Marine Conservation and PADI Divemaster Internship in the Seychelles
Enter the global scuba diving industry with a professional diving qualification combined with work experience and marine conservation training.
Program Code: SCMH0227N
Volunteer in Mahe
HomeProgramsMarine Conservation and PADI Divemaster Internship in the Seychelles
Boost your professional diving or marine conservation career when you join an internship in the stunning Seychelles. Get your PADI Divemaster qualification and marine ecosystem training, then put those skills to use when you participate in vital marine research expeditions.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Online programs available
Online + Abroad
We now offer an online program so that you can make an impact from home. Complete only the online program or combine it with one of our programs abroad.
Travel to the beautiful Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean where you will train to improve your scuba diving skills while participating on our marine conservation and Padi Divemaster internship, conducting vital marine research. This internship is the perfect opportunity to enter the world of professional diving and marine conservation while living and working in a pristine environment to complete what will be a life-changing experience.
Taking your PADI Advanced, PADI Coral Reef Research Diver, and PADI Divemaster courses.
Learning how to identify fish and coral in the Indian Ocean.
Exploring different dive sites among the tropical islands of Seychelles, searching for the incredible ‘mega-fauna’ in the area, such as sharks, rays, and dolphins.Take other extra dive courses with local dive shops.
If staying 8 weeks or longer you will complete your Biological Survey Techniques training and qualification.
Developing the techniques needed to survey coral reefs.
Earn your GVI ILM Leadership Development certificate, a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).
During your first 12 weeks, you will conduct underwater surveys of fish, coral, or invertebrate species after completion of your training. You should also expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, beach cleans, marine debris surveys, environmental education sessions with the local community.
YOUR WORK PLACEMENT, THE SECOND 12 WEEKS
After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organisations in the Seychelles, or in other countries around the world where GVI operates. For you this will be at a local dive centre allowing you to complete your PADI Divemaster certification. During this time you will help with the general day-to-day operations of the centre, learning about the dive industry. This might include tasks like guiding tourists on dives, working in the office, compressing tanks, repairing dive equipment. The majority of your days will be spent diving in the crystal clear waters perfecting your diving skills, while learning to work within the diving community. This work placement is a great first step in a professional diving career. Field work positions can be paid or unpaid, range in duration from one month to one year, and availability varies. Qualification for possible GVI positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International.
After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organisations in Seychelles, or in other countries around the world where GVI operate. Over 50% of GVI staff are recruited from our alumni database. Qualification for positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International.
You will spend the majority of your time on this internship scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent before you start the internship. GVI will supply you with all the training you need to be certified up to PADI Divemaster as well as with additional diving courses.
Life On Base
Our base is located in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a 3-minute walk from the beach. The building was originally a school that has been transformed into an eco-friendly research base with classrooms for presentations, a recreation room to relax after a day of diving, giant hammocks for more relaxation, and a large grassy area with benches for eating or studying. Life on base is much like a big family and we share cooking and tidying duties on a rotation basis. Those who have completed their intensive survey and dive training, can look forward to a short boat trip to the dive site once or twice about 5 days a week, depending on the quality of weather conditions. On other days, participants conduct either marine debris surveys or environmental education sessions with the local community depending on the project needs at the time. Days start early with boat preparations, or training, and are rounded off with an evening debrief, followed by dinner and time to relax, take in the beautiful sunset, and share stories.
Participants sleep in dorm rooms of up to 10 people. Bathrooms are shared but split-sex, with showers and flush toilets. The entire building is equipped with electricity.
Sample the many flavours of Seychellois cuisine, from coconut water sipped fresh out of the fruit to green papaya salad. All food is provided by us and prepared by participants. Breakfasts include the usual eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, cereals, and fruit. Lunch and dinner varies based on the tastes of participants at the time. Common meals include curries, stir fries, pastas, pies, and salas. Many participants also buy their own snacks, like banana chips and dried salted fish.
We are based in a protected natural reserve which means that signal does not cover the entire area. There are spots with good phone cover and we have a phone on base for emergencies. For high speed connectivity, our participants travel to Victoria’s many internet cafes.
We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. The beach is very close to our accommodation so we simply walk down the water to the boats, which are available to take participants out for a dive.
Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm waters year round. Tropical rainfall is common but more frequent from January to May and October to December. Weather is warmest from September through to May, and coolest in the middle of the year, from June to August, and water temperatures reflect these changes too.
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.
Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Mahe's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
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. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. 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.
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Meet the team - Senior Field Management
Regional Director for the Seychelles and Greece
This is Chris. He is GVI’s Regional Director for both the Seychelles and Greece. He joined GVI over ten years ago, starting our as a Science Officer based in Mexico. After this he transferred to the Seychelles.
Chris has had an interesting and varied upbring. He is from the UK, heis half French, but grew up in Hong Kong. These early years of Chris’s life is what fueled his passion for travel.
Meet the team - In-Country Staff
Say hey to Katie. Katie is one of GVI’s Science Officers at the base in Mahe, Seychelles. Katie began her journey with GVI as a volunteer. She then became a Scholar and is now part of the full time staffing team.
Katies has a degree in Animal Welfare and completed a Masters in Ecology. After doing this she spent time working as an Ecological Consultant, until she found GVI.
A fun fact about Katie is she is a keen mountaineer and has climbed over 6000 meter high on a trek!
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.
Healthy corals are key to the health of our planet. They help fish populations regenerate themselves providing shelter for young fish, they assist in removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and protect living spaces near the shore from damage by waves and storms.
In 1998 a massive coral bleaching event decimated many coral reefs around the globe, including the reefs surrounding the inner granitic islands of Seychelles. Coral bleaching occurs when rising water temperatures cause the algae that live on corals to detach themselves from their hosts. Algae is the main food source for corals and helps to maintain the structure of the corals. Warm waters are the result of climate change caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Efforts to monitor the recovery of reefs in Seychelles were initiated after the 1998 event. This began with a 3 year project, named the Shoals of Capricorn, which extensively monitored the entire inner islands. The Seychelles Centre for Marine Research & Technology, SCMRT, was set up at this time to continue the work, and to aid the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, with the management of the marine parks. After the Shoals of Capricorn project the monitoring was then taken over by Reef Care International.
In addition to the high seasonal sea temperatures, the coral reefs around Seychelles, face numerous other threats such as population pressure, poaching, and unsustainable tourism, all of which are challenging to quantify without a solid, scientific basis. In order to effectively manage and conserve the reef, a continuous monitoring program is necessary to build up a comprehensive picture of the ecological health of the reef.
Coral and Fish Surveys
We established our project in Seychelles in 2004 with the aim of aiding SNPA. At over 20 sites across the North-West coast of Mahe, GVI staff and participants use the protocols of Reef Care International in order to survey the reefs noting the health of existing coral, evidence of new young coral growing on the reef, as well as fish species present and their numbers. Data on coral recovery, as well as fish abundance and diversity is passed on to the SNPA to assist with their management decisions, which might include updates to policies, expanding currently protected areas, or protecting additional areas. In addition, participants use a different coral monitoring technique, to provide data to CoralWatch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology, based in Queensland University, Australia, which aims to monitor coral bleaching and recovery events around the globe.
Commercial Marine Species Surveys
Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. In addition this also affects the wellbeing of the local community, because many rely on fish for daily sustenance, and the growth of the local economy, because seafood from Seychelles is sold to international visitors to the islands and consumers abroad. Its underwater treasures are also the reason why many visit every year, bringing capital into the country. We assist Seychelles Fishing Authority, SFA with monitoring commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber populations.
Marine Megafauna Sightings
Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like tiger sharks and manta rays, occur frequently during dives, and this information is noted and passed on to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System or OBIS Seamap, an online database designed to keep track of various larger marine species around the world.
Marine Plastic Pollution Cleanups
Ocean floor clean up dives are also regularly conducted as part of the Dive Against Debris or DAD initiative. The data about marine plastics collected is sent on to Project AWARE an organisation established to monitor the abundance and diversity of marine debris around the world.
Environmental education is also an important part of our GVI Mahe program. The main aim of this program is to get locals involved in discussions around issues affecting their marine environment.
The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goal we work on at GVI Mahe is #14, Life Below Water.
Our Partners In Mahe
GVI Mahe, Seychelles Long-term Objectives:
1. Provide a long-term and consistent collection of data, assessing the overall health and development of the reef system in Northern Mahe on behalf of the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, to be used for regional coastal marine management and international understanding of changing reef systems.
2. Increase the scientific output and awareness of the project through the publication of findings.
3. Continue to support the International School of Seychelles by providing their students with environmental education with a strong focus on marine ecosystems and their inhabitants.
4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training in environmental education and training to local communities.
5. Continue to minimise our environmental impact at Cap Ternay and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst participants and visitors.
The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.
‘The current status of coral reefs along the North West coast of Mahe, Seychelles following the 1998 mass bleaching event.’
Reef Conservation UK 13th Annual Meeting, Zoological Society of London
A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
For All GVI Participants
Introduction to GVI as a whole and the work in your specific location. Learn about the short, mid, and long-term objectives of the sustainable development projects at your base, which United Nations Development Goals they impact most directly, and which local partners we work with.
Health and Safety Training
Learn about the Emergency Action Plans in place at your base, the full Risk Assessment, and best practices for personal safety.
Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Training
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
For All Participants at Mahe
This is a global coral monitoring methodology all volunteers can get involved with. It is separate to our main study focus with Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.
Crown-of-thorns Starfish Removal
This is a species of starfish that is harmful to both humans and coral. You will learn how to remove these from the reef safely. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.
Plastic Pollution And Other Trash
Learn about the effect of waste on the ocean and what we can do about it. It is not required training but an additional presentation offered to volunteers and interns who stay for longer and have more time available.
Hazards Of The Reef
Learn which creatures pose a risk while in the water, best practices to avoid injury, and what to do if injured.
Introduction To Coral Reefs
Includes an explanation of what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, and how this ecosystem works.
Threats To The Reef
Learn what are the natural and man-made issues threatening the survival of the reefs.
Learn to identify different types of megafauna, larger sea creatures, you might see on a dive near Mahe. You will be asked to also monitor their numbers on your dives.
Coral, fish, or invertebrates workshops
A few weeks before arrival on the base, you will be assigned to monitoring either coral, fish, or invertebrates. This includes several presentations to introduce you to the specific species.
Species-specific Marine Survey Techniques
Once participants are comfortable with identifying the species on site, they will be trained on the different techniques used to monitor these species underwater.
PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) Certification
5 specialised dives are required to gain this qualification, those we offer include the Boat Dive, Underwater Navigation, Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, and Peak Performance Buoyancy. A knowledge review is also required.
PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
This is a distinctive specialty unique only to GVI, created in collaboration with PADI. It provides instruction on the different types of reef monitoring available, along with certain skills which are needed to ensure that you are comfortable using monitoring equipment such as tape measures and quadrats and that there is no damage done to the reef while you navigate around the site.
Survey-specific Buoyancy Training
Learning how to control your buoyancy to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the reef while conducting research.
Emergency Oxygen Therapy Orientation
All volunteers are taught how to provide oxygen to divers in varying states on consciousness.
Your Program Specific Training
GVI ILM Leadership Development training
This includes several presentations on leadership-related topics as well as practical applications of the topics, weekly one-on-one meetings with an assigned mentor, and a final leadership project.
Biological Survey Techniques
Learn about best practices for conducting a biological survey in any environment. This training is only offered to interns staying for 8 weeks or longer.
Earning a professional diving qualification, such as those offered by The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), is a necessary step for many aspiring marine biologists. All GVI marine conservation programs include training by certified dive instructors that allows participants to qualify for a range of PADI certifications including PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Divemaster, Instructor, and Rescue Diver. The Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course is exclusive to a Speciality exclusive to GVI programs and was developed by GVI in collaboration with PADI. Although this training counts toward a PADI Divemaster, it is provided to all participants on our marine conservation programs.
Biological Survey Techniques Certificate
For those looking to start a career in conservation or biological research in general, earning a GVI Biological Survey Techniques certificate is a great place to start. The course provides the conceptual background and practical experience needed to get your own biological surveys in the field up and running. It’s broad theoretical approach allow course participants to master skills that can be applied to any natural environment around the world. This training is only offered to interns on programs of 8 weeks or longer.
GVI’s ILM Leadership Development Certificate
GVI’s Team Leadership Course supports participants to master theoretical concepts related to team-leading and put them into practice. The course includes a series of workshops, reflection sessions, and assignments as well as one-on-one sessions with a designated mentor. The course is recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), a research body consisting of over 30,000 leadership professionals. This course is included in program fees of all GVI internships. Participants who complete the course will receive a 12-month membership ILM which provides access to their knowledge bank of leadership development resources. Interns will also receive a Development Course certificate from ILM recognising their successful completion of the Team Leadership Course.
A basic first aid qualification is a requirement for many professions including professional diving, primary school teachers, and occupational therapists. A first aid course certified by Emergency First Response (EFR) is included in several of our programs. The course is one of the most highly reputed first aid training programs available around the world. The medical best practices and teaching methodologies of the organization are backed up by nearly five decades of experience. The course helps participants master skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), and administer emergency oxygen for infants, children, and adults.
What’s theory without the practical experience to back it up? We know employers are looking for highly experienced candidates, which is why we offer work placements on all our long term internship programs. All GVI internships feature a 12 week training phase, but six month interns go on to complete a placement either on base as a temporary GVI staff member or at one of our partner organisations. Some of the partner organisations our interns have worked at in the past include local nature reserves, conservation research organisations, dive centres, and primary schools. Below we've listed several of the organisations where interns have recently completed the work placement portion of their GVI internship program.
Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.
Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.
Victoria is only an hour from our base in Baie Ternay Marine National Park. Learn more about the particular blend of cultures that have shaped the Seychelles over the centuries. Visit Hindu temples built adjacent to Catholic cathedrals and sample dishes with both French and Indian influences.
Inner Island Hopping
From the capital of Victoria, you can catch a ferry to many of the other inner islands like Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity, and Sister. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai National Park, a verdant palm forest thought by early explorers to be the original ‘Garden of Eden’ and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Praslin, and nearby Curieuse, are some of the only Seychellois islands home to the famous Coco de Mer palm whose seed is the largest known on earth. The island is home to the endangered Seychelles Black Parrot as well as many other endemic plants and animals. While in Praslin you could even visit our island and coastal conservation base on nearby Curieuse island. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, with several quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent.
Hiking and Climbing
The inner islands of the Seychelles, where you will be staying while on this project, are made of granite which means there are many opportunities for climbing available. Visit Morne Seychellois National Park to hike or climb the highest peak in the Seychelles.
Other than diving there are many other water sports in the Seychelles, like surfing, kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, and of course simply swimming in the ocean or relaxing on the beach.
Beau Vallon Bay
The most popular tourist spot on the main island of the Seychelles, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach lined with shops and restaurants.
Cap Matoopa Hike
Cap Matoopa is the name of the highest point next to our base, and offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay bay. Trek the jungle encrusted granite climb to the top to be rewarded with a magical Indian Ocean vista like no other.
The dives we conduct on the project have a strict research focus. However there are plenty of opportunities to go for a recreational dive in your free time.
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 your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your 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.
Baie Ternay National Marine Park
Our marine research base is located in the secluded Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a protected coastal reserve, about an hour’s drive from the capital of Victoria and the Seychelles International Airport. The beautiful bay area consists of coastal habitats including mangroves wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Among the mangroves you will find species of fish, crab, and birds found exclusively in the Seychelles. Venture further into the water and spy green and hawksbill turtles snacking on seagrass. Deeper in, corals reefs start to span the ocean floor. The dazzling diversity of this underwater garden will surprise you. Here you can also spot emperor angelfish, butterflyfish, octopus, white-tip reef sharks and manta rays. You might even be lucky enough to spot one of the whale sharks who visit the islands for a short time every year.
GVI’s marine conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the main island of Mahe, the largest granitic island in the Seychelles, surrounded by coral reef, granite drop offs and white sandy beaches. The island rises up to forest-covered mountainous terrain with steep winding roads throughout the island. Turquoise-blue waters house expansive fringing reefs providing habitats to a staggering variety of fish and marine invertebrates. The steep shelf surrounding the islands mean that along with the high diversity of reef fish, oceanic species such as tuna and sailfish are common just offshore. It is home to the capital of the Seychelles, Victoria. Despite being the most populous island in the Seychelles, it is has very few inhabitants compared to most of the urban areas international visitors are use to, and Mahe’s natural habitat is very well-preserved.
The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the East Coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. Islands located near the center of the group are made of granite and researchers believe that this means they use to form part of the Indian subcontinent. The granite islands attracted corals to their shallower waters and most of the outer islands of the Seychelles are based on coral or sand. The islands are famous for their biodiversity and are home to literally thousands of land and underwater species. The waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for coral conservation efforts making the Seychelles a sought-after diving destination.
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.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
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.
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.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, 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.
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.
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, 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 and high participant ratios. 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.
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.
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.
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. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
24-hour emergency desk
24-hour in-country support
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
Certification and summary of training and experience received
Community work workshop
Confidential professional reference
Coral reef ecology
Diving compressor training workshop
First Aid & CPR training and certification
Leading biological surveys course
Long term experienced staff
Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
National Park fees and permits
PADI Advanced Open Water
PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Specialty
PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Dive Master certifications (excluding PADI professional fees)
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
Teamwork and leadership experience
Transfer to base location
Use of O2 equipment workshop
Weekly evaulation with your mentor
Work placement - if successful during the first 12 weeks of the internship
What's Not Included
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
Food during the placement portion of your internship
Internal transport to placements
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
PADI Open Water
Personal dive kit, e.g. mask, fins, wetsuit, timer etc.