Our award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’.
Our award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’.
GVI tackles critical local and global issues by operating award-winning education and training programs on sustainable development projects around the world, in partnership with renowned international partners.
GVI is a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who aim to build a global network of people united by their passion to make a lasting difference.
We operate our own programs and partner with local and international NGOs, government organisations and education institutions including Save The Children, WWF, The Red Cross, PADI, Project AWARE, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the National Parks of South Africa, Costa Rica, Seychelles, Mexico and Thailand, among others.
With us you will make a difference on the ground, as well as to your own future. We provide you with the experiences needed to help you positively impact your access to higher education and employment.
I started as a volunteer in GVI South Africa at 18, before doing the Fiji spinner dolphin project a few months later. I came back to GVI as unpaid staff in Costa Rica during my degree, and I consider this made me who I am today, as well as kick-starting my career in conservation. GVI took me on again as paid staff in Greece that summer. I look back fondly at all the time I spent working with them.
If you are interested in coral and/or fish species (and learning or improving your SCUBA diving skills), then consider going to Pez Maya. I spent two months at this location, early in 2017. However, if you can, avoid travelling through the United States! The immigration process is the pits; even the American volunteers I met at Pez Maya agreed!
Although the base is very basic (there is no running water and neither does it have mains electricity), it is a paradise. The base is located on a beach, facing east over the Caribbean Sea! [Search "Pez Maya" in Google Maps and you'll see.]
Beds are double-height bunk beds and the accommodation is mixed. Some people might disapprove, it works very well.
Weekends are usually free, and most volunteers travel to either Tulum or Playa de Carmen, although there are other places to visit.
Would I go back? Yes!
I interned with GVI at the age of 21 in Costa Rica and have been working with the company ever since! I have worked as field staff in the countries of Greece and India as well. It has been a fantastic opportunity and I know will pay off as I continue to build and develop as a person and in my career!
I was lucky to get the National Scholarship in the community projects, it was an amazing experience i helped the community teaching them English while I got some great certifications, in my 12 weeks got TEFL and EFR certificates, I meet great people from different nationalities and open the gate for me to work in this amazing organization, I moved to Playa as scholar and then I got hired By GVI Mexico as field staff, from a staff perspective I saw how much we impact other lives and how we contribute to the conservation of the environment.
After spending 6 weeks doing an internship doing sea turtle conservation in Greece, I can safely say it was the most amazing experience of my life, the staff, the volenterrs and the turtles, Made my time here!
I would encourage anyone to join and volunteer!
nice and welcoming staff, had a great time
I worked in one of the GVI hubs for 9 months. If you are looking to work in international development on small scale, in the field, with volunteers, then GVI is an incredibly good organization for it. GVI is the most sustainable organization I have worked for and sustainability in the projects they take out is the number one priority. The health and safety standards are incredibly high as well. And progression within GVI is very prosperous. However, be prepared to give a lot more than you expect to the organization; especially time, dedication and money.
I volunteered in Quepos , Costa Rics teaching English . I sadly only booked it for 3 weeks and if I could go back I would make it a year it was honestly the most fulfilling and best expierence I've ever had . What more could you want than being able to travel and see a beautiful country but also get to help and teach others who may or may not have it good as we do. Teaching English is defiantly a great way to do that and I would highly recommned it to anyone who has interest in teaching English if not there is also a childcare programme where you get to play and interact with children . I still got the opportunity to do the childcare once a week too which was amazing
I had such an incredible time at GVI South Africa ! Broke my heart to leave. Came away with so much knowledge of the bush and got to experience some INCREDIBLE wildlife sightings!
Fiji was one of the best Things in Life i could do after finishing school. Learned Diving in tropical water and found Out interesting Things about the Marine Life. The locals are really the friendliest people in earth. 5 Stars from Germany. That was a real adventure.
I have always wanted to travel and volunteer but never had the opportunity. Never having been abroad or travelled by myself before taking part in an organised under 18s volunteering trip sounded ideal and this is something my parents agreed with. I can safely say it was the best experience of my life so far and I can't wait to do it again! It gave me an amazing new insight into new aspects of life and provided amazing opportunities you could not get anywhere else. I am an aspiring photographer and Costa Rica was a perfect setting, with the views and animals, to hone my skills further. It was so well planned out making sure that we got to experience everything awsome. I definitely recommend it and I'm sure an other gvi trips will be just as brilliant. I will definitely be continuing my travel and trying out more gvi trips.
I had the time of my life in Fiji. Not just the people and the culture, the whole package and all the emotions you go through makes this a very unique experience. Even it's now some time ago, i still miss teaching in school, saying bula to everyone and waking up on that stunning island. If you have the chance to be a part of GVI, please go!
I am currently a volunteer at the Chiang Mai elephant project and everything has been amazing, staff is vey welcoming as well as the villager
I volunteered in 3 GVI hubs: Cape Town South Africa, Limpopo South Africa, and Chiang Mai Thailand. The opportunity to work and live in normally inaccessible communities is priceless and unforgettable. There are very few other volunteer organizations, vacation packages, or other tours that offer the opportunity to so closely experience and impact environments like Thailand's Karen village and Limpopo's compound in the middle of the bush.
That being said, the volunteer accommodations warned to be "limited" are indeed VERY insufficient. In the Cape Town hub, only 1 meal was provided each day, despite the 3 meals advertised. Volunteers had to hope for dinner leftovers in order to have a meal to eat for breakfast and lunch. Both of the other hubs also had insufficient food for at least one meal, and none of these hubs had trustworthy or available WiFi to communicate back home. The good news is, the majority of the money you pay for the program goes back into the program, however, it is rather expensive to volunteer, and better accommodations should be offered for the price you must pay.
I hope that doesn't turn people away from volunteering with GVI. The experiences are worth the price and the discomfort. However, I warn volunteers to prepare for these accommodations, and have sufficient funds (MUCH more than GVI's recommended amount!) to supplement food and other comforts.
An experience second to none. Learned to scuba dive which opened up a whole new world and had plenty of opportunity to snorkel and experience the amazing diversity of creatures both in the sea & on land. The staff were brilliant and ran an organised but friendly operation. All in all this is a highly recommended experience & not to be missed.
I was a volunteer with GVI in Nepal in 2014, and then Thailand and Laos in 2016. All of the projects were incredibly unique experiences, and I would recommend each one of them! Volunteering with GVI is a great way to go abroad, especially if you are new to this type of travel.
I had the best experience volunteering through GVI. I worked for a month, on a tiny island in the Seychelles, helping to conserve the nature there. It was primarily focused around protecting an endangered of sea turtle - a highlight of mine was helping the hatchlings make their way to the sea. Some days were tough but it was an incredibly rewarding experience! I would highly recommend this programme!
I was on the Gvi under 18s program like a staff member in Costa Rica these last summer. Was a very big surprise been there, because I've got the opportunity to share a couple of weeks with a group of under 18s persons. We spend a time laughing and learning about the natural life, the animal behavior and the specialities on the Costa Rican wildlife.
We've got the opportunity, this touch my heart, to save a seaturttle from a hanging rope on her leg. This was a very big moment on the second summer camp.
We spend time counting species, on the El Tortuguero national Park and the final results was amazing. I never been part of something so big like that and I realized about the important to make something little for make the difference...
This experience definitely make me a better person and change a lot of things on my inside. Have this opportunity is something for been thankful my hole life!
I decided to take part in one of GVI’s marine expeditions a while back in 2011 to help me gain experience for a future career. And what better a place to do it than in the Seychelles! I cannot recommend the company and the expedition I done enough (scuba diving coral reef research). It hands down has been the best experience of my life! Met so many nice people and became so close as your spending so much time with them. The diving was amazing and learnt so much on corals, diving and the marine life around the islands. I even completed 2 extra diving courses taking me up to rescue diver which I hadn’t considered until I started the GVI expedition. If anyone is considering applying for an expedition and might be unsure as they may be doing it alone or have never travelled a far distance on their own before then I have this advice.... DO IT! It will be the best thing you wil ever do :)
This project exceeded all my expectations!
The elephants are just gorgeous and you do not get tired of watching them.
The villagers and the volunteer form a big family and it's hard to say good bye!
Amazing experience both with people and project.
So I went to the Seychelles. To be exact I went to Cap Ternay. It is about 20 minutes by boat to Beau vallon, a little city with lots of expensive restaurants and hotels. Our base was nothing like this.
Old Beds, five people in a room, cold water, really basic bit still really good food.
Would I've rather bin in Beau Vallon?
There is no better place than Cap Ternay. It's our little cute Base in the middle of the jungle just 300m away from the most beautiful beach in the world.
What did I do there?
I went diving and I went diving and....
....I went diving and then I went diving again. Sometimes we ate something or learned our corals, fishs, and inverts. And we had fun a lot of fun.
In conclusion it were basically the best two months in my life.
It was a life changing experience and I would recommend it to anyone!
This program was a life changer. I am a zoology major wanting to focus in wildlife conservation, so naturally this program seemed perfect. You spend every weekday morning hiking through the forests of Thailand following elephants and collecting data on them to help assist GVI in their conservation research, where they are trying to re-establish captive elephants back into a natural setting. Not only do you get to work with the herd of semi-wild elephants, but you get to experience the life of villagers in the small village of Hauy Pakoot. Living in a homestay, learning the native language, teaching school children English, and eating authentic Thaifood everyday. This is something that you really can't experience anywhere else. 10/10 would recommend to any animal lover, nature enthusiast, or anyone looking for an adventure. I would not recommend it to anyone who does not enjoy getting a little dirty, or roughing it (you sleep on a small pad on the ground, the bathrooms are a squat toilet and a cold bucket shower, and there are no sinks to wash your hands except at the GVI base), as well as anyone who doesn't like Thai food, the village is very isolated so there isn't a variety of options for food. If you don't like rice, eggs, or other basic Thai food you won't have other options for meals (however, they do a very good job at accommodating for food allergies, vegetarians/vegans, and changing spice levels).
I was a participant of the GVI curieuse base involving monitoring and recording turtle and shark activities in the Seychelles. My experience was one that was life changing and helped me grow as a person and rewarded me with confidence, friends for life, new interests and opportunities but most importantly for me, a unique once in a life time experience.
GVI were great at communication before my trip and helped me with any issues I may have had before leaving for the island. We were greeted with open arms when arriving at the camp and on the whole we were all treated equally and with respect.
The accommodation to begin with was a slight shock as although I was told it would be basic, there were no pictures of camp so I went in blind. However once you get into a routine the place feels like home and looking back I miss every second of my experience.
I hope to do another GVI voluntary program this year and can’t wait to see what the future brings. I thoroughly recommend anyone and everyone to partake in a GVI programme as you will gain a life long spectacular experience that you can’t ever forget.
Completing an internship on the Elephant Reintroduction programme is one of my proudest achievements to date. It was a complete honour to have had the chance to experience the real authentic Thai culture, whilst living with my host family and being immersed into the community.
It was always a pleasure to hike and see the elephants every day, and completely mesmerizing to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
There was always plenty of activities to get involved in on a daily basis, and I learnt more than I anticipated. The friends I made from around the world, during my time on project, I shall remember for the rest of my life. The elephants, mahouts (elephant keepers), villagers, staff and volunteers made my experience unforgettable and I am so thankful to have participated in the project.
Karongwe and Seychelles were unique and beautiful experiences
Although it's been nearly two years since I've done this project, I remember vividly what it was like: inspiring. I'll keep it short, but feel free to DM me if you want details. I would absolutely do it again, no second guessing. I enjoyed GVI so much that I booked another volunteer experience with them and plan to do more. Great company.
I had the best time, with some of the most wonderful people I've been lucky enough to meet. Everyone on the trip was quite alot younger than me but that didn't matter. I had a blast and learnt so much. It really has made me understand alot more about my natural environment and what I'd liek to do with my career / life.
I would highly recommend GVI, whilst they were not the best for communication prior to the trip, on camp and during the volunteering experience, I could not fault them!!!
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After nearly 10 years in London I decided to take a break from corporate life in order to give back to the wider community.
This was an awesome experience to develop skills in sustainable infrastructure 💚 ♻ 🌏
> Projects involved stimulating discussion for women’s empowerment / income generation, building recycling stations and developing community workshops.
> My primary school Maori was a huge asset, allowing me to form deep connections within the community.
> What really made it special, was being so openly welcomed into Silana and surrounding Dawasamu villages, complete with an adopted family to really feel part of the community.
I can’t wait to go back some day!!!
The country, the people, the volunteers, the villagers and of course the elephants, changed my life! Will never forget it! I will have to return for a visit at some point again!
It was the best experience of my life ! I would recommend to anyone to volunteer with GVI. The project exceeded all my expectations.
I met so many wonderful people, I'm really thankful for everything this project brought me.
I’ve been twice in Laos with GVI to teach English to monks and children. It was one of the best experience of my life! I learned how to teach and how to speak in front a lot of people. I also improved a lot my English ( what an accomplishment for à French speaker!)
But definitely the best part is the people. I’ve never seen people that kind, relax, funny and happy. A part from that the staff is really nice and helpful.
I’ve already booked my summer in Laos and I know it won’t be the last time.
Being my first time travelling alone, I was slightly homesick when I first arrived at the GVI base in Phang Nga, Thailand, especially knowing I was there for 3 months. However, the staff at base were amazing and very knowledgeable on the issues that we were setting out to combat. I particularly liked working with Rachel and Rhodri, who are members of the conservation staff. Being a part of the conservation team meant conducting beach cleans, teaching environmental issues to the local children, taking part in jungle expeditions to set up camera traps to learn more about the endangered Pangolin, collecting data on coral reef systems and bird species and working with sea turtles in a sanctuary before their release back to the wild (This involved cleaning their living facilities, bathing and applying medicine if necessary, creating and designing enrichment toys to encourage behaviours that would develop in the wild and collecting data that would be beneficial to research on the species).
All of these amazing things that I have had the opportunity to take part in with GVI have helped develop my character, as well as skills in team work, confidence, data collection and communication, which have huge benefits in employability.
During my time at GVI Phang Nga, I was very lucky to meet many like-minded people who I spent all my time with, we would spend the week volunteering and the weekends travelling as much of Southern Thailand possible. This was made far easier with the fantastic recommendations from staff.
I am extremely grateful for this experience and would recommend volunteering with GVI Phang Nga to anyone. It was the quickest three months of my life, time flies by when you’re having fun.
If you’d like to check out photos from my trip, have a look at my Instagram - Gemmaaar182
I booked with excitement but I landed in Laos with a little bit of nerves. However, they were all calmed the second I met the staff and fellow volunteers. We were situated nicely in what felt like the centre of Luang Prabang. The stay was clean and the food delicious. But thats not why I am so thrilled to have taken part in this GVI programme. I was a Woman Empowerment Volunteer and I was aware that I would be teaching English to classes filled with eager young women. I was not aware that they would be the ones inspiring me to this day. The sheer desire they all had to grow and learn astonished me. I left Laos heart-broken for every student has with them a piece. They will continue to inspire me as I hope I did for them. I am already looking for time to book my return because I would be willing to fly back just for their smiles!
I had a fantastic time in South Africa, coordinating a holiday sports programme at the local primary school and doing construction in a local crèche. It feels great knowing I took part in such an amazing project, and managed to make a difference in the community as well as leaving something permanent behind. My time in Cape Town has taught me so much about myself and has allowed me to take part in activities I never thought I was capable of. I've loved working in the community and making a change, and I've had so much fun along the way. I'd thoroughly recommend GVI Cape Town, and I'd love to go on another GVI programme and help even more!
It was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone. I think especially a long-term stay is impactful. You meet a lot of great people and you will be able to laugh a lot. The students loved the education program and that made it very enjoyable for us volunteers. I would go to Laos with GVI anytime again.
I volunteered on the GVI Chiang Mai program in May this year. It was an incredible experience. I was volunteering to help to reintroduce elephants into the wild by collecting data to prove that elephants health and well being is better in the forest than in the tourist camps. It was tough at times as sometimes the treks were very steep and quite long but always worth it to see the elephants living in their natural habitat.
As well as taking data with the elephants there were opportunities to teach English both at the local school as well as to the villagers which was extremely rewarding. My homestay family were wonderful, made me feel very welcome as well as cooking me delicious meals. The staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming as well as supportive and I met amazing other volunteers and interns too! Would highly recommend this program!
I volunteered in the community development program in Silana, Fiji. We worked on different constructional projects, teaching, environmental and community projects. The people of Silana are incredibly welcoming and you will feel like you are leaving Family when you have to go.
Volunteers have their own area and actually have flushing toilets and running water! Only tough part about accommodations is rats are a real problem so you have to be diligent in keeping your bure free of anything flavored (even my chapstick got eaten). We were provided 3 meals a day (mostly vegetarian) and you get a lot of evenings and weekends as free time. Highly recommend!!!
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