What is ISV? To know anything about ISV, look beyond the logo and brochure, and look at the people who breathe life into the organisation.
ISV is a family, joined together by our commitment and passion for contributing to a better planet and helping disadvantaged people.
We pride ourselves on our dedication, values and ethical approach to all that we do, but also on our collective professional and academic experiences in volunteerism, sustainability, outdoor leadership and adventure, and student-care.
We are women and men from multiple countries around the world who share our common vision. We are biologists, social workers, intrepid travellers, young and young at heart, students and also people with families of our own, so we can relate to what it means to send our loved ones overseas.
Longevity is powerful. Many staff have served for ISV for 10 or more years, and a big part of our student care office teams are made up of ISV alumni, who understand the needs of volunteers well, having personally experienced the ISV program themselves. Our program directors have also served as project and tour leaders, so they can directly relate and are equipped to the challenges we face on a daily basis in volunteerism and travel.
True to our stated values, we believe in building capacity locally, and our host country offices are run by talented full time local employees and citizens who have the deepest commitment to developing and facilitating the most meaningful and effective programs possible for their own countries.
ISV is a family, and there are no better people to guide you on your volunteer and travel experience anywhere.
Founder / ISV International Director
Randy is the founder and International Director of International Student Volunteers. For over 35 years Randy has been successfully operating cultural exchange,education education, volunteer and travel programs for tens of thousands of university students on six continents. Randy is originally from Southern California and has a background in outdoor recreation and the performing arts. Randy's vision of making a global difference by volunteering has been the inspiration for the growth of ISV, escalating ISV to one of the largest volunteer programs of its kind internationally. Randy is a motivator who has spent a great deal of his time speaking and/or training thousands of students and educators globally. Randy was recently elected to serve on the Board of WYSE Work Abroad (an association of the World Youth and Student Education Travel Confederation). Read More
Co-Founder/ ISV International Program Director
Narelle’s passions come together perfectly through ISV. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Sydney’s Macquarie University, and a B.Sc. with Honors in Zoology from the University of Tasmania. Born and raised in Tasmania (Australia), she credits her upbringing, studies, and many outdoor adventures to have caused her to develop a passion for environmental conservation and travel. This in turn led to her role in co-founding the ISV volunteer and travel program along with Randy Sykes, in 2001. Since then, tens of thousands of volunteers have participated on conservation and community development programs worldwide with ISV and Narelle is proud to oversee these programs while working with an incredible international team. Narelle counts herself fortunate to have travelled to over 40 countries while working for ISV, and was a guest speaker at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference in China (2010) and Ireland (2014). Bondi Beach, Sydney (Australia) is Narelle’s home, where she lives with her husband and young son. For her next travel adventure Narelle would rather be: trekking in the Himalayas, surfing or diving in the Maldives, bicycle touring and feasting in Italy, snowboarding in Japan or rock climbing in Thailand. Read More... Read More
International Education Director
Deanna started out with ISV in 2002 as a Project Leader in Costa Rica and knew right away that this was the perfect fit. Deanna earned an M.Sc. in Biology at the University of Victoria studying the role of bears and salmon in forest ecology along the Pacific Coast of BC. She relocated to the west coast of Canada from her home town of Montreal where she completed a B.Sc in Zoology at McGill University. After teaching biology and ecology labs at UVIC for five years, as well as an extensive background in wildlife resaerch, Deanna was fortunate to find the ultimate position with ISV for combining experiential education, incredible volunteer opportunities, cultural exploration, adventure, and travel. She is in awe of all animals (except spiders) and considers herself very lucky to have had close encounters with so much wildlife around the world. She is hopeful of one day swimming with whale sharks, and witnessing the extraordinary narwhals. Read More
International Tours Director
Rick is drawn to discovering meaning and intent in life’s adventures and considers the ISV experience a perfect way for participants (and staff) to learn more about themselves, others and the environment. Since joining ISV in 2005, Rick has led tours in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, before becoming ISV’s Eastern Europe Program Director (2006-2010). He has a Bachelors degree in Forest Science from the Australian National University and is working towards a Masters of Education (Social Ecology) from the University of Western Sydney. Rick’s rural upbringing puts him at ease in nature and combined with his early experiences with ISV, led him to explorations in the fields of experiential learning and bush adventure therapy. It was a natural progression for Rick into his current role of International Tours Director which combines his passions for enabling positive social change, and responsible adventure travel. On weekends Rick can be found rock climbing amongst the dramatic sandstone cliffs in the Blue Mountains (Australia) and discovering the wonders of the world all over again through the eyes of his young daughter. Read More