This trip to Australia is life-changing to me! I have learnt so much about how to protect the Earth by putting into individual effort, and how to better work in a team as well as enjoying the fun of learning about different culture.
Through two weeks’ of tiring but exhilarating voluntary work, I understood how important it is to protect the Earth. Small steps can make big differences. I learnt how to do basic recycle, such as compost, desperate waste collection; I learnt that the consumption of bottled water, which could be less clean than tap water, has created tons of plastic waste; I learnt about how seriously the cutting of trees and construction of buildings along the Asian east coast has negatively threatened migrating birds’ foraging habitat.
In addition, since I, as a Chinese, was immersed in both Australian and American culture, allowing me to enjoy stunning Australian sceneries in the farm and conservation park as well as lots of American jokes and food. It’s amazing to cooked together, lived together, and talked about different life with students just like me all around the States!
Going to Australia was on of the nest decisions I have ever made. Growing up in a small town I have always wanted an adventure, and I always wanted to do something bigger. This trip gave me the opportunity to do both. Being able to look back at the two weeks of volunteering, and seeing what my friends and I had accomplished was overwhelming. It is an incredible feeling. Then after two weeks of hard work, you get two weeks on adventure. We did things I would have never imagined doing. I made new friends and new everlasting memories.
ISV has changed my life, I got a taste of a different way of living. Life was simple yet so exciting while traveling with my ISV Group. I worked in the Wild Mountains, a beautiful rain forest located near Rathdowney Queensland, with 13 other Volunteers who soon became a little family ill never forget and will always love. The Wild Mountain taught us how to live in this wonderful world off the resources earth provides us. We learned about sustainable living, while planting trees, doing track work, eating a vegetarian diet, and so much more. Traveling alone takes you out of your comfort zone and taught me so much more than I had expected to take from this trip. While volunteering I also learned about myself and what we I am capable of doing. ISV showed me what is important in life. Making an impact felt great and I will continue to do so in my own community now that I have the education.
The last 2 weeks of my trip was the Adventure Tour, it was an exciting 2 weeks of nonstop laughter and doing crazy things such as sky diving and white water rafting. One of my favorite activities was when we went scuba diving/snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Floating above it and just realizing how beautiful this world we live in is and how lucky I was to have the opportunity to travel to this amazing country with this awesome group.
ISV brought me life long friends and memories I’ll always share and never forget. I highly recommend traveling with International Student Volunteers. I have traveled with my family, I have also studied abroad but I have never walked away from a trip feeling this satisfied.
This program in Australia provided me with many great first experiences. This trip was my first time out of the country and I got to go to a country I have always dreamed about going to. I have volunteered in the past but never for two weeks or on a sanctuary, where I got to work with many Australian animals including some endangered animals. I participated in many things that I have never done before such as surfing, white water rafting, rappelling, and scuba diving. I conquered my fear of being too afraid to try new things and travel to incredible places because of this project. I made a difference in this world and met some amazing people that I hope to cross paths with again someday. I would not take back the experiences that I had working hands on with Australian wildlife and the pride that I felt when we accomplished something. This program has showed me what great things can happen when a group of ambitious volunteers work together to achieve something. I learned a lot more about teamwork and how to be a better team player. I have had many life changing experiences and would not trade them for the world.
Sometimes some people get lucky enough to experience something so life-changing that it makes everything make sense and fall perfectly into place; this is what ISV has done for me. ISV gives you a concrete purpose. They tell you the “why” and “so what” behind the volunteer work that you do; they show you exactly how you are making a difference and who and what it will effect immediately and 5, 10, 20 years down the road. I volunteered in Little Desert just outside of Nhill, Victoria, Australia. Our group of 16 students planted 11,470 trees in under two weeks on the Salvana property owned by Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA). I physically saw a change that I was a part of. Our project leader, Alex, and a CVA employee at Little Desert, Ben, made our efforts take on a whole new meaning by explaining just what 11,470 trees would do in the years to come. We didn’t just plant trees; we created a habitat for animals-a safe place for them to come back to Little Desert, make a home, breed, re-wild the area. However, it wasn’t until a little conversation at the Night Markets in Cairns that this all really sunk in.
I was walking through the Night Markets in Cairns doing some souvenir shopping when I stopped at a small shop where two men were making jewelry. I started talking to them and they picked up on my American accent and asked what I was doing in Australia. I explained that I was there with ISV, had completed a volunteer project, and was now traveling up the east coast. This stranger whole-heartedly, sincerely thanked me. He expressed pure gratitude and told me how wonderful it was that I would take the time to do that for his country. I was taken back; I hadn’t realized until that moment how big of an impact we had all made. We didn’t just plant trees; we truly impacted our world in more ways than one.
After finally saving up to go to Australia, ISV gave me a trip better than i could imagine. Everyone has their ideal trip in mind before leaving, but ISV thoroughly overachieved mine. Walking along the coast seeing pods of Dolphins in Byron Bay, Skydiving in Cairns over part of the amazing Great Barrier Reef, and then just the next day Scuba diving in the Great Barrier reef. While in Australia i happened to get sick With Pneumonia, even with that in mind, id recommend this trip to anyone!!
TLDR – It was the best trip I have ever taken and I highly recommend it if you are a student looking to travel to Australia.
I was sitting in class one day, when a teacher informed us that there was someone here to talk about volunteering and traveling in another country. When the representative mentioned Australia, I was very interested as I have always wanted to travel there. After learning more I immediately signed up for their 4 week program.
What happens then is you travel to your country of choice (pending availability) and volunteer your time for 2 weeks living with a host organization. These organizations are local to that country that need volunteers to help them with various tasks with he goal of making our world better. I was put on a conservation project working on a Wallaby Refuge and Breeding Program. What ever project you are put on, you get to live for 2 weeks immersed with that local organization with an ISV project leader which really helps you get a sense of what your country is really like.
After your 2 weeks of working with volunteers from all around the world, you really form bonds with them, and become great friends with them to the point where I still talk to mine. But after you are done volunteering, you get to spend the next 2 week touring around your host country, in this case Australia. We travel from Cairns to Sydney (North to South on the East Coast). ISV has a set of amazing activities planned for you to enjoy at each place you stop at. I defiantly recommend doing the Optional Activity Package as it is worth the money. They also have a bunch of activities outside of ISV that they have discounted with.
All of the people are very professional and amazing at ISV and I highly recommend this trip. And reservations I had about the value of this program were soon forgotten after all the fun I had volunteering and traveling around Australia.
My trip to Australia for volunteer purposes is one that I can’t even put into words. It was the first time I’d ever been out of the US and I was very scared, but thanks to the people in ISV, I have the desire to do it again. I worked really hard at the Walkabout Wildlife Park because that is the whole point of volunteering, but I also made new friends and got to experience Australian culture and beauty. Kangaroos hopped near my workplace and I learned new skills like chopping trees and working on an electrical fence. After working all day, we sat and talked while eating new dishes. All of us contributed and that is what made the whole experience fun and exciting. If you decide to go, it will be the best $5,000 dollars you spend for a 4-week trip. Make a difference. Learn a new culture. Be a good citizen. Volunteer and have fun simultaneously. You will never forget the adventure because I can’t!!
I have never been overseas before so this was a new experience. I volunteered on Phillip Island where you get to see and learn amazing new things each and every day. I learned more about the different type of weeds that are not indigenous to the island as well as more about the little penguins and koalas. After volunteering on Phillip Island, we met up with the other groups and moved our way up the coast doing things that I never thought I would ever get to do. I met so many amazing people that we can look back on our memories from when we were all a part of this amazing experience. Highly recommended to those who have never gone overseas before.
I have never been on anything like this before in my life. I had my project at Waterfall Springs, a wallaby sanctuary. We did some work repairing fences and tick proofing wallaby pins. Some of the work can be a little repetitive and stressful but once you see the end result and a happy wallaby you realize it was all worth it. The people you work with become lifelong friends that you never want to lose touch with, and your project leader will be someone you look up to for the rest of your career as an environmentalist. Don’t miss out on such a great experience.
I showed up to Australia and I looked around the group that the leader said was mine and I didn’t know anyone. To be honest, we were all scared, but we all shared this want and need and drive to volunteer to the best of our ability and that made the 2 weeks simply amazing. No one wanted to be on their cell phones, no one missed home. Everyone wanted to see everyone else succeed, and ISV get’s those students that want to give back and I think that in itself is what causes for such dynamic groups. After seeing more stars than I ever thought possible there is no way that I can see the world the same way again. Now that I am home, I’ve made little changes just to make sure that I can curve my carbon footprint. The memories and friends I made are priceless and I would gladly pay to make those 2 weeks happen all over again.
During my trip with ISV my project group volunteered in the Wild Mountains. This property is a buffer land that sits on the boarder of Queensland and New South Whales within the bush to try and protect the neighboring national park from invasive species. I was very skeptical of this project at first because I am a biology major with an emphasis in pre-med. Plants and conservation were an area I was not familiar with. However, between the helpfulness of ISV and their staff and the group of students I was paired with, this experience quickly became the best experience of my entire life. Not only was the volunteer project new and challenging, but also so rewarding. Walking around the property and seeing the work that previous ISV students had completed was one of the most amazing feelings. It made all of us realize that we truly were rebuilding Australia’s amazing sub-tropical rain forest. After the volunteer portion of the trip came the adventure tour. As the title says “life begins at the end of you comfort zone,” you definitely take very large steps away from what you think is a comfortable place. From Skydiving to scuba diving to repelling off of cliffs, you get to see everything Australia has to offer as you travel down their eastern coast. On this trip I not only gained new insight on Australia and the world but I also made a group of friends that will last me a lifetime.
As a student that is more involved with animals and marine ecosystems I was a bit skeptical about being up in the mountains and working with plants. I knew they were important, but I figured I’d let the plant people deal with the plants and I can worry about the animals. Once I was there and engulfed in the trees my views completely changed. I saw the importance and beauty of each individual tree and plant and the real dangers of others. One friend brushed her hand on a stinging tree and she was hurting for days and she still says that her hand will sting from time to time. Each creature, plant or animal, deserves appreciation and respect and we can just focus on one little aspect of our world, but all of them as a whole.