STA Travel is the largest student and youth travel company. We’ve been booking affordable adventures for awesome humans since 1979. We have more than 2,000 people in over 200 branches in 12 different countries, with franchises and business partners in another 50 countries.
I am responsible for looking after all of our Volunteering, Work & Learn products for STA Travel globally for over five years. We have been working with GVI since at least 2012, if not longer. We do offer all GVI programs as they are the perfect products for our customers and based in amazing destinations.
In 2018, STA Travel sent 77 people on GVI programs. The feedback is generally very positive and customers really enjoy the projects and what goals these are working towards.
Most customers feel that they have achieved and contributed a lot and also that they received a lot back and learned for themselves personally, which is really important. All customers really had an amazing time and met many people from around the world and made friends for life.
I remember that we had a Swiss customer who did a volunteering programme at the GVI Wildlife Conservation project in South Africa. The travel agent who booked him called me up weeks later and said that this customer is now planning to do a Game Ranger Field Course in order to become a Game Ranger himself because of his experience with GVI in the field.
This type of story is not rare. I have met so many people who had such a great experience with GVI that they have changed or found out what they want to do with their lives, what subject they want to study, etc.
I have visited a few GVI locations over the years and at each base it was really obvious that all GVI staff are passionate and dedicated to GVI’s mission and goals. I personally believe that the young people going out on a program and sharing the same mission come back to their home country as better people.
What it means to me to send people out into the world on programs like GVIs is really to open the mind and heart, especially for young people to understand what is going on in the world and understand themselves. It helps them feel like they can actually do something to improve going forward and that there is hope for some of the issues we are facing as a global community.
This story comes from GVI’s Impact and Ethics report. To celebrate 20 years of work in sustainable development, we reflect on and showcase our impactful stories and data. Read the report in full.