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See the World

  • Dec 14, 2008
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I first heard about International Student Volunteers (ISV) from my roommate, who had traveled to South America with them the summer before. I had passed up the chance to study abroad and I was looking for another way to travel with a group of people my age. My roommate said she had had a fantastic time, so I figured I could at least go to the informational meeting.

ISV is a program that offers students the opportunity to travel to another country and volunteer for 2 weeks, and then travel around the country on a guided tour for the following 2 weeks.

Of course the people leading the meeting were very enthused about the program, and they hooked me. I gave them my application and waited to hear if I would get in or not.

I did get accepted! Hurray. But now came the hard part, I had to decide if I was willing to pay a $500 non-refundable down payment before I was told what country I would be traveling to. Obviously the company does this so they get a guarantee you will not drop out, but still it was a lot of money to put up front.

I finally decided to send in the money with my top 6 choices for countries. A couple of months later I received a letter letting me know I had been placed in the New Zealand group and was also given the option to travel to Fiji at the end of my trip. Of course I said yet.

I arrived in LA and traveled 12 hours with the rest of my group. Their were 40 of us in total. We spent the first 2 weeks in the country, living in a cabin with no heat, water that came from the mountain side, and little in the form of entertainment besides a ping-pong table. During the day we planted plants through out the countryside and at night we met in groups to learn about New Zealand and its natural habitat. It was an amazing experience.

The next two weeks we worked our way through the country. I went horse-back riding, sky-dived, zorbed, rafted in caves, hiked on glaciers, and made life long friends in the process.

My last week in Fiji was just icing on the cake.

If you are in your 20's and looking for a way to see the world I highly recommend this organization. It is pricy, but you do get a good amount for what you pay for. Plus the experience and friends you make are invaluable.

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December 14, 2008
I've always wanted to do something like this! I think I'll def be doing some sort of volunteer work in Africa sometime in the near future. In college in chose the study abroad route...but it was also amazing! It actually encouraged me to apply for a program called MountBatten where you live in London for a year, work in banks and law firms, get paid, and get free housing!! Hmmm I smell a review coming...
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Stephanie Skidmore ()
Ranked #401
I am a recent graduate trying to navigate myself through the real world and at times finding it harder and easier than expected. Go figure. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degree in Art History … more
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