Every week, the GoEco Content Team reviews feedback from returning volunteers and assesses the impact (and enjoyment) of our various programs.
Here is a list of our 10 best programs for 2020, based on volunteer feedback:
1. Zimbabwe- African Wildlife Orphanage
For the second year in a row, our African Wildlife Orphanage is our number one program of the year, based on volunteer feedback! GoEco is proud to work with one of the largest (and most successful) rehabilitation and release centers in Africa. In just these recent months, this center took in an abandoned vervet monkey, 11 herons who lost their homes due to deforestation, a young kudu antelope who had been injured, and three crocodiles who were rescued from an illegal tourist attraction. Volunteers who want to directly contribute to the rehabilitation and conservation of various wildlife species can learn from the best at this program.
2. Australia - Port Stephens Wildlife Sanctuary
Our recently-added wildlife sanctuary program in Port Stephens, Australia has quickly become a popular and most-loved program! This sanctuary, located near Newcastle, is home to a wide variety of species that are endangered or that have been rescued. Many of the young animals were abandoned and orphaned, prior to their rescue. This sanctuary has a goal to release at least 10 rehabilitated animals each year. They generally rescue at least 40 animals each year. Animals at this sanctuary range from local wildlife species such as koalas and kangaroos to exotic animals such as lemurs. There are also cows, goats and other domestic animals in need of care here.
3. Maldives - Marine and Turtle Conservation
If you’ve been on the GoEco Instagram account, you have definitely seen photographic proof of our volunteers having an unbelievably amazing experience in the Maldives! Aside from living in the most dreamy, tropical oasis, our volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside professional marine biologists to rehabilitate sea turtles at a local center. Volunteers can be involved in all aspects of the rehabilitation cycle- it simply depends on what is occurring at the time of the volunteer session. Our volunteers have taken part in everything, from rescuing turtles caught in ghost nets, to feeding and measuring turtles in rehab, to taking part in swimming rehabilitation sessions, to finally releasing healthy turtles!
4. Nepal - Teaching in Buddhist Monasteries
Volunteers who are searching for a culturally immersive, teaching program should look no further. Engage in positive cultural exchange with Buddhist monk students on this unique program. In addition to helping students practice their English speaking skills, our volunteers have the opportunity to actually live in a Buddhist monastery! What better way is there to learn about and to and immerse one’s self into another culture? A past volunteer of this program wrote an entire blog post about how playing soccer with the monk students gave him a better insight into this culture.
5. Costa Rica - Animal Rescue and Conservation
“The one with the sloths” has made it onto our Top Ten again this year! This wildlife rescue program is absolutely timeless. Costa Rica is home to over 220 species of reptiles, 160 amphibians, 205 species of mammals, and 850 species of birds. This program alone offers volunteer placements at three different wildlife sanctuaries. Moreover, volunteers have the chance to begin their Costa Rican volunteer experience by living with a host family for one week while they partake in an exciting cultural immersion week, including Spanish language lessons, salsa lessons and more. This program has it all - amazing wildlife species, meaningful volunteer work, cultural immersion and so much fun!
6. Israel - Vegan Bakery Internship
Vegan or not, this international internship is an amazing opportunity! Whether you want to be a chef, learn about running a business or want to contribute to a city in an eco-friendly way, you can achieve such goals with this internship. By preparing vegan food each day, you will be reducing the carbon footprint of food products, learning from a professional chef and enjoying the unique atmosphere of Israel's most vegan-friendly city ofTel Aviv! The Vegan Bakery Internship is one of our most popular international internship opportunities, and also one that is just as much fun as it is work.
7. Australia - Great Barrier Reef Conservation
Anyone interested in marine biology already knows what an amazing, unbelievable place on Earth the Great Barrier Reef is. This reef is the largest in the world and is home to more than 1,500 different species of fish! There is no marine conservation opportunity that could be home to such a diverse range of fish. Helping to restore and preserve the largest reef in the world is the opportunity of a lifetime. Another great thing about this program is that no participants need to be experienced- everyone can join, earn their PADI Open Water certification, and dive into conserving this area!
8. Peru - Cuzco Health and Medical Care
Doctors, nurses and even students can all contribute greatly to the health care system in the popular Cuzco area of Peru. This rare program has opportunities for both health and medical care. The healthcare placement is for students of health science, nursing and pre-med. The other, more hands-on option of medical care, is designed for licensed medical professionals or those in their third or fourth year of medical school. Placements include local hospitals, clinics, elder homes or related institutions. This program allows anyone interested in health and medicine to contribute, which is rare for medical volunteer opportunities. Our volunteers of all backgrounds have had only good things to say about their time in Cuzco.
9. Cape Verde- English Teaching
A new program with raving reviews! Gain experience teaching English in the tropical island nation of Cape Verde. Although recently added to the GoEco website, this program has received amazing reviews and feedback from its first round of volunteers, which was a student group from Spain. Cape Verde is a popular tourist attraction, and a stable, affordable African country. The children here are often neglected, and need companionship just as much as they need access to a good education that includes English language lessons. So join us in the beach town of Tarrafal and make a difference in the lives of these children!
10. Japan - Sustainable Village Agriculture
The newest of the new are GoEco’s volunteer opportunities in Japan’s rural village of Otaki. The local team in Otaki is warm, friendly and eager to welcome both more tourists and more volunteers. This program takes place at a small farm in the village that the local families depend on. Volunteers may have the option to live with a local host family, which is an excellent way to engage in positive, cultural exchange. The local community members are eager to learn about other cultures and excited to share their traditional customs with visitors. Throughout the week, following agricultural work, volunteers will engage in cultural activities such as sushi making, origami making and visiting local attractions.
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