'm used to, if something is to start at 8 expect it to start at 9.
My host family provides a healthy balance between independence and protectiveness. The first time I took a city bus was with a member of my host family, but after that I was to do it by myself. Sometimes someone will accompany me to run errands, sometimes not. I think it is the perfect balance so that I can make Kenya my home but have someone provide an initial tour. I feel very much at home here.
Overall, I would recommend this program to someone who has traveled before because it can be a cultural shock if you've never experienced another culture before. And I would also recommend it to someone who is level headed and fairly easy going. Global Crossroads has helped make this experience possible, but the volunteer should make the most out of every experience as well! When the two work together it is impossible not to have an amazing time.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Jan 15, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
7

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