Welcome to the GoEco volunteer blog!
Our job here at GoEco is to set up volunteers with eco-friendly and humanitarian projects all over the world. Inside this blog you’ll find a wealth of experiences from our alumni about their involvement volunteering abroad.
If you are an adventurous and ecologically concerned traveler who wants to be immersed in a local culture to become familiar with the local people, customs, and environment by giving back to the community and to the Earth, we here at GoEco have a program to suit your needs. So check out some of the experiences of our volunteers and head over to our website for more information on how you can get in on the fun!
Check out our latest posts below or skip to a category on the right:
Curieuse Island, Seychelles
Flying over the islands as I reached the Seychelles I couldn’t help but smile, I was about to spend the next month living in paradise. The Seychelles are known for their stunning beaches, and beautiful tropical climate (in other words, my perfect place), and I was embarking on an adventure to help at the Wildlife Conservation Expedition. Continue reading Sarah's post
Arava Desert, Israel
Before I embarked on my GoEco adventure, I was living and working on a kibbutz near Gaza. I had no preconceived expectations of how GoEco ran their organization or how they treated their paying customers; I only had my kibbutz programme as a benchmark but I was excited to start volunteering at the Desert Wildlife project. Continue reading Deborah's blog
As part of a six month travelling adventure with my partner Josh, we spent two weeks volunteering in Zimbabwe at the African Wildlife Orphanage which is located just outside Bulawayo. This orphanage has been owned and run by the very dedicated Wilson family for more than 40 years. Our time there can best be described as exciting, interesting, fun and just plain full on! Continue reading Carly's post
Ya’an City, China
It’s amazing how quickly & densely memories can gather in a short span of time. I volunteered at the Giant Panda Conservation project in China for only 2 weeks, yet I went away feeling so filled to the brim with incredible memories and deep feelings.
Maybe it’s because I managed to somehow cram so many activities into that limited time frame. Indeed, being rather hyper, I couldn’t seem to sit around for an extended period of time just watching TV in the lounge room – I had to go out & explore! Continue reading Connie's post
Cameronal, Costa Rica
As I stepped off of the plane in Costa Rica I thought to myself: “What have I gotten myself into? I am in a country where I don’t know a single person, and I hardly speak any Spanish. I am not up for this!” However, the moment I stepped into the home of my host family, my nerves subsided. I got to spend one week with my Tico family in San Jose, and they were so incredibly warm and welcoming. Even with my minimal Spanish skills, I felt a part of the family. Continue reading Ashlyn's post
After discovering GoEco through a local organization, I decided to partake in an internship abroad. After reviewing the projects, I decided that volunteering in Israel at the Mountain Eco Lodge would give me the experience I was looking for. I was embarking on an opportunity to discover a new country with its local population, its customs, religion and lifestyle. I turned to Israel, a unique country with its numerous and diverse landscapes, particular mode of life and rich history filled with cultural and religious significance.
Hartebeespoort, South Africa
My name is Jens; I am 21 years old and from Germany. I volunteered at the Wildlife Sanctuary near to Johannesburg, for a period two weeks. It the first big journey I had taken on my own and besides volunteering in South Africa, I had also planned a three week trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana afterwards (I can only recommend this combination). I always wanted to visit the southern part of Africa and get close to animals on a deeper level than what is possible as a normal “Kruger Tourist.” I looked for an animal sanctuary near Johannesburg and found this wonderful place! Continue reading Jens' post
Go right now, right here! Pack your bag, book your flight tickets! You’re going to volunteer in Israel, specifically the lovely town Mughar. The Multicultural Eco Summer Camp is waiting for you. … Or wait a minute, remove your factor 50 sun screen from your backpack again! If your ideal vacation is a trip to Sunny Beach with colourful umbrella-filled drinks and parties ‘till the break of dawn, you can stay at home. Or just go to Tel Aviv.
If, on the other hand, you are ready to cover your shoulders and knees for 15 days, not drink alcohol, and get an unforgettable insight into the Drusian culture, you can repack the sunscreen. Continue reading Veronika's post here
Durban, South Africa
My adventure began in the middle of May; I was traveling by myself at 22 years old from the United States to volunteer in South Africa at the Elephant and Rhino Conservation project. After over thirty hours of flying I arrived in Durban, South Africa, and was met by a representative from the project. I, along with several other volunteers, was loaded into a van and made the two-hour ride to the game reserve. Continue reading Chelsea's blog
In January 2014, I volunteered for two weeks in Goa, India. I had the experience of my life; I loved meeting the other volunteers, exploring the area during the introduction week, spending time at the projects and learning so much about not only Indian culture but the cultures of the volunteers around me as well. I can’t say that I have a favourite part of volunteering in Goa at the Teaching and Orphanage Work project; the whole experience was incredible and suited me down to the ground! Continue reading Alex's post
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
My name is Gabriella and I volunteered at the Tiger, Lion, and Wildlife Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for 5 weeks. It has always been my dream to work with lions and tigers and I finally fulfilled it.
My jaw dropped when I was taken for a tour of the park and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all the magnificent animals. Continue reading Gabriella's post
Thanks to Go Eco I had the chance to spend 8 amazing weeks volunteering at an international hostel in Rome.
When I first arrived at the hostel I was introduced to the staff. I had no idea they would become my close friends after just a few short days. It’s fair to say that I had plenty of expectations about what the hostel would be like but the reality far surpassed my imagination.There is nothing basic about this place. The hostel is well-known for being a place to party and the fun is all around you thanks to the bar and a live DJ every night. Continue reading Pablo's blog
Pacific Coast, Costa Rica
It was almost a year ago that I started to plan my big trip. I knew that I wanted to go to an exotic location that would be full of wildlife and culture. After hearing stories and seeing pictures from friends who had traveled the world, I decided that Central America offered everything I was looking for…and a lot more! Continue reading Lior's post
Druze Village, Israel
I had already been living abroad on my own for a year but the idea of spending two weeks volunteering at a summer camp in an Israeli Druze village without knowing anyone was still pretty daunting. Although I had prior experience working with kids, teaching English to a group of seventy-five Druze children, aged seven to thirteen, still seemed a bit intimidating. Continue reading Xin's post
Chiang Mae, Thailand
Flash back – I’m feeding bananas to two baby elephants at the same time. This picture highlights the most memorable event of my time with these special creations. We are in the forest in northern Thailand and I am with several volunteers and staff to help with the feeding. Usually the elephants would forage on bamboo and other vegetation; however it is treat day which is much appreciated by elephants and humans alike.
As with any new experience, I was a little nervous and apprehensive as I had no idea what to expect when volunteering in Israel. Those feelings quickly disappeared upon meeting my fellow volunteers at the GoEco orientation where we were briefed on what to expect and all of our questions were answered.
City OR Place, Country
I have been home for almost 2 months and am missing Porto every day. The experience I had, volunteering in Portugal, was one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I started by interning at Porto Spot Hostel for 8 weeks, after just a short time there I knew it wasn’t long enough and extended my stay for an extra 3 weeks. I was required to do an internship for my minor, but I never dreamed the experience would be this incredible!
Buenos Aires/Patagonia, Argentina
I just want to start by saying that travelling to the country of Argentina was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The people there are incredible and the country is beautiful and has such a unique culture.
My Orphanage and Teaching Project was located in Limuru, Kenya. I stayed at the Brackenhurst establishment and worked at a private primary school. The day at the school started at 9:00 and ended at 15:00. The day was split into three sessions, and three subjects predominated: maths, English, and Swahili. Religious studies and some others like geography were occasionally present in the timetable. It was difficult to get involved in the Swahili classes but I taught an English class and an R.S. class, and marked the books every day in maths (as the children finished they would bring them to me for marking).
St. Lucia, South Africa
I always wanted to help people and children around the world, to contribute in their lives, and make a difference. Volunteering in South Africa was my perfect opportunity.
I entered into the world of the Zulu Tribe. I learned their language so I could communicate with the villagers and the children in their native tongue, and I learned a bit about their customs.
The most exciting part about my journey was learning about the different cultures and religions. You can read about such things or watch them on TV but it is nothing like experiencing them first hand. I think it’s very important to learn that there are people in this world who were raised differently from you, have different religions, eat different kinds of food but yet you can still relate to them in so many ways.
My volunteer work at the Zimbabwe Wildlife Orphanage was phenomenal, one of those life-altering experiences that you don’t know how to begin explaining to others. But here’s my attempt: I was picked up from the airport by the owners. Coming from Finland, you can imagine the journey was long and exhausting, but I could not resist asking dozens of questions regarding my work, the animals, and volunteering in Zimbabwe in general.
Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
For my GoEco experience, I volunteered on the Big 5 Wildlife Research and Conservation project in South Africa. For three weeks, I stayed on a private game reserve. I have never grown so much or learned as much as I did during such a concentrated period of time.
Lakonikos Bay, Greece
Witnessing baby sea turtles crawl out of the sand like little ants is a memory that I will cherish forever. It was the night of the full moon and we were giving a public presentation at our campground about the plight of the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles, when a gentleman whispered in the Presenter’s ear…
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
There were so many exciting experiences and opportunities I had during my stay at the Tiger and Lion Park. As soon as I arrived I was greeted by the lion and tiger cubs and introduced to all of the other wildlife. My jaw dropped to the floor when I met Ice, the white Bengal Tiger, who was 8 weeks at the time.
I love this place! After a previous Israel tour program, I extended my stay to continue volunteering in Israel for the Jerusalem Hostel Marketing and Travel Internship. While I was there, I found out that they were voted the 8th Best Large Hostel in the world, according to the Hostelworld.com 2013 hostel awards. With this amazing hostel as my home-base for traveling in Israel, I was able to meet tons of other travelers and do more than I ever expected.
Arava Desert, Israel
I just graduated from an Ecology degree and got some time off, so I decided to spend my time volunteering in Israel at the Desert Wildlife Program. I have worked in a tropical Nature Reserve before and it would be interesting to learn about the desert wildlife through this opportunity.
I would love to talk about my experience volunteering in Zimbabwe with the Wildlife Orphanage. I had booked for a three months placement. I was met at the airport by the lady of the family, Nicky and was housed in a cute little brick cabin by myself as requested. It had a bed and a dresser which was enough. The bathrooms were about 50 feet away.
Limpopo Province, South Africa
Volunteering in South Africa was the single most incredible experience of my life. I got to live in the bush, surrounded by incredible, exotic animals that I had only ever seen in movies, while having the adventure of a lifetime. I am a Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Bio sciences major, so I’ve had experience with animals, but this was everything I expected and more.
I left a little piece of my heart in Camaronal beach. When I first arrived at the Sea Turtle Conservation program, it was in the back of a pick-up truck. Camaronal was located in the middle of nowhere it seemed. The air was hot, humid, and there was a slight breeze blowing. All of the facilities, the main area, the kitchen, even the volunteer house were rustic. If anyone wanted to escape the real world with all its technology, this would be the place to do it.
Gansbaai, South Africa
Volunteering with GoEco has been an unforgettable experience. I knew I wanted to do the Great White Shark Conservation project as soon as I read the description online a year ago. I’ll admit I was a little skeptical seeing as how I found it online and had never previously heard of GoEco. However, it turned out to be even better than the description had depicted.
Today is my last day volunteering in Cambodia, time to say goodbye to everyone I met… and this beautiful country. I spent five weeks here and totally fell in love with the country, the experience, and in particular the kids at school. Since I first arrived in Cambodia I felt it was even more different than what I had expected, especially in Samraong, the town where we stayed and did most of the volunteering work.
Arava Desert, Israel
I spent a month volunteering in Israel at the Desert Eco Building program. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I did the program with four of my friends, which worked out nicely because not only was it our first trip together, but also being there together helped us get used to the place very easily.
My mother and I just came back from volunteering in China at the Giant Panda Center. There were not enough hours in the day to feel like we got enough time with the amazing creatures. We went to bed thinking how we just can’t wait until we wake up the next day.
Sing Buri, Thailand
I decided to take part in volunteer tourism because I really wanted to experience another culture but at the same time I also wanted to help out those that needed it. GoEco was absolutely amazing in helping me find some volunteer work in Thailand and so I set forth on my Sing Buri Orphanage adventure.
I arrived to the Teaching in Buddhist Monasteries project already a bit homesick as I had already been in India for five months, doing a semester abroad. I saw the opportunity with GoEco in Nepal about midway through my stay in Hyderabad. I’m so glad I saw it when I did because I signed up on the spot, whereas had I seen it at the end of my stay, perhaps I wouldn’t have jumped on it so quickly and then could have missed out on one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I was a participant in the GoEco Ecotourism in Central Jerusalem program, fall of 2012. I chose the program because I had attended a study trip and decided to extend it, so I needed something rewarding to do with my time in Israel. Although the placement is in a fairly new hostel, it is very well run and has 24 hour staff, common rooms, and a tour to just about every attraction in Israel. As a volunteer, you can go on all of them free! (A fantastic perk, as I ended up attending all of them.)
I had the most phenomenal summer volunteering in Spain at the Eco-friendly Hospitality Internship in Barcelona! The staff were amazing, the program was fabulous, and the city is unbeatable! I can’t recommend it enough… Definitely check it out!
This previous summer (Summer 2012) I traveled with GoEco to Valencia, to take part in a series of conservation projects around the Valencia Region. I can summarize my experience in exactly one word, AMAZING! From the beginning, GO-ECO helped me find a suitable program and made the entire process so much easier.
San Carlos, Costa Rica
Dear Volunteer… You have made an exciting decision to give your time and effort to an organization that can desperately use your help, congratulations! The world needs more people like you. Now you are likely looking for a project that is a good fit for you. Maybe my experience will help guide your decision…
I’m a 26 year old guy from Lithuania, currently living and studying in Aberdeen, Scotland. This Summer I experienced the most wonderful travel adventure, I can safely say it was the best time of my life. Fed up with Scottish weather and the workload from my university, I decided to take a gap year…
Gansabaai, South Africa
Volunteering with GoEco on the Great White shark Conservation Program has been a most rewarding experience! Being able to go out on the ocean almost every day, seeing Great Whites 20cms from your face, and helping manage a commercial shark cage diving vessel is possibly the most exciting thing I have ever done!
Volunteering with GoEco
This post goes out to anyone who is on the fence about volunteering internationally with GoEco. Before you make your final decision you should consider all aspects and possible effects of the trip. I say this because I learned it the hard way and did not prepare myself for how completely life changing it was, so my advice is… be ready.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Recently, I spent my block leave in Port Elizabeth volunteering at the Penguin Conservation Program. Before i started my assignment, I learnt that there was a recent admission of about 20 wildlife penguins adults and chicks that were found stranded at a nearby beach- all covered in oil, sad casualties of the oil spills which have becoming alarmingly common in the region.
San Jose, Costa Rica
When my plane landed in San José, I was as nervous as I was excited. It was my first time traveling on my own, and I had no idea what to expect. However, after five minutes of talking to the driver from the Teaching and Social Work program in San José, an incredibly friendly man full of stories about his city and himself, I forgot to be nervous. more »
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
As the plane touched down in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, I could not have been more excited to start my time volunteering in zimbabwe with the Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation project. I was welcomed with open arms (and paws) and quickly settled into life at the project. more »