im thinking of doing the Global Vision International 6 month internship in Equador. (http://www.gvi.co.uk/internships/South%20America/Ecuador/ecuador-conservation-internship/home)
Im trying to find someone out there who was done the course. On the lonely planet forum there were a few people saying the whole thing is a scam, and theyre rubbish, just trying to rip you off
Please can anyone tell me if theyve done this trip and what it was like? good and bad please.
I think the issue with this sort of project is that they charge you a huge amount of money to take part. Very very little of that ends up anywhere near the project that you end up volunteering with. You think you are donating a lot of the £2000 or whatever it costs to volunteer when in fact it is all taken up with running the company from this side. Nice offices, cars, fat salaries etc.
In some cases, the work you do is kind of created for you to do, rather than work that really needs doing. There are several half finished buildings etc. around developing countries, started by well meaning volunteer projects but never finished. Volunteers go into schools to 'teach English' for a week, which actually is just singing songs to cute children. There is no long term plan of how the children's English will develop.
I've also heard of some companies who say they will provide support when you are in the country, when you are just handed over to the grassroots organisation and left to it.
Not that this is one of those types, necessarily. For that information you need to speak to people who have used them. A quick google search should help!
So it's not so much a scam - you are not going to be robbed of your money, they will do what they say they will for the money you pay them. It's just whether you want to pay someone to arrange a volunteer project for you.
You can arrange to volunteer with a project in South America yourself, cut out the middle man, save yourself money and donate more money to the actual project. Here are some links below you could use.
Volunteer South America
A direct contact list for some grassroots projects in South America where you either don't pay or just pay bed and board
Volunteer Latin America
You pay these people about £25 and they send you a list of volunteer projects that are very cheap to volunteer with. This covers the cost of maintaining the website and delivering the list.
This guy has a website of direct contacts with volunteer projects. You pay about £20 to get access to the contact details. Again, these are the overheads of maintaining the website.
this reply was really helpful, thank you for your help!
on the gvi website it says they spend 70% of the money in the field - seems like a pretty decent percentage to me, but like Kris & Kate said it's up to you whether to have a project organised for you or try and set something up for yourself.
the trip you sent the link for seems to include a lot of training and support after you travel, might be worth checking to find out if this is provided by a local partner on the ground or if gvi actually has staff in ecuador
I agree with Rat on the road 100%. The issue is with the costing. GVI are quite expensive, so I also wonder how much actually goes back into the field and how much they are interested in making a difference. GVI give the impression that they are a caring organisation, but they are a registered company out to make profits, so I suspect that they are not really different from any other orgaisation.
If you go on a GVI expedition they will do as they say, and you will proabably even have a great time, but if you really want to make a difference you may be better off organising it your self or going with a smaller local organisation.
Please see the attached video for details of my experience working with GVI.
I'm in nepal right now on a three month project for community work and teaching.
I have been placed in chitwan which if you dont like heat is a realy bad place to be!
Anyway! all the comments in here seem to be rather pesimistic GVI so far i have found to be trustworthy honest and just nice. most the people working for gvi are voluenteers or are paid through a seperate companys such as himalayan encounters. These people are almost always the locals and are there to help you out with your placement and orientation!
I have already seen my money start to do some good with new books and paint for the orphange and writing equiptment for the local school.
there are 7 orphans at the orphanage i work at and there tuition fees and accomodation and food are all paid for by GVI voulenteers!
just though a comment from someone who is actually doing something rather than just talking about how bad these company's can be would be of some help!! + take like an extra $500 for your first month as you may need to buy some stuff my phone broke and a simcard here is about 650 rupees but you never know what you may need just make sure you have a back up for everything ^_^
i had a question in this area as well. Rat on the Road mentioned that Volunteer Latin America is a good organization. I was thinking about doing some volunteering through this organization and I really wanted to find someone who had gone through them or new anything about them to make sure I was making the right decision. If any of you or anyone else has any information on VLA that would be much appreciated. Thanks very much
Volunteer Latin America is a VERY good organization. You will not be disappointed. I have not been with them but I am heavily involved in charity work, I live in Latin America, and I know they are the real deal.
Good to know. Thanks very much
I can also vouch for Volunteer Latin America. In addition to their main site they also have a blog that covers all manner of subjects concerning Central and South America. It is called the Latin Lounge
and is definitely worth a visit if interested in Latin American music, movies, etc.
Thank you , the dude, I am considering volunteering in Thailand, which will be to teach children English. I have some concerned friends that sent me to this website. Have you gone back?
I have read a lot about it and don't see that it's a scam, but if it's a profit making org. then it isn't a charity. Thanks Polly 121
Correct GVI is not a charity they employ staff and pay them correct wages instead of a minimum or less and take a small profit for themselves thus not a charity.
I have not been back yet but do plan to. my experiance was very good and i had a lot of fun. I used it as a stepping stone to give myself confidence to get out on my own without the need for a company or charity behind me.
Since coming back i have had offers from allot of the nepalese people that i met while over there to come back for a longer period of time and stay at there homes while i help out around the school and orphanage.
In the end the decision is up to you not your friend so do research on the area compare the prices and pick the one that is best for you.
I hope this help if you have any spacific questions don't hesitate to ask.
See above blog for more info about GVI
The GVI programs vary greatly but by and large they are a scam organization. They are NOT a non-profit, and their main aim is to trick do-gooders into having a fake "feel good" experience where they go come feeling like they helped the world. But in truth, they are getting very rich while the volunteers suffer in squalor, and their employees mistakenly think that getting half the normal salary is somehow noble because they're saving the world.
It's possible to go on a project and have a great experience. But it's a crap shoot, and the glowing reviews on the internet are mostly fake while all negative feedback is monitored and eliminated by the company. Seriously, they have a full time staff person whose only job is to delete negative reviews of the company. So while you might go on a GVI project and have a brilliant time, the truth is it's just a happy accident. The company itself is horrific.
I am considering a six month GVI wildlife conservation internship in South Africa. I would appreciate any comments/sharing of experiences from anyone who has done this internship. I would like to know a little about the general culture/attitude among the participants as well as the staff there as well.
i too am considering the 6 months internship in south africa. any feedback would be appreciated.
In response to: Msg #162060
If it's to do with animal conservation, read this blog first: