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:
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.
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!
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.
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 »
Costa Rica, South America
It was the wonderful people. This is what I’d say if you asked me my favorite thing about volunteering in Costa Rica. I didn’t fully realize their warmth until I landed in Dallas, Texas on my way home. Once back in the states, people were noticeably colder, and I’d only been gone for 16 days!
Ya’an City, CHINA
My experience with GoEco was quite amazing. It had been my dream to hold a panda bear. I explored my options for such an opportunity and came across volunteering in China. GoEco made the whole process extremely easy and worked with me on finding a volunteer placement for a week at the reserve, as well as organizing the logistics of fulfilling my dream of being able to hold a panda during my stay there. Continue reading Carolyn's post...
Arava Desert, Israel
It was a rather spontaneous idea to volunteer in Israel. I applied with GoEco, just 6 weeks before, to do the Long Term Wildlife Program. Regardless, GoEco made sure that the application process went quickly and smoothly. So on the 15th of January I found myself in Jerusalem at Abraham Hostel, already talking to other travelers. It was so easy to get to know other people, as a lot of them had also come by themselves. Continue reading Henrik;s post...
Cape Town, South Africa
My trip to Cape Town, South Africa was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. From the moment my wonderful project coordinator greeted me with a warm welcome as I got out of the van, I knew I was in the right place.
Volunteering in South Africa at the Tiger and Lion Park was the most rewarding experience of my life. It was amazing to interact with the beautiful animals on a day to day basis and get to know their individual personalities and observe their behavior with one another. I knew when I signed up that the animals alone were reason enough for going, but what I did not expect was the time spent with the other volunteers to impact me so greatly. more »
When I first arrived at the Mountain Eco-Lodge my first thought was that I had found the beauty of Switzerland in the heart of the Middle East!
When you think about being a volunteer in Israel, immediately you see in your imagination a picture of holy places, sea, and of course, camels in the desert. In reality, Israel actually has a wide variety of different places to offer. One of these special places is Nimrod. Continue reading Yan's post...
San José, Costa Rica
The Costa Rica volunteer experience was nothing like I expected, and I had an amazing time. I met friends and worked with people from all over the world who were all doing amazing volunteer work across Latin America, and just had the right ideas about life. Continue reading Kelsey's post...
Masai Mara, Kenya
Last October 2011, I spent two weeks volunteering in Kenya in the Masai Mara Big Cat, Wildlife Research & Conservation Project. What can I say about the project? … It was amazing!! Continue reading Marion's post...
Gansbaai, South Africa
My adventure volunteering in South Africa at the Great White Shark Conservation project was a fantastic experience. Being able to see these beautiful creatures “up close” was very exciting!
Zululand, South Africa
Volunteering in Africa at the Big Cat, Elephant, and Rhino Conservation project was a thrilling opportunity. In March 2012, I spent two weeks working on the project. Each volunteer is able to select which project they want to be involved with. Continue reading Jeff's post...
Barcelona, Spain and Tel Aviv, Israel
We’re excited to present you with two new internship projects this month that are located in two of the hottest cities on the Mediterranean Sea! Both ranking in the Top 10 Beach Cities of the World by National Geographic, Barcelona and Tel Aviv have everything you could want from a summer abroad: great food, lively culture, endless sunshine, and over 4 miles of beaches between them Whether your catching the sunrise in Barcelona or the sunset in Tel Aviv you are sure to have an unforgettable experience on these programs, and all for only 350 USD! Continue reading this post to find out more...
Chiang Rai, Thailand
It was an experience in it of itself – living in a bamboo hut in the forest, working with the Akha people – it was awe-inspiring. The Akha village I volunteered at in Thailand is a unique place where people live by their own two hands, all the while full of love and joy. Continue reading Tamar's post...
Going to africa was a lifelong dream of mine. The experience was worth all the long flights and excruciatingly painful layovers in the world. Upon arrival at my destination, I was greeted by 2 lion cubs at the orphanage. There was a 5 month old male & a 20 month old female. It was such a magical encounter. Continue reading Winnie's post