21 October 2017

An honest review of IVHQ & Green Lion Bali


As someone who was nervous about travelling alone, going with a trusted organisation was essential. I wanted to be guided and supported every step of the way. After having looked at several different volunteer organisations, I finally decided to go with IVHQ mostly because friends had recommended and used them before.

How IVHQ work:
IVHQ acts as the parent company helping you with everything before you actually reach the country. They organise for you to be placed with a different in-country charity, all of which have been security checked by IVHQ. For example, although I signed up with IVHQ the charity I worked for in Bali was called Green Lion. I had both an out-of-country contact and in-country program manager, that being said, I could easily contact either if I had any problems. 

Website and IVHQ help:
I found the IVHQ website helpful and easy to use, and was instantly sent a welcome email from a lovely team member. The communication between me and the team member was easy and I felt as though I could ask her anything and she would reply usually within only one or two days. They helped a lot with travel and visa information and made sure to check that I was doing everything I needed to do before I left. They also made sure to get me in contact with my in-country program manager before leaving. Again, as someone anxious about travelling alone, their time and commitment made me feel a lot more comfortable and confident. 

Prices: 
Probably one of the most affordable volunteering websites for what is provided. I found it very good value for money. The most expensive thing will always be flights to and from your destination. 

Green Lion, accommodation and food: 

- An amazing charity, run by the most helpful and kind people. I was initially surprised to see how young they all were (early 20s), but, if anything, this only made it easier to connect and become friends with the team. 

- Safe transport from the airport. The driver arrived on time and was waiting for me with a sign. 

- Contact numbers, names and addresses were all given to me before I arrived. 

- Green Lion staff members were easy to contact. I was also assigned my own project leader (if you were ill they would check up on you) 

- The Accommodation was simple but clean and comfortable. Don't expect it to be like western housing, rooms are very open and bugs do get inside. I was surprised that there was a cleaner who came once a day! 

- Wifi in all the houses, don't expect it to work all the time though. (Honestly you probably won't need it that much anyways) 

- A good orientation week including several included and paid for activities. If these don't interest you, you don't  have to attend, although I found them interesting and am glad I went.

- A very basic open air canteen. The food was mainly rice based and once a week there was a western option. It was delicious but fairly repetitive, you can always go out to eat as restaurant food is usually inexpensive. There are several caf├ęs/restaurants near the volunteer houses.  

- The area was quiet and local. All the locals knew the volunteers and the volunteers knew the locals. Although quiet, it was about a 20 minute walk to the centre of Ubud and there was a taxi stand at the end of the street. 

- I felt pretty safe and secure in the area + you meet tons of people and it's easy to make friends quickly. 

The Volunteering

- I had a teaching partner and there were always Green Lion helpers around to help with language barriers and, sometimes, just calming down the kids. 

- Don't expect the class to be quiet and calm, it's probably going to be the complete opposite. It's also okay to feel overwhelmed on your first few lessons. 

- Be prepared because, although you get help, there will be no teacher in the room but you and your partner. 

- A taxi would pick us up in the morning and bring us back after class. 

- Green Lion provided computers, pens and lots of educational equipment. 

In conclusion, I'm glad I decided to go with IVHQ and would definitely recommend others to check them out. The only slightly negative point I would raise would be in terms of the schools chosen to be in the volunteer program. I found that the kindergarten I was teaching at already had adequate teachers, resources, and classrooms. It made me question whether the volunteers could have been more useful teaching in less developed areas, where the chance of an English education could potentially significantly change a child's life. Other than this, I was extremely impressed by both IVHQ and Green Lion and will hopefully be using them again sometime in the future.  

Links   

IVHQ 

3 comments so far

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  2. great blog post! i am in love with your blog :D thanks for sharing

    jadieegosh

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