A Look Into Your Volunteer Experience in Ghana

Ghana, Africa is fast becoming one of the world's most popular volunteer destinations as travelers search for a volunteer experience abroad, and it’s easy to see why...

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How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Traveling

Think reducing your carbon footprint when traveling can't be fun? It could be more fun than you think!

To help our volunteers be more carbon conscious travelers, we've pulled together this list of simple tips for reducing your carbon footprint when traveling...

 

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Volunteering In Cambodia - Catching The Cambodia Bug

IVHQ staff regularly travel to visit our volunteer overseas programs to meet with local staff and volunteers, visit volunteer placements and ensure our programs are operating to a high standard. I recently visited our volunteer overseas program in Cambodia, and found I walked away having caught the Cambodia bug…

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Questions All Volunteers Want Answered When They Volunteer Abroad

The team at IVHQ literally answers thousands of questions every week around how to volunteer abroad - whether it be via email or telephone, we encourage IVHQ volunteers to throw all their questions our way, to ensure they're well prepared for the journey ahead!

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World Festivals Worth Traveling For

With volunteer abroad programs in over 25 countries around the world, IVHQ volunteers find themselves in the midst of many of the world's most loved festivals!

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Flying Tips - Your Guide To The Perfect Flight

As a volunteer abroad, you share at least one experience with every other volunteer… Air travel.

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10 Facepalm Moments To Avoid In Travel

We all learn from our mistakes, but sometimes it's easier to learn the mistakes of others, so you can spare yourself a facepalm!

To save you from slipping into the facepalm zone, I'm sharing some of the most facepalm-worthy moments I've experienced and witnessed in travel mode...

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Most Instagrammed Volunteer Overseas Destinations

Here at International Volunteer HQ, we love coming to work each day, knowing we're helping people of all ages and nationalities travel the world affordably, while making contributions to developing communities.

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Volunteer Abroad Reviews For Parents By Parents

Do you have (or are you) a parent looking for feedback from parents of past IVHQ volunteers...?

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5 Volunteers Who Will Inspire You To Volunteer Abroad

We love hearing and sharing stories of international volunteers achieving amazing things on IVHQ volunteer abroad programs, so much so that International Volunteer HQ is currently accepting nominations for the 2014 IVHQ

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Behind the Scenes with Volunteers in South America

Summing up her visits to our Ecuador and Colombia volunteer abroad programs, IVHQ’s Lydia takes us behind the scenes…

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10 Conservation Volunteer Opportunities

To celebrate June 5th AKA World Environment Day, we're sharing 10 Conservation Volunteer Opportunities offered through International Volunteer HQ!

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10 Reasons Volunteers Choose Cambodia

With IVHQ's growing list of volunteer program destinations, the decision of where to go can become difficult! To help, we've listed 10 reasons why IVHQers choose to volunteer in Cambodia!

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What Should iPack?

When you volunteer overseas, what technology should come with you?

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Tips For Being A Valuable Volunteer

Everyone who volunteers abroad with IVHQ wants to make a difference and do some good. That goal is equal parts admirable and inspiring, and I’m constantly amazed by the passion and authentic drive that our volunteers have to make a positive contribution to a community. But it’s not easy.

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10 Reasons Volunteers Love Tanzania

Tanzania is rich in culture and a favorite volunteer abroad destination for IVHQ Volunteers. While this list could've had 101 reasons, we've narrowed it down to the Top 10 thanks to suggestions from IVHQ volunteers in Tanzania.

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10 Signs You're The Perfect IVHQ Volunteer

Do you fit the bill?

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18 Places You Need To Visit While You're Young

The best part about this list is you can visit all of these places during your weekends while volunteering overseas with IVHQ!

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10 Photos That Will Make You Want To Volunteer In Asia

International Volunteer HQ encourages those who volunteer overseas to immerse themselves in the culture of their destination and spend their #IVHQweekends capturing stunning sights from around the world! Here's a collection of volunteer photos in Asia, which we guarantee will have you reaching for your passport!

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East Africa Volunteer Program Swap

With the establishment of our new partnership in Uganda, IVHQ sponsored a volunteer program swap in East Africa. The aim of the swap was to provide the opportunity for our TanzaniaKenya and Uganda teams to collaborate, share ideas and experiences, and discuss best practices around hosting IVHQ volunteers in East Africa.

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5 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With IVHQ

We're all about transparency here at IVHQ, whether we're talking volunteer program fees or new program opportunities... But here are 5 things many of you never knew you could do with IVHQ!

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10 Photos That Will Make You Want To Volunteer In Latin America

If you're having trouble trying to narrow down your list of continents to volunteer overseas in, these 10 photos should help convince you to become a volunteer in Latin America!

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Volunteer Stories: Mikael Aberra Gobeze

Mikael Aberra Gobeze, who volunteered with IVHQ in Brazil in 2012, directed the documentary IASESPE: Fight For A Favela, which raised $11,000 to support a community center within the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

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Top Fundraising Tips to Volunteer Overseas

International Volunteer HQ is known for offering the most affordable volunteer overseas programs around, but we all know that flights, visas, travel insurance, and vaccinations can be costly!

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Volunteer Inspiration of the Day

How does a mother-daughter volunteer trip to Kenya result in the establishment of a project to be served by future IVHQ volunteers, enabling developmentally disabled adults of the Kibera slum to enter the workforce?

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15 Things Every Volunteer In Bali Should Do

Arriving as a volunteer in Bali, your bucket list will be full of ‘must do’ activities for your volunteer abroad program and your #IVHQweekends!

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10 Photos That Will Make You Want To Volunteer In Africa

If you're feeling travel bugish after scrolling through these photos, please direct all complaints to the guilty Instagramers AKA our volunteers in Africa.

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The 7 Types Of IVHQer

Which type of IVHQer are you?

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Packing Tips From The IVHQ Team

When prepping to travel overseas, are you a forward-thinking "my 30 day countdown has begun, better start packing" packer, or a last minute "eeek, my flight leaves in 2 hours" packer?

Whichever category you fit into, a good packing tip doesn’t go astray to avoid an extra heavy, unorganised, and cluttered backpack (that’s filled with everything you don’t need, and nothing you do)!

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A Look Into Your Volunteer Experience in Ghana

Ghana, Africa is fast becoming one of the world's most popular volunteer destinations as travelers search for a volunteer experience abroad, and it’s easy to see why.

Stunning scenery, friendly hosts and life changing volunteer abroad placements.

We have dug through the hundreds of Instagram photos that International Volunteer HQ receives monthly to showcase our 15 favorite Ghana volunteer moments that you'll most likely also experience as a volunteer in Ghana...

1. You'll Meet Eager Students

Ghana is an English speaking country, yet lots of young students still struggle with the English language. As a volunteer teacher in Ghana, you are bound to meet children who are eager to learn and absorb as much as they can from English speaking volunteers (projects teaching French to the children are also available to French speakers). Before your volunteer experience in Ghana, we suggest up-skilling with an internationally recognized TEFL course that International Volunteer HQ offers at a discounted rate. 

Come armed with some useful teaching ideas from the IVHQ Volunteer Resources page.

 

2. You'll Become A Human Jungle Gym

Teaching, Medical, Construction and Renovation... Whichever volunteer experience you decide on as a volunteer in Ghana, you know you'll be assisting and meeting lots of locals. Chances are you'll also have to regularly put down your tools to play with the local children throughout your day!

 

3. You'll Gain A Home Away From Home

International Volunteer HQ volunteers live in volunteer houses with local staff or alongside a local family. Either way, you'll be exposed to a real Ghanaian experience as you quickly make solid bonds with other IVHQ volunteers, staff, local communities and families.

After your volunteer experience abroad in Ghana, why not consider introducing your family to your Ghanaian family on a Family Volunteer Experience with IVHQ?

 

4. You'll Host A Balloon Party

Balloons are a great idea for your Childcare placement, and are guaranteed to keep the local children entertained for hours. A bag of balloons takes up no room in your luggage, and as the IVHQ volunteer below explained, it was a great way to farewell her students at the conclusion of her volunteer experience abroad.

Visit the IVHQ website for more inspiring childcare activities.

 

5. You'll Learn To Multitask

During your volunteer experience abroad in Ghana, you will need to multitask and be open to change. Volunteers on the IVHQ Agriculture project spend the majority of their days crop and animal farming to provide food to the local orphanages and childcare center, except on food delivery days where volunteers instead find themselves working and teaching the local children!

 

6. You'll Spend Lots Of Time Reading

"You can find magic wherever you look, sit back and relax, all you need is a book" - Dr Seuss

 

7. You'll Be Tempted To Shop!

Ghana has no shortage of markets waiting for you to explore! You'll find clothes, souvenirs, food and much more! Plus we suggest that volunteers wanting to purchase donations for childcare centers, orphanages and schools wait until they've arrived in Ghana to assess the needs of the center first. You'll both save on hauling extra luggage, while helping the local economy! Win-win!

Warning: Becoming volunteer in Ghana could feed your shopping addiction!

 

8. You'll Spend Lots Of Time At The Beach

Ghana is home to a coastline that stretches 560 kilometers, so as a volunteer abroad in Ghana you'll no doubt be making regular trips to the beach! The local children love showing off their beaches to volunteers, and whenever you visit you'll always be joined by friendly locals!

Take the plunge and volunteer in Ghana!

 

9. You'll Walk The Canopy Walk

Situated in the Kakum National Park, the stunning canopy walk is a must do activity for volunteers during a spare weekend! Only 30 kilometers north of Cape Coast, you'll discover the home to 300 bird species, 600 butterfly species, and endangered elephants and Colobus monkeys! 

You'll fill your weekends easily with all the Ghana travel and tour options available.

 

10. You'll Eat Fufu!

Fufu is a staple food around much of West Africa, and will be on your menu during your volunteer experience abroad in Ghana. As a volunteer in Ghana with IVHQ, you're provided with a variety of meals including a western style breakfast, lunch consisting of rice or noodles with vegetables and meat, and finishing the day with a traditional Ghanaian meal of Fufu or Banku. 

Ready to test your taste buds? Become a volunteer in Ghana!

 

11. You'll Witness A Stunning Ghanaian Sunset

Nothing beats the end of an African day, and Ghana doesn't disappoint with its stunning sunsets. 

Words and pictures don't do it justice, meaning you'll have to experience it for yourself!

 

12. You'll Blow Bubbles

You will NOT leave Ghana (or end each day) without blowing bubbles with the children. The International Volunteer HQ Facebook Group community regularly fields questions from future volunteers on what to pack for their volunteer experience abroad, and we think a bottle of bubble mixture should appear near the top of the list! 

Think you've got the lungs to become a volunteer abroad in Ghana?

 

13. You'll Make The Trek To Wli Falls

The trip to the highest waterfalls in West Africa should appear close to the top of your Ghana bucket list, as should the adventurous hike up to the top of the falls! There's nothing better on a hot day of rewarding yourself with a swim in the cool waterfall pools!

 

14. You'll Get Pushed Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It's simple really... If on your volunteer experience in Ghana one of the local children ask you to wear a tiara, you wear a tiara! Leave you inhibitions at home, and be prepared to push your comfort zones!

You won't find a more rewarding challenge than becoming a volunteer abroad in Ghana!

 

15. You'll Live Like A Local

Whether you live in the volunteer house with the local staff or a local family you'll be immersed within the Ghanaian culture almost immediately. Embrace it!

Whatever you end up achieving in Ghana, just know that you'll be in for a real volunteer experience when you volunteer abroad in Ghana.

Want more proof? Watch this video from the IVHQ video tour in Ghana!

 

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How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Traveling

Think reducing your carbon footprint when traveling can't be fun? It could be more fun than you think!

To help our volunteers be more carbon conscious travelers, we've pulled together this list of simple tips for reducing your carbon footprint when traveling...

 

Take a shortcut 

Finding the shortest flight path to your volunteering destination is one of the most powerful ways you can reduce your carbon footprint when traveling. Pick a direct flight wherever possible, or a flight path with the least stop-overs. If you're tossing up between two different volunteering destinations, opt for the closest country to help reduce your carbon emissions!

^ What's closer? Volunteering in Bali or volunteering in Brazil?

 

Sharing is caring

When traveling, power in numbers always applies! If you're keen to make a trip from the volunteer house to visit the local markets or to go sightseeing, don't forget to ask your fellow volunteers if anyone else is planning a trip, so you can cut costs, as well as carbon emissions! 

^ Grab a crew of your peers volunteering in South Africa and catch the sunset from Peers Cave!

 

Weekend gathering

Plan your weekend getaways in collaboration with your fellow volunteers. By traveling together, sharing transport and accommodation, you're reducing your share of the carbon footprint.

^ When volunteering in Tanzania with IVHQ, you're never short of safari buddies!

 

Au naturale

The more natural the better! Take advantage of the natural attractions on offer to reduce the carbon emissions involved in machine-fuelled activities - snorkelling at a local beach, or hiking up a nearby mountain are nice AND natural!

^ Fancy being beach-bound this weekend? Join a crew of IVHQers in Cambodia

 

Buy local

Buy local produce and products wherever possible and avoid packaged food if you can! This gives you the perfect excuse to sample the local cuisine and absorb as much of the local culture as you can. As a volunteer traveler, rather than hauling a suitcase of donations over from home, wait till you arrive in country to assess the needs of your placement and tailor your local purchases accordingly. This ensures that you're not doubling up on supplies and avoids creating waste.

^ You're never short of local supplies when volunteering in South Africa

 

Hands > machines

To keep your carbon emissions to a minimum, pick up a bar of laundry soap and hand wash your clothes rather than resorting to a washing machine. Who knows, you may even receive some help...

^ Laundromat - IVHQ Nepal style!

 

Stay for longer

Our volunteers always tell us that they wish they had volunteered for longer, and some end up returning to their volunteer program just months after leaving! If there's a high chance you'll catch the IVHQ bug and think 2 weeks just won't be enough, why not apply to volunteer for longer so you can reduce the carbon emissions from flying back to your program multiple times?

^ Leaving home can be hard, but leaving your program can be harder! Just ask our volunteers in Sri Lanka!

 

Trade in four wheels for two

The less wheels the better! Whether you're trading in your taxi for a two-wheeler or a trip on foot, your carbon footprint will be thanking you for it!

^ There's no better way to explore Hells Gate as an IVHQer in Kenya!

 

Be water-wise

Don't buy bottled water if the tap water is safe to drink in your volunteering destination. Research the country before you travel and if it's safe to drink, bring a reusable bottle from home and don't forgot to bring it back with you. Local coconut water straight from the source is cabon footprint-friendly too!

^ Drink of choice for IVHQers around the world!

 

Go camping

While it's not always possible to set up camp for the night, if you have the option between a hotel room and a tent, your carbon footprint votes "tent"!

^ It's all part of the IVHQ Victoria Falls experience!

 

Sub a shower for a waterfall

While substituting running water for a running waterfall may not be a reality in many places, if it's a possibility - run with it!

^ A must-do for many a volunteer in Ghana!

 

Read rather than scroll

In your downtime, reserve your smartphone battery and chill out with a book, rather than scrolling through the latest from your Facebook feed!

^ Don't get distracted by the view in Morocco!

 

Offer to offset

When you return home (or even before you leave), there are a number of ways you can offset your carbon emissions from flying to your destination. Here at IVHQ, we provide a platform for you to offset your carbon emissions via the Carbon Footprint Calculator on our website. To mitigate the environmental impacts of the flights we take from our office in New Zealand to visit our volunteer programs abroad, we are taking both a proactive and reactive approach - through supporting a nation-wide education program focused on sustainability within New Zealand schools in partnership with Enviro Schools, as well as offsetting our measurable carbon footprint via tree planting initiatives. 

For more tips for your trips, check our our Volunteer Travel Tips From The Locals.

Header Photo Credit: Connor Parry, IVHQ Volunteer in Madagascar

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Volunteering In Cambodia - Catching The Cambodia Bug

As I write this blog post on a bumpy bus traveling from Siem Reap back to Phnom Penh (ensuring my computer spell-check gets a good work-out), I can finally admit that I have caught the Cambodia bug, and have fallen in love with this spectacular country and its people.

IVHQ staff regularly travel to visit our volunteer overseas programs to meet with local staff and volunteers, visit volunteer placements and ensure our programs are operating to a high standard. I recently visited our volunteer overseas program in Cambodia, and found I walked away having caught the Cambodia bug… Here’s why:

 

Reason One: The People

When volunteering in Cambodia, the moment you step off the plane, you’re greeted by the infectious Cambodian smile! The scrum at the airport arrivals gate can be overwhelming, but it’s simple to spot the bright green International Volunteer HQ sign through the masses. I found the local staff couldn’t do enough for you, from organizing tuk-tuks to recommending local delicacies (both wacky and delicious)! 

Try volunteering in Cambodia to find out for yourself!

 

Reason Two: Real Cambodian Hospitality

I was very fortunate to visit a number of the volunteer homestays and volunteer houses during my time in Cambodia. While volunteering in Cambodia, you'll have access to electricity, running water and great hosts! One thing was certain on a visit to the volunteer homestays and volunteer houses, and that's how you immediately feel at ease with the offer of fresh fruit, lots of smiles and great conversation! Sure, we call it a "Cambodian volunteer homestay" or "Cambodian volunteer house", but at the end of your trip, you'll simply call it home!

Experience the Cambodia hospitality for yourself, and become a volunteer overseas in Cambodia!

 

Reason Three: Cambodia Food

I've eaten well too much food during my visit. As a volunteer in Cambodia, you’re taught during volunteer orientation that it’s impolite to leave food on your plate. Instead of being overwhelmed by this, I took it as a challenge! What’s not to love about fresh vegetables, delicious meat, mouth watering spices, all presented on fresh rice? Sounds like a nice daily meal? While volunteering in Cambodia, you’ll get this type of meal TWICE a day (and if you’re out working at your placement, you’ll get to take a lunchbox along with you)! Plus if you're extra adventurous, try joining the locals in some of the street-side restaurants with delicious options, including Fish Amok, Bai Sach Chrouk (BBQ pork and rice) and Kuy Teav (noodle soup)!

What food should you expect as a volunteer overseas in Cambodia? Visit the IVHQ Volunteer in Cambodia page for details on volunteer meals.

 

Reason Four: Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities

There’s a genuine need for volunteers in Cambodia. In Siem Reap alone, I visited three orphanages and the sheer size of the facilities versus the small staff sizes was mind-blowing. The lack of resources and money means these orphanages are at their staffing limit, so volunteers are essential in assisting local staff with varied activities in running the centers. If you’ve got interests in childcare and teaching, along with music, dance and sport, you’ll fit in perfectly as a volunteer overseas in Cambodia, as these are the activities the children love!

Find a full list of IVHQ's volunteer overseas programs in Cambodia on our website.

 

Reason Five: Stunning Sightseeing!

From the stunning Temples of Angkor Wat in the North to the beaches of Sihanoukville in the South, there is an abundance of Cambodia travel and tour options! While volunteering in Cambodia, you'll have the opportunity to visit the Royal Palace and the National Museum in Phonm Penh, while also spending your IVHQ weekends traveling further afield. A minivan or bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (to go Temple hunting), or Sihanoukville (to relax on the beach), takes around 7 hours and can cost between $5USD and $15USD (depending on your preferred level of comfort)! When you're volunteering in Cambodia, you'll be in close proximity to Vietnam and Thailand, so asking your boss for that extra week off work is advised!

Visit the IVHQ website to discover more Cambodia Travel and Tour options.

I consider myself fortunate to have walked in the shoes of an IVHQ volunteer on our volunteer overseas program in Cambodia and as cliché as it sounds, I know I’ll return. The Cambodia bug has got the better of me!

 

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