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Short-Term Community Development Internship in Costa Rica

Travel to the coastal town of Cimarrones, Costa Rica to complete a community development internship.

Program Code: CRCI0908N

Program Information

Kickstart your international development career while contributing to a range of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, UN SDGs, in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. GVI’s sustainable development projects here center around teaching English to children, teenagers, women, and other adults to assist with contributing to UN SDG, #4, Quality Education.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Research Internship

 

Get out of the library or the lab. Visit a remote research base to get the data needed to complete your thesis or research paper.


Learn more 

Career Internship

 

Want to land a job working for a purpose-driven organisation or kickstart your career in an impact-focused field?


Learn more 

Core Internship

 

Travel with ambition and purpose. Make a positive environmental or social impact and gain experience in an impact-focused role or sector.


Learn more 

Overview

Cimarrones, located just under three hours from the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, is a traditional laid-back Costa Rican town. The town is an attractive location for international tourists and many locals are employed in the tourism industry in the surrounding volcano national parks of Turrialba and Irazú. However, they need to be able to fulfill the English language skills required by local employers.

Interns have the chance to assist with English activities, including childhood development projects, individual English classes for students who require additional academic assistance. You will also be contributing to UN SDG, #5, Gender Equality, by assisting us with setting up our women’s empowerment program in the area. The program focuses on supporting English language education for women as well as assisting with entrepreneurial facilitation.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kickstart your career in international development.

  • Contribute to UN SDG #5, Gender Equality.

  • Improve your English teaching skills and develop soft skills like teamwork and leadership.

  • Immerse yourself in the pura vida lifestyle of Costa Rica.

  • Explore Irazú Volcano National Park by hiking to view the crater.  

  • Learn Spanish.

Program Details

Further Program Details

In keeping with the global sustainable development best practices, our projects are locally led. This means that details of the projects change over time as the needs of the community change. Daily activities are dependent on the most critical needs identified by the community at the time. You might get involved in maintaining community gardens, renovating educational facilities, or organising community events.

Throughout your internship, you will be developing your intercultural competency, not only by learning Spanish and practising your Spanish communication skills with the local community in Cimarrones, but you will also be sharing your work and living space with GVI staff, volunteers, and interns from around the world.

Weekdays will be busy, but in the evening and on the weekends you will have a chance to further immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture, by learning how to cook a traditional Costa Rican dish of Gallo Pinto or how to dance the salsa, or explore the local landscape, by hiking, mountain biking ziplining through Irazú Volcano National Park.

*Costa Rica is a primarily Catholic country which means that events like Easter and Christmas are celebrated with gusto. As is to be expected, school attendance tends to decrease during these times. However, we often run educational summer programs or provide one-to-one tutor during the holidays. Community infrastructure development like renovating community centers and setting up communal gardens also continues during this time. In addition, participants have the opportunity to learn more about Costa Rican customs by participating in the festivities.

*A basic level of Spanish is required to effectively communicate with children, women, and other local community members. Speak to your Enrolment Manager about adding group or one-on-one Spanish lessons to your program cost to support you in your Spanish language learning while on the project. Unless they are already fluent, Interns will be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of Spanish from the start of their internship. We also strongly recommend that you start learning early in order to get the most out of your interning experience.
 
Flexibility
Change your location and dates free of charge.
 
Payment Plans
Flexible payment plans available.
 
Cancellation Waiver
Cancel anytime and receive a full refund minus your deposit.

Select a Start Date

  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Life On Base

Learn to live the pura vida or ‘simple life’ in the central Costa Rican community of Cimarrones. Cimarrones is a small, rural town at the border of Cartago and Limón provinces, nestled in a valley between two national parks with beautiful mountains. The base is approximately three hours driving from San Jose International Airport, in an area of sprawling sugar cane fields, coffee plantations and rich farmlands. Here you’ll share a communal Costa Rican style house in Cimarrones, including meals and tidying duties with like-minded individuals from all over the world who are there for the same reason you are — to learn about the local culture and help out where they can. On the weekends, explore the Irazú Volcano National Park, visit the largest archaeological site in the country at Guayabo National Monument, or share stories with other participants while relaxing at your accommodation.

Base Tour

Highlights

 
24-hour in-country support
 
Accommodation
 
Cultural activities
 
Forest side living
 
Meals while on project
 
Transportation
 
ACCOMMODATION

Participants share bedroom and bathroom facilities.

 
TRANSPORTATION

We are located at walking distance from most of our project sites in Cimarrones, with the exception of the local high school which is a short drive away, and for which transport will be provided by GVI staff on the days we work there.

 
COMMUNICATION

You will have daily access to long-distance communications whilst on the project, but bear in mind that the connection may not be as reliable as yours back home.

 
MEALS

Lunches are served on the community project and are a great choice for those looking to experience Costa Rican cuisine like Gallo Pinto, a rice and bean mix, or fried plantains. Breakfast is self catered and dinners are cooked together with GVI staff and other participants. Breakfasts include cereal, toast, and lots of tropical fresh fruit, while dinner could be anything from your own attempt at Gallo Pinto to a stir fry or pasta bake.

 
CLIMATE

As Cimarrones is located in a mountainous region of central Costa Rica, it enjoys fairly consistent temperatures, usually between 16°-25° year round. It will be cool in the mornings and evenings so please pack accordingly and prepare to shed layers as the day gets warmer. The warmest month is March, while September is the most temperate. Rainy season starts in May and ends in November. There is less rainfall from December to April.

 

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.


The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

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.


Live Updates

Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Cimarrones'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.
 
GVICostaRicaCimarrones

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. 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.


 
 
 

COVID-19 Safety

Please note that the above images were taken pre COVID-19. All airport pick-ups and program operations now run with enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.

Flights

Please note that if you use this service delivered by Student Universe and / or if you buy your ticket through this portal you are agreeing to the Student Universe Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. Your agreement regarding flights will be between you and Student Universe or as per their terms and conditions.

As GVI is providing this portal as a service we are not responsible for the accuracy of this site.

We are also not responsible for any loss, damage (including loss of profits or consequential damages), injury, illness, harm or death in relation to your flight and travel arrangements.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

Meet the team - Senior Field Management

Cony Perez

Program Manager
Meet Cony, our Program Manager at GVI’s base in Quepos, Costa Rica. Cony was born in Mexico and holds a Masters in Environmental Education. She loves a wide variety of cool things including: working with people, biodiversity, music, and her dog!

Meet the team - In-Country Staff

Julius Reyes

Assistant Program Manager
This is Julius, who is our Assistant Program Manager at GVI’s base in Quepos, Costa Rica. Julius grew up in a small seaside town in British Columbia before moving to Quepos! He has had the privilege of volunteering in a vast array of countries including Peru and Morocco.

Before coming to Quepos, Julius was a Hip-Hop dance instructor for 12 years, and so as you could imagine he loves a good boogie!

Luis Jimenez Ramirez

Logistics Manager
Meet Luis! He is the Logistics Manager for our Quepos base in Costa Rica! Luis studied Art, History and Business Administration with an emphasis on Human Resource Management. He has been with GVI for two years now. Luis likes both snakes and planes - but luckily, not at the same time!

Your Supervisor

We’re of the belief that internships are learning experiences and that a great supervisor is absolutely essential to the success of any internship program. Our supervisors will assist you in familiarising yourself with your environment and provide the guidance you need to meet your goals and solve problems. They’re remote, so that location and travel restrictions don’t affect us in choosing the supervisor that best suits your needs.


Research Supervisor

 

If you choose our research internship package, you’ll be assigned an research supervisor. Your research supervisor will provide guidance for you in achieving your data collection and analysis goals. They’ll also help you to navigate the complex challenges of collecting and analysing data within the context of international field research.


 

Internship Supervisor

 

When you choose our core internship package, you’ll be assigned an internship supervisor. They’ll help you to navigate day-to-day challenges involved in completing learning and tasks related to your internship program. They’ll provide guidance throughout your internship so that you can get your work done successfully and maximise the benefits of your experience.


 

Career Supervisor

 

If you choose our career internship package, you’ll be assigned a career supervisor. Your career supervisor will help you to navigate the professional relationship with the international organisation for which you’ll be completing a project. They’ll also help you to master skills necessary for successfully making the transition from full-time student to full-time employee.


 

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.


Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll 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.


Costa Rica was the first country in the world to make primary education both free and obligatory in 1869, funding the education program through the state’s share of the great coffee wealth. In those days only one in ten Costa Ricans could read and write. By 1920, 50% of the population was literate. In 1948, the country abolished its national army and shifted the portion of its national budget allocated to armed forces to the education system. By the 1970s 89% were able to read and write. Costa Rica now boasts a literacy rate of 93% for those ten years or older. In addition, in 1994, a policy to place a computer in each of the nation’s 4,000 schools, plus obligatory English classes, was implemented.


Despite this, education is not readily available to everyone. Elementary and high schools can be found in every community, but many cannot afford the required uniforms, and rural schools often lack books for students. Children often spend as little as three hours in school as the class schedule is divided into two sessions in order to accommodate the number of students.


Cimarrones, home to our volunteer community project, is a central valley town in the mountainous central region of Costa Rica which is home to multiple volcanos, botanical gardens and some of the oldest coffee farms in the country.


GVI has been working in local communities in Costa Rica since 2011 and aims to support those communities in developing themselves and particularly in developing the younger members of the community. GVI works in Cimarrones to support community and economic development, as well as education focused initiatives. Our current partners include the Liceo Rural Nairi Awari High School, Escuela Las Brisas de Pacuarito and a local women’s entrepreneur group.


As such, the main UN Sustainable Development Goals of this project include, #4, Quality Education, and #5, Gender Equality.


Project Objectives

GVI Cimarrones Long-term Objectives:


1. Improve access to education and wellness to Cimarrones and the surrounding areas of Las Brisas and Pacuare.


2. Increase environmental awareness in the local community.


3. Improve English literacy levels in the Cimarrones community and surrounding areas.


4. Assist in building sustainable, women-led businesses in the immediate community and surrounding areas.


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.


 


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.


 

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 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.


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.


Program Ethics

 

NO ORPHANAGE PROGRAMS

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

CHILD AND VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION POLICY

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

NO MEDICAL VOLUNTEERING

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

NO DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Training

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

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

 

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

 

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

 

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

 

For All Participants at Cimarrones

Community: Women’s Empowerment

 

Community: Human Empowerment

 

Costa Rican Culture

 

Introduction to TEFL

 

Qualifications

References and Recommendations

Career Services

After successfully completing your internship you’ll have a host of new skills, specialised knowledge and work experience. You’ll also have a professional reference and, possibly, new qualifications. Our post-program career services will help you leverage what you’ve gained throughout your internship to take the next step on your chosen career path.


Careers in Sustainability

 

Career paths in social and environmental impact are not as well-established as other fields. That’s why we provide all of our interns with a Careers in Sustainable Development course in partnership by the University of Richmond. In this course, you’ll learn about current and emerging opportunities in a range of sectors, allowing you to make the best decision about your future.


This online course is valued at £295 and is included in all internships.


Course details can be found here.


Career Coaching

 

When you’ve successfully completed your internship, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule two career coaching sessions with one of GVI’s career mentors.


Use these small group sessions to develop your career goals, personal branding and job-hunting strategies.


Preferential Recruitment

 

At the end of your internship you’ll be added to our list of potential candidates we’ll consider first for GVI vacancies around the world. Stay up-to-date on positions by checking our Careers Abroad jobs portal. Get in touch if you find that fits you perfectly.


Job Portal Access

Once signed up to a GVI Internship, you’ll receive access to our jobs portal listing thousands of vacancies in social and environmental impact roles around the world. Employers range from non-profits to purpose-driven businesses.


 

Job Guarantee

 

If you join a career and research internship program for the duration of 24 weeks or longer you’ll receive a money-back job guarantee. We promise that you’ll find a position in an impact-driven field within 18 months of successfully completing the program or you’ll receive 50% of your internship program fee back.


Terms and conditions apply.


Free time

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.


Weekend Trips

Irazú Volcano National Park

Take some time to explore the Irazú Volcano National Park. Peaking at 3 432 metres, Irazú is famed for being the largest and highest active volcano in Costa Rica. Walking paths will take you to viewpoint over the main crater, which is also surrounded by lush forests boasting an abundance of wildlife species.

Coffee Plantation Tour

Coffee connoisseurs can book a tour of one of the local coffee plantations. Costa Rica has a rich history of growing the crop, and you can learn about farming methods, both old and new, while sampling the local brew.


Canopy Tour

Fly through the rainforest like superman, walk gingerly across a suspended walkway, and rappel down jungle waterfalls, by booking on of the many canopy tours available.


Kayaking and Canoeing

There are many peaceful rivers in the area to explore on a kayak or canoe. The tranquil setting will allow you to spot local wildlife like monkeys and birds in the canopies above.

Further Travels

Surfing

Costa Rica is well-known as a surfing destination and the Pacific Coast features some incredible beaches. You can also explore areas like Jaco, Dominical, Punta Arenas, and Playa Hermosa known for their excellent surfing conditions.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Here lush tropical rainforests coincide with the stunning beaches of the Pacific coast. The park is acclaimed as one of the most biodiverse on the planet. Hike the forest trails or zipline through the canopies spotting exotic species like the mantled howler monkeys and two-toed sloths. You can also book a white water rafting trip.

Other Latin American Nations

There are plenty of opportunities for further exploration throughout Latin America. Travel South to Panama and then Colombia or North to Nicaragua and Honduras.

National Parks

With one of the greatest biodiversities in the world and a commitment to preserving this unique natural heritage Costa Rica features many natural reserves that offer plenty of opportunities to spot one-of-a-kind wildlife.


Volcanoes

View the active volcanoes of Turrialba and Irazú from a safe distance and experience the beautiful natural habitats that flourish in the surrounding fertile soils.

San Jose

Explore the capital of Costa Rica, for an insight into the country’s heritage and modern lifestyle. Learn about the country’s ancient cultures by visiting the Gold or Jade museums and visit restaurants to sample authentic Latin American fare.


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 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.


Festivals

Costa Rican festival.


March to April: Easter is a popular holiday in Costa Rica and is celebrated with elaborate processions.


October: You can experience the city of Límon’s famous carnival in October.


December: A mostly Catholic country, the Costa Ricans celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm.


Spirituality and Religion

Most of Costa Rica identifies with the Roman Catholic religion and there are many festivals that are celebrated throughout the year.

Dancing

Dancing is part an integral part of Costa Rican culture. Locals learn to dance the fluid ballroom styles of cumbia, salsa, bolero and the merengue from a young age.


Cooking

Learn to cook dishes using uniquely Latin American ingredients like beans, rice, avocados, peppers, tomatoes, and corn from local community members.


Languages

Quepos is the perfect place to practice your Spanish as most inhabitants speak only Spanish.


Cimarrones

Cimarrones has historically been a rural farming community. The town is located along the El Camino de Costa Rica, a trail that stretches from one side of Costa Rica, on the Caribbean Coast, to the other side, on the Pacific Ocean. The area surrounding Cimarrones is home to some of Costa Rica’s finest coffee bean farms. Places of interest in the province include Irazú Volcano National Park, Tapantí National Park, Guayabo National Monument, Turrialba Volcano National Park, Death’s Hill, Lankester Botanical Gardens, and the Orosi Valley and Cachí Reservoir and Dam.

Parent Info

‘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.


 

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.

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. 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.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

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.


Work Placements

Our career internship programs include the option of joining and completing a work placement of between 2 to 12 weeks with impact-focused organisations all over the world. These could be charities, businesses, governments, or GVI itself. Please note that placements come at an additional cost. Speak to us for details.