Do you have questions? Do you want to join a GVI program, but you’re not sure which one is the right fit for you? Or maybe you’re wondering what the accommodation will be like or how much it costs to join a program.
Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please feel free to get in touch. Our team is here to answer any questions you have about our programs.
What does my program fee cover?
Your program fee will cover your pre-departure support and materials, food, accommodation, GVI experiences, training and orientation, long-term GVI field staff, 24-hour in-country support, and project equipment and materials. Not to mention the unforgettable life-changing experiences!
I can't seem to decide which project I would like to join, can I chat with someone to get more information?
Absolutely! Our team of enrolment managers are here to answer any and every question you have about our programs. Send us your questions via our enquiry form or live chat, and one of our enrolment managers will reach out to you.
Do I need any experience or qualifications?
No, our trained field team will provide you with all the training you need when you join your project. Some of our diving programs require participants to be PADI Open Water certified prior to joining, please contact your enrolment manager for more information.
Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit to join our projects and in fact, our oldest participant to date was 80! Our projects do have a minimum age of 18, with the exception of our under 18 projects that are specifically designed for 15-17 year olds and our family programs for 14+ when accompanied by a guardian.
How can I apply for a scholarship or financial aid?
We have a collated list of external bursaries on offer by universities and government organisations if you are a citizen of the United Kingdom and a variety of scholarships. We also offer our own dedicated fundraising platform where participants often raise the funds necessary to join one of our programs. However, unfortunately, financial aid is not available through GVI.
I would like to participate in a project in my home country; do I still need to pay?
GVI has a National Scholarship Program for the countries we work in. Local nationals can join GVI projects and receive training at little to no cost. Our National Scholarship Program is very competitive and interested candidates will need to submit information outlining their suitability to be considered for the program. More information can be found here.
I am not from the UK. Can I still apply?
Yes. We accept participants from around the world. GVI field staff are fully trained to advise on any special visa and travel requirements.
How far in advance should I book?
Many participants book months ahead of their program start date, especially for popular programs and busy seasons. However, we do also get participants who book much closer to their program’s start date.
Can I come with friends or as a couple?
Yes. Couples, families and friends are welcome. Please note that we cannot always guarantee private accommodation.
Is there a selection process?
Yes, a completed application form is required for all programs. This is essential for your safety and enjoyment as well as the project’s success. You will receive a call to discuss your eligibility and motivation for the program you have applied for from one of our dedicated enrolment managers.
Can I travel before/after?
Yes, you can!* Many participants arrive early to start exploring or join a GVI program halfway through a longer trip around the world. A GVI program offers participants the chance to slowly acclimatise before you head off in a new country, as well as introducing you to a large group of potential travel companions. We are happy to assist post program travellers with insurance policy alterations.
*Please note that due to immigration regulations, in some locations it is not possible to travel before or after your GVI program.
How do I know you are reputable?
GVI is one of the most well respected international sustainable development organisations. Our programs have been featured in various international newspapers and magazines, including The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Geographical magazine, BBC Wildlife magazine and various international television programs including a six-part series on the Sky Travel channel and a feature on the BBC Holiday program. We work with some of the most prominent organisations in the field including Panthera, PADI, Coral Watch, The Endangered Wildlife Trust and the South African National Parks. Since 1997, we have sent more than 3,000 participants away each year. You can also meet us and our network of alumni at any event we attend throughout the UK or one of our online events.
How much does it cost?
View the individual program pages for specific information on dates, fees and what is included.
Are there any extra costs?
This is dependent upon your chosen program. Volunteer programs and internships include all your food, accommodation, training, GVI experiences, project equipment and global support unless stated otherwise (see your specific program page for more detailed information).
GVI programs do not include flights, insurance, visa costs or spending money.
How can I pay?
We have three payment plan options. Please visit our payment plans page for more details.
Can I fundraise?
Yes, you can raise all the money for your program! Take a look at our fundraising page for more details.
Where does my money go?
Your program fees are used to fund high quality, ethical and sustainable conservation and community development projects worldwide.
Here is a breakdown of what your program fee goes towards:
40%: Local projects and activities
27%: Accommodation, meals and transport
19%: In-country staff
6%: Pre-departure support
3% Safety, insurance and crisis training
Can you arrange my flights?
No, we recommend consulting the various flight comparison and airline web pages to get the best possible flight price to your chosen GVI program destination.
Do I need insurance?
Absolutely, this is an essential part of joining any of our programs. You will not be allowed to join unless you have fully comprehensive insurance. Your enrolment manager will speak to you about the available options.
Do I need a visa?
This depends on your country of origin and the location of your program. Your support coordinator will discuss the details with you.
Will I be met at the airport?
On most programs you will be met by a GVI representative at the airport if you arrive on the designated pick up dates. Your support coordinator will discuss the details of your arrival logistics.
What support and guidance can I expect?
The very best! We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and network of knowledgeable staff and representatives. On our programs, you will be working directly alongside full-time GVI staff with the experience and skills to make your experience fun and fulfilling. Our partner projects are chosen for their commitment to the projects and to you as a participant. We provide you with regular updates before departure and are always available via phone or email throughout and after your trip.
What is the accommodation like?
Accommodation will often, though not always, be more basic than what you would expect on a holiday or guided tour and is often shared with your fellow participants. For details contact us via our enquiry form.
What is the food like?
The food will be nutritious and healthy throughout your stay. Most locations will serve vegetarian meals, utilising locally sourced produce.
What happens if I have special dietary requirements?
Most of our locations can provide for special dietary requirements. However, if you have any specific concerns we would encourage you to contact us via our enquiry form.
Do I need to be physically fit?
Most locations require a moderate level of fitness, especially if you want to get the full amount out of your time there. If high levels of fitness are required, this is highlighted on the program page.
Will I have any free time?
Yes. We try to allow for participants to have weekends off to explore the surrounding areas.
How does GVI make sure I am safe while I am on base?
The health and safety of all GVI participants is very important. In view of this, GVI has compiled strict systems and procedures, including the presence of long-term staff on the ground who work closely with local partners to ensure they are up to date with local developments. We periodically review risk assessments for each location and project. We also have emergency action plans in place for a variety of scenarios, protocols for incident and near miss reporting, and weekly reporting to senior GVI managers to ensure we are always up to date with local and regional developments. All our participants and staff receive a full orientation and have access to a 24-hour emergency support system, including senior experienced staff on standby both in-country and regionally in case of any incident or concern. Participants always have permission to decline to participate if they feel unsafe.
What happens if there is an emergency?
GVI staff and field representatives are fully trained to deal with any type of emergency and all our projects are linked with GVI staff 24-hours a day. In case of an emergency we link up with field members to arrange local medical treatment or air evacuation.
Are there any medical restrictions?
All participants will need to sign off on any disclosed medical conditions from a qualified GP/doctor. Admission to your chosen program is subject to consideration of all medical conditions so we can ensure the safety of all participants. Marine projects may require a medical assessment as well. Exclusion from one option for medical reasons does not necessarily prevent participation from all of our programs. Our enrolment managers will be happy to help you find the most suitable program.
Can I get a job with GVI?
Yes, we have many vacancies around the world. Please visit GVI Careers Abroad for all current job listings.