Volunteer Reviews

Here are a sample of experiences and reviews from previous volunteers at our projects (names of children have been changed for their protection). You can also read about some of our volunteers' fundraising endeavours in our Volunteers' Fundraising Hall of Fame.

"I really felt as though I made a difference during my time and I would recommend the experience to anyone”

Ailbhe, UK, Laos Wildlife Project
Ailbhe, from the UK, spent a few weeks at our wildlife sanctuary in Laos and we’re so excited to share her experience. Ailbhe was based in beautifully lush Venetian, Laos where she worked with a multitude of animals - elephants, cheetahs, porcupines, monkeys and bears. On a day-to-day basis she feeding animals, making and distributing enrichment, cleaning enclosures and helping with the construction of new enclosures, among other things. 
To read more of Ailbhe’s story, click here.

Volunteering in Peru was such an incredible, rewarding experience! The only thing I would change is the amount of time we were there – I would have loved to volunteer there longer!”

Sophia, year 11 student, Peru Community project.
In August 2016, 15 year 10 and 11 students and teachers from Pipers Corner School in the UK, volunteered at our Peru Community Project. It was a life-changing week, where the students experienced a tailor-made cultural and volunteering programme at they project. They assisted with teaching English, Math, Geography, Art and sport at the project and also did a tour of the historical Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley sites. Have a read of their inspirational stories here:
Emma, Deputy Head
Georgia, student
Sophia, student
Mia, student

"My only recommendation would be to make your volunteer experience as long as you can!"

Mary, USA - Cambodia Indigenous People Project
Mary is a fisheries biologist from the US who volunteered for eight weeks at the Cambodia Indigenous People Project for eight weeks in February to April 2016. 

I loved being able to live in the homes of the Bunong people while we collected their stories. They may not have many material possessions but they have the most warm and open spirits, and they welcomed us into their lives without reservation. The struggles they have endured would have found many of the rest of us wanting and yet to look into their faces they have an incredible enduring beauty that comes through strongly on the videos. I will never forget my time with them or with the wonderful Khmer people."

Read Mary's story

"Do it! It is a great experience and you will feel so accomplished after doing it, and you are helping such a good cause. You meet so many people and some that you will stay friends with for a lifetime – I know I have!"

Carmel, Ireland - Cambodia Bear Sanctuary
Carmel is a transport manager from Ireland who volunteered for four weeks at the Cambodia Bear Sanctuary in February and March 2016. Here she talks about her special time with the bears. 

The local people at the sanctuary were amazing! They were friendly and accommodating to all of us when we volunteered there. Seeing how the keepers interacted with the bears on a daily basis was incredible. You could see that being a keeper wasn't just a day job for them – they loved the bears they where looking after."

Read Carmel's story. 

"I have already recommended volunteering at the Colombia Kids Project to people I know. It was a great experience and I would do it again."

Rebecca, UK - Colombia Kids Project
Rebecca is a British illustrator who volunteered for six weeks at the Colombia Kids Project in February and March 2016. 

"I think that Globalteer does some wonderful projects and they really look after you even before you travel. I had excellent support via email from Elena, their on-the-ground volunteer coordinator, who is based in Medellin, which helped me settle in before starting my placement. This project was amazing – it teaches you a lot about the world and yourself, and you will meet some of the nicest people during your time in Medellin."

Read Rebecca's story

"I would definitely recommend this project! It’s a once in a lifetime experience."

Elise, UK - Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary
Elise is a primary school teacher from the UK who volunteered for two weeks at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary in March to April 2016. Here she talks about her special experience with the elephants. 

"One of my favourite aspects of my placement was being able to see elephants happy in their natural environment. It was so lovely to see these beautiful creatures enjoying life as they always should have done. It was also amazing to see the bond between the elephants and their mahout."  

Read Elise's full story.

“It is hard for me to put into words just how much I enjoyed my time at the sanctuary, and how much of an impact it had on me.”

Eva, USA - Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
Eva is a designer, reiki master healer and animal communicator from the US who volunteered at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary for two weeks in November 2015.

For me, this was a life-changing trip. I've been struggling with having a purpose in life, and volunteering made me realise that I need to change direction in my life, and work to be the voice for animals. I will definitely visit the sanctuary and volunteer there again. I hope to return in November, and then make it an annual trip!"

Read Eva's story.

"It will be difficult to account for all my experiences in the time I spent with Globalteer, as words cannot begin to describe some of the moments I had."

Stephen, UK - Peru Dog Project
Stephen Bajwa is from Scotland and volunteered at the Globalteer Peru Dog Project for three months from June to September 2015.

"It is difficult to think of a favourite thing about the project. I loved and cherished every moment I spent there and actually seeing the appreciation in the dogs eyes with their wagging tails and wide smiles.  For me, that's what makes everything worthwhile."

Read Stephen's story

"Thank you for this incredible opportunity – I will cherish these memories forever!"

Salomae, Australia - Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
Salomae is a student from Australia who volunteered at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary in September 2015. 

"Volunteering for a week at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary for my 21st birthday was the best decision I have ever made. I had such a wonderful insight not only into the conservation of elephants and other wildlife but into Thai culture being on temple grounds and eating traditional Thai food most nights, meeting a great range of like-minded people from all over the world and I have memories that I will cherish forever!"

Read Salmoae's story

“If you are thinking of going to the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary, then make sure you do!”

Emma, UK - Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
Emma is a Pharmacy Technician who volunteered at Globalteer’s Thailand Elephant Sanctuary in August 2015.

"Having hands on interaction with the elephants was amazing! I can’t imagine anywhere else where you would be able to do this in a safe environment for both volunteers and the elephants. I ended up meeting some amazing new friends from all over the world, and we are even planning another trip next year together. If you are thinking of going then make sure you do – it's a totally hands on experience and without a doubt the best experience of my life!"

Read Emma's story.

“There aren't many chances to go and do something like this, and what you can personally take out of it is indescribable.”

David, UK - Peru Community Project
David Green is a student at the University of London’s Royal Holloway College who volunteered at Globalteer’s Peru Community Project in July and August 2015.

"I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering that they absolutely should take the opportunity and grab it with both hands. There aren't many chances to go and do something like this. What you can personally take out of it is indescribable, and what you are able to give back to the people at the project is huge as well!"

Read David's story.

"My favourite thing about volunteering at the Peru Wildlife Sanctuary was EVERYTHING"

Julia, UK - Peru Wildlife Sanctuary
Julia Quick is from the UK and volunteered at the Peru Wildlife Rainforest Sanctuary for two weeks in August 2015.

"The whole team was wonderful, and I was made to feel right at home from day one. Their passion and dedication for the animals they care for was wonderful to see and be around. Getting to interact with and care for animals was an experience I will treasure forever."

Read Julia's story. 

“It's incredible how much you can do just giving some of your time and love to help people, it is truly a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone.”

Herpreet, UK - Cambodia Community Project
Herpreet Uppal is a student at London University’s Royal Holloway College who volunteered with the Cambodia Community Project in July 2015. 

"I would tell people that no matter what reservations they may have, or how scary it may seem, to definitely travel to a totally different country and do something out of the norm. It is honestly the best thing you could ever do. It is incredible how much you can do giving some of your time and love to help people – it is truly a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to everyone."

Read Herpreet's story.

"I am so lucky to have had an opportunity to have been involved in this project!’

Holly Peterson, Canada - Peru Amazon Rainforest Project
Holly Peterson is an engineer from Canada who volunteered at Globalteer’s Peru Amazon Rainforest Project in August and September 2015. Here, she talks about her experience assisting with the project’s conservation programme and explaining why volunteering was a special experience where she learnt a lot about the unique birdlife of the Amazon.

"Working with the project was absolutely amazing! I learned a lot and I am certain that all the other volunteers did as well. I gained a real appreciation for how difficult this work can be and how much experience, practice, and study is necessary."

Read Holly's full story.

“Volunteering here was an amazing and rewarding experience that I’d highly recommend to anyone. Just do it. You can’t help but fall in love with the place and the people, and you’re guaranteed to leave with some of your greatest memories.”

Maria, Ireland - Peru Community Project
Maria is a teacher from Ireland who volunteered for two weeks at the Peru Community Project in July 2015. 

"The office staff and teachers are a dedicated, eager and enthusiastic bunch of people who really are doing amazing and inspirational work.  I was supported by the Globalteer and project staff from the second I arrived in Cusco to the very last day. Whether it was greeting me at the airport, showing me around the city, or answering every single question I had (no matter how big or small), they were there for me."

Read Maria's story

“A truly remarkable and unforgettable adventure”

Ann, UK - Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary
Ann is a retired teacher from the UK who volunteered at Globalteer’s Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary Project in July and August 2015.

"After 30 years of teaching I decided I needed a big adventure to celebrate my retirement. I booked through Globalteer to work in a wildlife rescue centre in Sulawesi Indonesia. It turned out to be so much more than I imagined, with more blood, sweat, tears, laughter and hope for the future of our planet than I could ever have thought possible."

Read Ann's story

"I cannot thank the staff and children at the project, or the staff at Globalteer enough for this life changing experience ..."

Lauren Franklin, USA - Peru Community Project
Lauren is a student from the USA who volunteered at the Peru Community Project in May and June 2015. 

"I am so grateful to have come across such a well-run and friendly organisation that allowed me to not only fulfill my university requirements, but also granted me the ability to work with amazing children, and still spend my weekends touring Peru. I cannot thank the staff and children at the project, or the staff at Globalteer enough for this life changing experience. I look forward to working with Globalteer again in a number of their other projects and would recommend the same to anyone who asked."

Read Lauren's story

“Overall, the experience was awesome. The programme really exceeded my expectations and was everything I had hoped for and more.”

Quinn, USA - Colombia Kids Project
Quinn Conover is a student from the USA who volunteered from March to May 2015 at the Colombia Kids Project.

"I spent 10 weeks volunteering with a local foundation for kids coming from broken families. My experience volunteering, without being cliché, was very humbling. These kids keep a positive attitude, and never complain about anything but instead had some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen."

Read Quinn's story

"I have never met people so appreciative, positive and enlightening in my life."

Tahli Gibson, Australia - Cambodia Community Project
Tahli Gibson is a chiropractor and former nanny from Australia who volunteered at Globalteer’s rural Cambodian community project in October and November 2014. Here, she talks about her experience assisting with the project’s health and nutrition programme and explains why volunteering was a life-changing experience for her that she will never forget:

“I first found Globalteer when I was searching on the internet for an honest and quality NGO in Cambodia where I felt I could make a meaningful contribution even in just a few weeks. I am glad to say that I couldn't have chosen a better place to spend my time in Cambodia than with the Globalteer-run community project..."

Read Tahli's full story and more Cambodia Community Project volunteer stories here.

"It's an amazing experience, it changes you completely - for the better!"

Vita Benitez Thomas, UK/Venezuela - Peru Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary
Vita (far left in photograph) was one of Globalteer's first volunteers at the Peru Rainforest WiIdlife Sanctuary in the Southern Amazon region of Madre de Dios. We caught up with her during her placement when she filmed this short video clip about her stay at the project...

"It is a sustainable project where the progress you make in only 2 weeks can benefit numerous communities for generations."

Yasmeen Hassan and Heidi Asquith, Australia - Cambodia Clean Water Project
Yasmeen Hassan (18, left) and Heidi Asquith (19, right), two Melbourne-based students, got their hands dirty during a two week stint at the Clean Water Project in Cambodia during their uni holidays in Jan 2014. When asked about their choice of placement they said,
“We wanted to volunteer at the Cambodia Clean Water Project as it is a sustainable project where the progress you make in only 2 weeks can benefit numerous communities for generations. This lasting and long-term impact was what we wanted to be a part of and Globalteer offered a safe and secure way to achieve this.”

Read Yasmeen and Heidi's full story and more Cambodia Clean Water Project stories here.

"Sitting there observing the children against a panoramic backdrop of mountains and a sun setting on the Oropesa town, I was bursting at the seams with mixed feelings..."

Irene Lee, Singapore - Peru Community Project
Singaporean volunteer Irene Lee came to Globalteer's Peru Community Project at Picaflor House near Cusco with her friend and returning volunteer Choi Kuen Lai. Here, she reflects on her three weeks wth the children at the project, the impact that she has had on the children and, just as importantly, the impact that they have had on her...

"The refrains of Marianne Faithfull's As Tears Go By kept reverberating in my mind as I sat and watched the children from Picaflor House play in the makeshift volleyball court..."

Read Irene's full story and more Peru Community Project volunteer stories here.

"If you would like to see two very different aspects of Cambodia then I would highly recommend doing both projects."

Beth Pedersen, UK - Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary and Cambodia Community Project
British volunteer Beth Pedersen completed a stint at two Globalteer projects in Cambodia between November 2013 and January 2014. She started with 2 weeks at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary in undeveloped Northeastern Cambodia, followed by 8 weeks in a school at the Cambodia Community Project in Siem Reap.

Despite being used to London life Beth adapted instantly to both projects, making great friends to travel with between the two projects and getting enough local knowledge to explore even more of Cambodia once her placements ended...

Read Beth's full story and other Cambodia Community Project volunteer stories here

"I began to feel I was with family as our bond grew - the team spirit was amazing and the work so rewarding."

Rhys Parry, UK - Peru Street Dog Rescue Project
36 year-old Welshman Rhys Parry volunteered at the Peru Dog Rescue Project for three weeks in October and November 2014. As a teacher and qualified dog psychologist and having already volunteered with animal projects in many parts of the world, he had a good idea of what he was letting himself in for when he applied for a placement with us in Cusco. But even he was blown away by the people and the dogs he met in Peru. You can read all about his experience, and more Peru Dog Rescue Project volunteer stories here...

"I loved the early Sunday morning volleyball and soccer tournaments, joining in games with the kids, helping out a small village by giving blankets, food and water purifying tablets...I could go on...and on..."

Kelly Prior, Australia - Cambodia Sports Project
18 year-old Queenslander Kelly Prior joined the Globalteer Sports Project for 12 weeks from September to November 2013. A qualified life guard and self-professed soccer obsessive, Kelly took a valuable break in between her physical education and nutrition studies to come share her fantastic skills and enthusiasm with the kids on the Globalteer Cambodia Sports project:

“I wanted a break from University after 6 months of studying straight after high school, however I didn’t have huge funds to keep me travelling overseas in places like Europe or America and I wanted to leave as soon as I could. Globalteer was suggested to me by one of my Mum’s friends who was currently teaching sewing in Cambodia at one of the projects Globalteer works with...”

Read Kelly's full story and more Cambodia Sports Project stories here

"To anyone who is considering volunteering with Globalteer, don't hesitate and pass up this opportunity of a lifetime...do it!"

Cloe, UK, Peru Community Project Volunteer
In my 3 months at the project there were so many highlights - seeing the children’s smiling, enthusiastic faces welcoming me into their classes and games; accompanying the children on a bus trip (very excitedly as it was the first time in the city for many of them) to a Cusco gallery displaying their amazing photography; watching the children perform traditional Peruvian dances to family members and local villagers; playing countless games such as volleyball, ten pin bowling with plastic bottles, pushing on the swings in the play park and twister, to name but a few, with their never ending energy! Having fun and getting messy in art classes; visiting a local family home and being invited to have a drink of Inca Cola with them and see the new “cleaner-burning” clay oven Globalteer had fitted into their kitchen.

Read Cloe's full story and more Peru Community volunteer stories here.

"You hear people say they have had life-changing experiences. This was."

Sally Bateman, Australia - Cambodia Community Project
Sally Bateman (second from right in photograph) is a 56 year-old former Pre-school assistant from Western Australia who volunteered with Globalteer’s Cambodia Community Project for 2 weeks in November 2014. For her placement Sally was assigned to a rural community project located 25km from Siem Reap were she helped local staff with English classes. Here is Sally’s account of her time at the project.
“I first heard about Globalteer in 2011 but it took me 3 years and several false starts before I made contact with them in early 2014 and was ready to commit to a project. I desperately wanted to work with children and read all about it on both the Globalteer website and through my contact with Globalteer's Cambodian Volunteer Coordinators..."

Read sally's full story and more Cambodia Community Project volunteer stories here.

"I feel more important now, when a little girl comes and takes my hand than I ever did in my suit, going to meetings."

Mary, UK - Peru Community Project volunteer
When I first started thinking about volunteering I did ask myself, what skills have I got that might be useful? I’m not a teacher or a nurse but then I thought, actually, I brought up two children, I can do this! And whilst I do speak some Spanish you don’t actually need to in order to be a good volunteer. You can communicate in different ways if you are determined and use common sense!

“I noticed a difference in the children here immediately. They seem to have no malice, they want to share things and they are so kind. There are no gender stereotypes - the boys are allowed to like pink and glitter. And they are generally so well behaved – hardly any paddies or tantrums. I only hope that it will say like that."

Read more Peru Community Project volunteer stories

"What Globalteer is doing in Siem Reap is amazing, all of the projects don’t just help the kids but the families and the wider community too."

Emily and Grace, Australia - Cambodia Community Project volunteers
Australian Friends Emily Fewtrell (pictured) and Grace Barker made the most of their long uni break by spending 2 weeks volunteering with Globalteer’s Cambodia Community Project in January 2014. The girls were placed at one of Globalteer’s new partner schools, situated a 50 minute tuk tuk ride away from Siem Reap, which provides free education to, amongst others, the children of families who live and work on a nearby rubbish dump.

Read Emily and Grace's full story and more Cambodia Community Project volunteer stories here

"My experience at the clean water project was so much more than I was hoping for… the two weeks I had were amazing, but it wasn’t nearly enough..."

Calvin Wong, Malaysia - Cambodia Clean Water Project
29 year-old Calvin Wong from Malaysia (far left) took 2 weeks off from his busy city job to join the Cambodia clean water project in July 2013. Calvin would jump on one of the mountain bikes provided by Globalteer and cycle the 20 minutes to the water filter construction site every morning. Here he describes a typical week to us:

“After the introduction, I was introduced to other volunteers and showed the steps that go into making a water filter. These steps include sifting sand, setting up the filter mould, mixing concrete, pouring concrete into the mould, removing the mould, washing the concrete filter, and finally painting it..."

Read Calvin's full story and more Cambodia Clean Water Project stories here

"I absolutely loved Siem Reap and was lucky enough to get involved with a really sustainable, worthwhile programme."

Alex, Australia - Cambodia Community Project volunteer
22 year-old Alex Findlay already had some volunteering experience back home in Melbourne, Australia when he decided to take up a placement with Globalteer’s Cambodia children’s project in Siem Reap. And he makes no bones about what motivates him to help underprivileged children, wherever they are, as he explained.
“There are few experiences in life more rewarding than having a positive influence on a child and their future. From a personal point of view I find that children have an incredible and seemingly innate ability to remind me of everything that's good in humanity and they never fail to bring out the best in me”.

Read more Cambodia Community Project volunteer stories.

"The enjoyment the kids get out of sport just makes it the most rewarding thing I have ever done!"

Rachel, Australia - Cambodia Sports Project volunteer
I have a lot of coaching experience so I really enjoyed helping with the weekend soccer tournaments and running successful sessions myself, but I don’t think you need lots of experience working with children in order to help on the sports project - As long as you are motivated and willing to get involved and not just sit on the side lines!
In fact I would recommend it to any of my friends as I know Globalteer are very organized, they are always there if you need any assistance. The staff at Globalteer are fantastic, the sports team are great! Trust me, everyone is great fun! And just as important, I know every cent paid is going to a good cause.

Read more Cambodia Sports Project volunteer stories

"I am not sure if it will have changed me – maybe I will notice more when I go home and see how people take everything for granted. This kind of experience can make people appreciate what they have more which is a good thing."

Theo, UK - Peru Dog Rescue volunteer
I have done way more than I ever thought I would. It is hard work – taking food and water to the project, lugging building materials like these really heavy adobe bricks up the hill to make improvements to the project. I have helped to deliver and resuscitate a litter of puppies, and I am going to assist at a neutering operation too (all done by a qualified vet). And if there are no volunteers the project director has to do it all herself or rely her friends. She is amazing. I’ve never met anyone with so much determination nor with so much passion.

Read more about the Peru Dog Rescue Project

"It's hot, sweaty work...but seeing the animals each day makes it worth it."

Fiona, Australia - Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary volunteer
Animals are the one thing that make me smile instantly, and I was in need of a few smiles. I had done a two week volunteering placement in Ecuador once before, and was looking to volunteer with orangutans in Borneo. But that wasn’t available so I looked around to see what else there was... I typed 'animals volunteer Asia' into Google and Globalteer was one of the links that came up.

I like Globalteer’s openness about where the money goes - my previous experience had left me with a bad taste – and I chose Indonesia as geographically it fit in well with my plans. From reading the daily duties it seemed similar to what I had done before so I thought it was a good choice to start with.

Read more Indonesia Wildfe Sanctuary volunteer stories

"The children, although not having a lot materially, are energetic, enthusiastic and happy. I was touched by their enthusiasm to learn as well as their happiness at play. The children’s energy will electrify anyone! I would say that children connect easily with volunteers who extend friendship, care and concern to them."

Choi, Singapore - Peru Community Project volunteer

"Medellin, the project, and the travel that has followed have been one of the best experiences of my life, and probably always will be."

Simon, UK - Colombia Kids Project volunteer
I found it immensely rewarding, lots of fun, and a confidence boost to know that with my limited Spanish I could hold the class’s attention, (most of the time!) and engage them in English learning with games, written tasks, and general interaction with all the children.  This was a surprise highlight for my time in Medellin.  Not to mention endless funny afternoons in the nearby park with football, basketball, skipping (I’d forgotten the joy of communal skipping) ice-creams and day-trips out to the cinema, the sustainable living and butterfly sanctuary site, local universities - one including a photography project of the children, and a massive rave in the project for one of the girls’ Quinceanera (15th birthday – it’s a big deal!), the list could go on.
Another volunteer who had been to the project prior to my stay had said the following words to me when considering whether or not to book that flight and pay the deposit…
"…don’t even think about holding back, just go for it."
Now I know exactly what he meant.  Medellin, the project, and the travel that has followed has been one of the best experiences of my life, and probably always be.

Read more Colombia Kids Project volunteer stories

"For those who volunteer their time and their hearts to those in Cambodia, this is a precious gift."

Kara, Australia

Jessica, USA
As soon as I got off the plane, I had a great feeling about Siem Reap. Then I was told I was going to be volunteering for the Giant Puppet Project.  I couldn't believe my luck, I always wanted to do art with kids. We had 350 kids who don't speak too much English make 8 giant puppets and have a parade.  It was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  The kids had a blast. I've returned home inspired to volunteer and make art.
Thank you!

"The work that is done there I feel is of great value and it is a truly amazing project to have had the chance to be involved in."

Simon, UK
Neil, USA
This was my 2nd Globalteer volunteer trip. Colombia is an amazing place. Our first day with the kids at Antorches, we took 13 kids to the zoo. Some had never been before.  We bonded with these kids and were able to discuss English names of the animals.This set the pace for the week to come. We taught English in small groups, which varied by age.  The kids were very receptive and loved to learn. We read stories, used flash cards, drew pictures and labeled the pictures with English names. I know that we made a huge impact on the kids, and they made a huge impact on us too.

"To be able to share this volunteer experience with so many great people from all over the world has been a gift."

Amy, New Zealand
Ceilidh dancing in Colombia May 2009 by Shoena Payne.
Though the overall security situation in Colombia has improved considerably in recent years, the threat of terrorism is still high in many parts of the country."

Reading the official line on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website the day before leaving made me anxious. Too late. My leave, flights and accommodation were all booked - no going back now. And anyway, why should something like the risk of being mugged, or even kidnapped by guerrillas, stop me from fulfilling a long held dream to volunteer with kids in Colombia?

Usually a confident traveller... Read more

"My advice to you if you are thinking of signing up for Globalteer… don't hesitate, go for it!"

Tom, UK
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