It's never been a better time to travel. With all the amazing photos splashing across social media feeds, it's easy to say "Yes, I want to travel!" but it's difficult to know where to start. Whether you're new to travel or a globe-trotting veteran, volunteer programs are a wonderful way to see the world and have a positive impact at the same time. Once you've decided to travel, the next step is beginning your search. There are many organizations out there offering joint volunteer and travel programs, but you can't go wrong with International Volunteer HQ.
If making a difference through immersive volunteer travel and cross-cultural learning is your thing, then this company has a program for you. With International Volunteer HQ you'll engage in a mutually beneficial learning experience with your host community and fellow volunteers by sharing your skills, ideas, and values. You will work side by side with like-minded volunteers and local community members to support sustainable development in your host community. While there, you will gain invaluable skills and experiences for your personal and professional development.
Volunteering abroad will help increase your self-confidence and cultural intelligence while you form new friendships and greater independence. Build a better you while making a positive impact in the lives of others. Seems like the perfect win-win scenario, right?
What Is International Volunteer HQ?
Established in 2007, International Volunteer HQ is now the world’s leading volunteer travel company. With a wide selection of projects in over 40 destinations, IVHQ places and manages thousands of volunteers every year. Their goal is to provide travelers with the tools to have a meaningful impact on the community they are visiting and promote cultural exchange through experiences and lessons volunteers can take back to their own homes.
Their programs are affordable and sustainable, and there is no shortage of choice with over 30 countries across the globe and projects in education, construction and renovation, childcare, conservation, wildlife, and animal care, community development, and social enterprise. Since it first launched, International Volunteer HQ has placed over 50,000 volunteers and contributed over 3 million hours to global community projects.
Why Work for International Volunteer HQ?
Whether you're looking for an alternative break, an overseas experience, a course elective or an internship abroad, International Volunteer HQ has the program for you. Working year-round in over 30 locations across Africa, Asia, Central, and South America, the Pacific and Europe, their programs can help you gain course credits. Their programs are perfect for professionals and those outside school as well since international volunteer work makes any resume stand out from the crowd.
International Volunteer HQ provides safe and affordable opportunities abroad, which include accommodation, meals, and 24/7 support from their local team. With several opportunities in each program location, you can choose from a variety of projects, including teaching, childcare, community development, medical, construction and renovation, turtle conservation and wildlife conservation. Volunteer work differs between program location and project type, but you can typically expect to volunteer between three to five hours per day, five days per week. Skills and requirements vary between projects, but the main requirement is a simple willingness to learn and take part.
What Kind of Programs Do They Offer?
International Volunteer HQ offers the world’s largest range of affordable volunteer abroad projects. With projects focused in education, wildlife conservation, animal care, childcare, the medical sciences, and more, there is no shortage of choice. Actually, the hardest part is choosing! There are options for all interests and skill sets from novice to skilled professional.
Where Does International Volunteer HQ Work?
IVHQ operates in over 40 destinations worldwide, including:
What Are International Volunteer HQ's Requirements?
Volunteer requirements for International Volunteer HQ vary from project to project, but the basic requirements for each are fluency in English, a clean criminal background, and a willingness to learn. The strictest requirements are in the medical and healthcare projects where you must be qualified or have training in a relevant medical field.
Do You Have to Be Over 18?
Not necessarily. International Volunteer HQ accepts applicants under 18 if they apply as part of a group with adults or with a parent, guardian, or family member. Be sure to note the name of your guardian on your application and their local team will ensure you're paced together. Anyone over 18 is welcome to apply solo or as part of a pair or group to any program.
Can You Volunteer with a Group or Partner?
Families, friends, and couples can volunteer together and will be placed in the same accommodation and on the same project. When applying, the first applicant needs to select "Yes" to the question "Will you be volunteering with a friend, family member or group?" in the application form. They will then be able to create a group and invite the other members to join.
International Volunteer HQ also regularly hosts university groups, schools groups, youth groups, and corporate teams. They offer a range of options for group volunteering and will customize itineraries to provide a safe environment for group members to develop and challenge themselves. Consider this a great option for any team building or leadership programs.
How to Apply
Once you have decided where you would like to volunteer and which project you would like to join, you can complete an application for your volunteer dates. After they have accepted you for your chosen dates, they will invite you to register by paying your registration fee to confirm your place on the program. Learn how to get started by visiting the company's website.
When to Apply
It is important to apply as soon as possible to secure your place on the program of your choice. Due to the popularity of their projects, some programs book up months in advance. Best practice is to apply as soon as you decide on your program, but don't worry about being stuck if you change your mind - it is possible to change things later on. The first step is to get your application submitted.
What Happens After You Apply
After you submit your application, you will have a MyIVHQ account and connect with an International Volunteer HQ Program Manager. Once you have paid your fee and are registered, your place on the program is secure, and you will have access to an in-depth program guide and interactive training modules. Your IVHQ Program Manager is also available to answer questions you may have and to collect all the required information from you before you depart. They will also introduce you to their local team for your selected program.
Can You Apply for Multiple Programs?
Yes, you can. If you would like to apply to more than one International Volunteer HQ program, you need to do is complete an application for one program and then you will be directed to your MyIVHQ account, where you can apply for further programs. From MyIVHQ, click ‘My Applications’ and then select ‘New Application’ from the drop-down menu to apply for another program.
What Are the Fees?
The registration fee is $299 for all programs and helps International Volunteer HQ pay for operation costs and facilitate your volunteer trip. You will pay the program fee separately, and it is transferred directly to IVHQ’s in-country organization to cover the expenses associated with your stay, including airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, food, and staff support. You can find more information on fees on their Program Fees page.
How to Prepare Before Your Trip
You will need to get a criminal background check before departing. Each country has its own requirements, but you can find out more by calling your local police station and referring to IVHQ's information page. Most countries will require a visa either before arrival or upon landing at your destination airport. Also, it is mandatory for all volunteers to gain travel insurance and have the required vaccinations. More information on these requirements will be provided in your program guide after registration, and your International Volunteer HQ Program Manager will help guide you through these processes.
No more staring enviously at the amazing travel photos in your social media feed, instead, consider taking a unique and amazing trip that will have positive impacts on you and the community you visit. With organizations like International Volunteer HQ you gain more than epic photos for your Instagram account, you can contribute, share, exchange, and be a positive force in the world.
Choose from their plethora of unique and affordable programs and have a bucket-list-worthy adventure without breaking the bank. If this article wasn't enough to convince you, then you should check out their rave reviews online. The world is waiting, get out there and make some positive change!