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Program Details
30 Weeks From £ 10,690
Code: MXPM0436C

PADI Instructor Internship

A comprehensive, well-rounded training program, taking a PADI Open Water diver to being a highly qualified and specialised PADI instructor with our extensive marine conservation expedition.


Program Information

Ideal for PADI Open Water divers and Divemasters who dream of becoming highly qualified and specialised PADI instructors, with extensive marine conservation training. PADI Instructors make for more versatile employees than Divemasters, so if you're planning on choosing it as a career path, this customised, professional programme focused on marine conservation and its best practices is perfect for you. Selected interns will be given the opportunity to return to our marine conservation expedition base as PADI Open Water Instructors!

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Welcome to our flagship program.

Our flagship program includes marine conservation training, Divemaster training and a dive shop placement, preparing you for our tailor made Instructor Development Course (IDC) and Master Scuba Diver Trainer course (MSDT).

We give you world-class professional-level training that is transferable to any dive-industry application, distinctively unique as our training is environmentally focused, with extensive conservation understanding and training. In 30 weeks, you will be qualified as a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, with the training and ability to work and teach around the world, with specific diving, marine conservation, biology and work experience.



This is a one-of-a-kind program, facilitating access to an industry where conservation knowledge and understanding will set you apart from and above the rest.

Important: if you are already PADI Divemaster qualified, and/or have extensive marine conservation training already, please do speak to us about tailoring this program for you. Options are available to complete the program without these elements.

Your 30 weeks will consist of the following

Marine Conservation Training – 12 weeks

PADI Divemaster Course (Internship & Placement) – 12 weeks

IDC & MSDT Course – 6 weeks

Why an IDC & MSDT?

With very few exceptions, the main business of any dive centre is training, and given that only Instructors can conduct most PADI programs, the hiring standard at most dive centres is Instructors, rather than Divemasters. They make much more versatile employees and our programs will turn you into a very well rounded dive professional ready to work in this demanding industry. The addition of the MSDT preparation program adds to your versatility as an instructor, as you will be able to offer additional, sought after speciality courses to your customers. The PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating sets you apart as a dive instructor who takes continuing education seriously and is committed to teaching a variety of courses.

Marine Conservation Focus

Our PADI IDC & MSDT course is unique as it focuses and builds on the diving, conservation, biology and work experience that you will have learnt on our Divemaster Internship and marine training program. Complemented with a purpose-built, instructor-level training program heavily focused on conservation best practices, it will make you uniquely qualified to enter the scuba industry to work for operations located within Marine Protected Areas or otherwise.

We are currently the only organisation which implements a program like this, giving you unparalleled training, knowledge and experience which cannot be replicated elsewhere. You will work with members of our team who are marine biologists and/or have considerable training in the field, and have experience in research diving and working as Marine Park guides, so you will have fantastic opportunities to build on the conservation skills learnt on your expedition.

Scuba Diving Requirements

Before you start the internship, you will need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent.

Program Details

Life on the Internship

Marine Conservation Training

You will live and work for 12 weeks with a GVI research team and undergo an extensive training program, taking your diving skills through to advanced level and gaining an intimate knowledge of the marine ecosystem. This knowledge will be put into practice while you work as part of a team to compile crucial research on coral reef and fish species. Whilst undergoing this training, you will receive coaching to develop personal and professional skills, whilst helping staff out on base with additional duties, and receiving personal feedback as part of the internship.

Working days can be long and start early. Diving days could begin by a short journey to one of the research dive sites. Other days may involve training on base, lab work, community days, beach clean-ups, among other activities. Depending on weather conditions and logistics, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after completion of your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, lab work, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education sessions, English teaching or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. Days are rounded off with evening debriefs, followed by dinner and time to relax, take in a beautiful sunset and share stories.

You will have the opportunity to experience the best of two worlds, as the first part of your internship happens in a tourist area with all the basic facilities, an array of shops and restaurants around, for the dive shop experience you will go South to a remote fishing village with pristine ecosystems, part of another Marine Protected Park called Xcalak. The skills gained experiencing the two locations are one of its kind.

You will be assessed each week in order to measure your progress, and as long as you are successful on your training phase you will then proceed to complete your PADI Divemaster course during your 12-week work placement with XTC Dive Centre.

During the above, you will earn recognised qualifications including:

  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Specialty

  • PADI Advanced Open Water

  • PADI Rescue Diver certifications

  • First Aid & CPR training (Emergency First Response Certification)

  • Biological Survey Techniques


PADI Divemaster Course and Placement

After completing your 12-week phase on the GVI base, you will join the team at XTC Dive Center to complete your professional training internship. During your 12-week internship, you will not only learn the specifics of dive guiding and supervising both certified and non-certified divers, you will also learn dive theory, the legal and ethical requirements of working in the dive industry and demonstrate your in-water skills in a variety of situations and circumstances.

This training will take you above and beyond PADI’s basic requirements to be certified as a Divemaster and you will gain real-world experiences by working with customers, rather than just role-playing and learn about the day-to-day running of a dive center. There is much more to being a dive professional than just going diving and you will gain exposure and training in dive equipment maintenance, compressor maintenance and tank filling, customer service, logistical and administrative processes. Combining this with your experiences from your Marine Conservation Expedition will fully prepare you for working in the dive industry whilst helping to preserve our fragile marine ecosystem.

This opportunity will provide comprehensive practical experience of working in the dive industry as you become an integral part of the XTC staff and you will work with the team on a daily basis.




How this program makes a difference:

Our work on the marine conservation training phase aims to assess the health of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system. We focus on data collection for Fish and Coral species. Our goal is to increase local and global awareness of marine issues and provide data used for policy-making decisions.

Over time and with the contributions of a small number of volunteers, our partners have been able to amass a large database on the condition, health and changes of this section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, as well as successfully produce a vast amount of coral fragments for reef reproduction. With all our helpful and hardworking participants we can help our partners move forward providing great support to their work these other areas of the reef.

Project Details

The Instructor Development Course

The Instructor Development Course (IDC) is the next step once you have completed your Divemaster Internship. During the IDC, you will build on the leadership, general dive skills and theory that you learnt during your Divemaster training and develop your teaching skills in line with PADI’s educational system. You will learn how to teach both in the classroom and in the water (confined and open water) and explore different techniques to help your students overcome any potential problems they may have. You will conduct numerous practical sessions in these three areas on which you will be evaluated using classmates as your students. The program also focuses on the requirements and standards for teaching the courses that you, as a new instructor, are authorized to teach; Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster and three environmentally focused specialties. Through PADI’s standardized teaching methods, you will be able to transfer your skills into any PADI training facility worldwide with minimal adaptations.

Our purpose-built, instructor-level training program heavily focuses on conservation best practices and makes you uniquely qualified to teach in environments that would benefit from diving programs being run in an environmentally conscious way, regardless of whether they are Marine Protected Areas or not. This means that, despite the fact that the training is environmentally focused, you will receive world-class professional-level training that is transferable to any dive-industry application, with extensive conservation understanding and training.

Instructor Examination (IE)

Upon successful completion of the IDC, an examiner from PADI will come and conduct their final impartial evaluation, through the IE. This is for PADI to independently verify that you have the skill level and professionalism that PADI expects from its instructors. We are privileged that PADI generally comes to us to conduct on-site IE’s which is logistically beneficial but is also advantageous to you as you will be familiar with the facilities and dive sites.




Master Scuba Diver Trainer

Once PADI verifies your skills and you have successfully completed the IE, we conduct the Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) preparation program. This is where our program stands out.

At the IDC stage, as much as we are able to and do go the extra mile to deliver a world-class program, the course is to a large degree, standardised. It is during the MSDT preparation program where we deliver a lot of additional training. You will go through 5 Specialty Instructor Courses (3 of which are standardized, and 2 which are distinctive to our conservation-focused qualification).

Your 2 specialist qualifications will be Coral Reef Research Diver Instructor, a qualification uniquely designed by GVI and XTC and Marine Conservation Specialist Instructor, which focuses on the best practices of delivering courses and guiding dives in protected areas whilst minimizing a divers impact and increasing their awareness of marine issues.The remaining 3 specialties that we recommend are Enriched Air, , Digital Underwater Photography and Gas Blender, however at XTC Dive Center, the instructors have a wealth of experience teaching the full range of PADI specialties, so you do have flexibility in choosing your preferred specialty areas.

The MSDT rating is the second level of PADI’s Instructor ratings and it denotes instructors who have undergone additional training and have a certain level of experience teaching. . Many dive centers choose to employ MSDT’s over Instructors because of their additional skills and knowledge, that make them stand out from the crowd by being able to teach popular PADI programs that customers ask for. To actually be certified as an MSDT, will not only need to have 5 specialty instructor ratings you will get through XTC’s preparation program, but also have certified 25 students. Please do note that this program does not actually certify you at that level, as you will need to get additional teaching experience, but it gives you the 5 speciality instructor ratings necessary. Selected interns will be given the opportunity to return to our marine conservation expedition base as PADI Open Water Instructors, giving you the opportunity to gain the 25 certifications required for the MSDT certification.




Going The Extra Mile

PADI requires that you get certain pass marks in each area, however, not only do we provide you with more practice sessions than PADI require, we also train at a higher level than required by PADI, ensuring that you get as much exposure as possible to the potential problems that you may come up against with real students, when working in the industry.

The program also furthers your education on the legal requirements for you as an instructor, your obligations and responsibilities to your students, tips on marketing courses and also looks at the business of scuba diving. PADI’s minimum training time for an IDC is 7 days, however, as is the case with our Divemaster training, we go well above and beyond PADI’s basic requirements, to guarantee that your training is the best it can possibly be, and you are sufficiently prepared for any eventuality.

You are not trained to be just any instructor – we want you to be the best instructor you can be, with the skills necessary to feel comfortable teaching whilst being an environmental ambassador.

Job Placement Assistance

Taking part in our IDC/MSDT Internship includes unrivalled career development guidance. Our extensive experience in the industry, as well as an extensive network of contacts around the world will all be shared with you, through our formalised career. Resume/CV workshop and job placement assistance.

Selected interns will be offered the opportunity to return to our marine conservation expedition base, as part of our staff team. This will help you gained further experience and our knowledgeable in-house instructors will provide invaluable advise and tips during your initial stages as an official PADI instructors. Not only that but you will able to reach the needed minimum number of student certifications so you can fulfill your MSDT qualification. Over 50% of our team are ex volunteers and interns, so there is always a chance of going straight from your instructor training into a job with us!

Most importantly, with your unique marine conservation knowledge and experience, you stand out. We are the only organisation that can provide you with such training; therefore you are part of a very select few candidates, making you invaluable to the SCUBA industry. We will do all we can help you get your career off to a good start.

We’ve been there, done it, and have succeeded. You can too.

Puerto Morelos's short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Puerto Morelos:

  1. Provide data to our partners on the overall health of the reef, to be used for coastal management, and to have a better understanding of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system.

  2. Raise environmental awareness within the area and local community.

  3. Minimise the environmental impact that visitors and other people have within the area.

  4. Increase in-country capacity within our partners and community members in the area.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • 5 Specialty manuals
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • CONANP presentation and workshop
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Community work workshop
  • Confidential professional reference
  • Coral reef ecology
  • EFR Instructor Application fee
  • EFRI
  • EFRI Manual
  • Final evaluation
  • First Aid & CPR training and certification
  • IDC
  • IDC Crew Pack
  • IDC preparatory training
  • Instructor Application fee
  • Instructor Examination fee
  • Introduction to teaching techniques
  • Leading biological surveys course
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • MSDT 5 specialities
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Divemaster Application fees
  • PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Dive Master certifications
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy Workshop
  • Project Aware Presentation and Workshop
  • Real hands on experience and learn about the challenges that marine conservation has in this region
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Shark Awareness Workshop
  • Specialty Instructor fees
  • Teamwork and leadership experience
  • Transfer to base location
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Weekly evaluation with your mentor
  • Welcome meeting
  • Work placement (if successful on training period)

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Meals (during work placement & IDC/MSDT training)
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • PADI Open Water
  • Personal dive kit, e.g. mask, fins, wetsuit, time, DSMB and reel, slate, etc.
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Some equipment is not included
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — Traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. Our minimum staff to participant ratio is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


Country Exploration

Our long-term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Yucatan field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Mexico!

Optional Side Trips

As a large and vibrant country, Mexico can seem daunting at first, but here are a few ideas to get you going in the Yucatan Peninsula on your weekends off:

In this region, you are spoilt for choice in the number of opportunities to try out different dive sites away from the expedition. You could start with a dive or snorkel within the unique cenotes (underwater river systems); dive Cozumel, where the wall dives along the island have been voted as part of the world’s best top ten diving locations; or, for a full weekend, try Isla Holbox, a small island off the north of the peninsula. It’s a beautiful, tranquil place, great for a quiet weekend away. Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) migrate up near the island from June to September and snorkelling alongside them while they filter feed is a truly breathtaking experience!

Alternatively, if you are looking for a break from the water, make your way to Río Lagartos where flamingos flock and river crocodiles abound; visit Bacalar – known as the lake of seven colours due to the various shades of blue; or visit prime breeding areas for the hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtle (May to October).

Immerse yourself in the surviving Mayan culture of the area and visit remote and untouched Mayan archaeological sites, such as the famous and easily accessible sites of Tulum and Coba, or visit the beautiful and majestic Mayan ruins of Palenque in the Chiapas region. And finally, the colonial city of Mérida is the peninsula’s cultural capital and the local artisans of Izamal will be sure to offer you some souvenirs of your trip.

Further Travel Opportunities

If you want to travel throughout the rest of Mexico either before or after your time with us, there is more than your fair share of interesting places that are well worth a visit. Take a trip to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and experience lowland tropical forests and have an opportunity to try and seek out threatened species; the island of Espíritu Santo offers kayaking with whale sharks (seasonal) and sea lions; if you are keen to try surfing, Puerto Escondido is rated as one of the world’s best surfing spots.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city to visit on the Pacific Coast, a colonial city with some of the nation’s most magnificent architecture, also offering several archaeological sites including the Zapotec ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further south, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is definitely worth a visit. Colourful buildings, historical architecture, and impressive nearby ecological sites with fun activities will easily keep you entertained for days.

Neighbouring countries to the south, Guatemala and Belize offer something different yet again. In Belize, island hop all the way down the coast, stopping to dive the Blue Hole, another world-class dive site. Guatemala can be reached easily by bus and offers everything from the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Antigua, to volcanoes, the beautiful Lake Atitlan, adventure sports such as mountain biking, and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tikal.

If you do decide to spend time travelling through Central America, make sure to allow yourself time to take it all in, because this region will pull you in and not let go!

The Team

Daniela Pineda

Base Manager
Meet Daniela, our awesome base manager in Playa del Carmen. She is passionate about working with kids and being involved in education in Mexico, her home country. Daniela has a degree in psychology and obtained her Masters  in psychoanalysis, which facilitates her with the interaction with kids and volunteers.

Her volunteering journey started out when she joined GVI on our National Scholarship Program and now she has returned to the field to continue making a difference. Daniela worked as a therapist with adolescents with addictions and as a teacher of a special need school and being with other human beings is her speciality. She has travelled to many places abroad and she also used to be a professional dancer for a few years of her life to pay for some of her studies. "I trained in a circus, from acrobats to juggling, I wasn’t really good but the family you get to know there is amazing."

Olivia Rodriguez​

Community Officer
Meet Olivia, our fantastic community officer in Playa, Mexico. She was a volunteer in a Animal Shelter in San Antonio, Texas. She then started working  as a Intake Coordinator for the City.

She loves traveling, learning new things, being on the move and meeting new people. Her favourite part about working with GVI is helping others, making a difference in the world, meeting new people and the opportunity of traveling to another countries.

Friso Dekker

Science Officer
Meet Friso, our sensational science officer in Pez Maya, Mexico. He has backpacked through Australia for 6 months, travelled in South-East Asia for a total of about 3 months. He's spent 5 months on Curacao, Dutch Antilles, and 3 months in Indonesia (Sulawesi and Borneo) for research projects. He Lived and studied in New-Zealand for 6 months and spent another month as a volunteer in a resort in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

He has a Bachelor degree in Earth Sciences and Master degree Limnology & Oceanography at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a PADI Divemaster and thus member of PADI Pro’s.

What he loves the most about GVI is firstly, the people, who he works with at the moment and secondly, practically living on a beach and having an amazing coral reef right on his doorstep is pretty great!

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Kopa Mchasa

Community Field Staff
Meet Kopa, our Kenyan born Community Field Staff Member in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This ambitious African studied Community Health and Development at the African Institute of Research and Development studies. It was GVI’s objectives and sustainable projects that first attracted him to join our team.

Kopa joined GVI in 2012 as a valued staff member in Kenya. Here he put his skills and knowledge to work and managed to upgrade a new health project to a standing one. Kopa, or Doctor as his friends call him, also worked with PSI (Population Services International) for 15 months and with the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health for 4 years.

Kopa is crazy about Zanzibar’s golden beaches and apparently he is quite the multitasker - he can make sounds from his mouth and whistle at the same time! Living in Mexico, he is having the time of his life, meeting different people with different cultures from all parts of the world!

Kerry Passingham

Dive Officer
Meet Kerry, our IDC Staff Instructor in Pez Maya, Mexico! Kerry's diving adventure began in 2008 in Coffs Harbour, Australia, where she managed a hostel with an onsite dive shop. After attempting a 9-5 lifestyle, Kerry decided the ocean was calling and joined our Divemaster Internship in Mexico. She completed her work placement at XTC, which led onto her completing her Instructor Development Course as well!

Kerry went on to use her qualifications to work as an instructor at a PADI Career Development Centre in Vietnam, where she progressed to an IDC Staff Instructor whilst managing two of their dive centres.

Since leaving GVI it was always Kerry's aim to return as a staff member and we are thrilled to have her back! "I am excited to see many new Divemasters and Instructors as a result of these internships and see them on the road towards an exciting and rewarding career path."

James Clark

Base Manager
Meet James, a certified Dive master, EFR Instructor and a graduate in Environmental Science. James is our base manager and a very skilled boat driver, teacher and maintenance guy at our Marine conservation program in Pez Maya, Mexico!

Before joining GVI James worked with various NGO’s around the World and has even lived in Madagascar! “It’s such a massive country! There’s so much to do and see and the biodiversity on land and in the ocean is incredible!”

What’s James’s favourite aspect of his job? “The point when volunteers have been here for a few weeks and start to remember the names of things in the sea, seeing that extra bit of excitement when they see something and can name it – that’s when I know I’m doing my job right.” The most interesting discovery up to date was when he found an anchor which they have lost a few months previously, with a fairly large octopus attached underneath.

Random fact about our James, he can sing All The Countries of The World by the Animaniacs! Make sure you request a rendition when you visit our Pez Maya hub!

Alejandro Vazquez

Logistics Coordinator
Meet Alejandro, our logistics coordinator in Playa del Carmen. He started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2007. With a degree in Tourism Management and a passionate commitment to improving our world, we just had to keep him!

Alejandro’s favourite aspect of his job? Our Partners. “The opportunity to partner with organisations that share our goal to make the world better is amazing, also seeing the way volunteers connect with the children and the huge effect they have on their development, even over a short period of time. They’re a great resource for the children’s education.”

When he’s not working, Alejandro likes to explore the local area, visiting the Mayan ruins and national parks, or relaxing at the beach.

Lluvia Soto

Country Director
Meet Lluvia, our Country Director for Mexico. With a history in environmental education, she initially joined GVI as a participant in our National Scholarship Programme, and we just couldn’t let her go!

Lluvia is a qualified Dive Master and Biologist, who she spent 3 years working as field staff and base manager in Pez Maya.

Her favourite experience since she joined GVI? Diving with dolphins. ”We were on our way to a dive site when a pod of dolphins came along and started jumping in and out of the water alongside the boat. They stayed with us for the entyre dive, getting really close and were looking at us. It was of course, my best dive ever!”

What does Lluvia think volunteers contribute to the projects? “The work that the volunteers do is extremely important; if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to run the projects. The different activities they do like collecting data on the reef, delivering environmental education lessons, helping out running the toy libraries, all help our partners to achieve their goals.”

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of the GVI experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your GVI program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


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  • 2019

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.