Alumni Spotlight: Nishani Baskararajah

Second year Global Health student. Love the outdoor world and love helping out people. Interested in Health and Wellness and believes that everything happens for a reason. Always make the best out of every situation!

I am currently studying Public Health at the University of Waterloo in Kitchener Ontario. My hobbies include: researching, exploring the outdoor wildlife and nature, swimming and dancing. I believe that everything ensues for a reason, and am always open to new opportunities and experiences.


Why did you pick this program?

Volunteering with ISV was an amazing memorable experience. Justice, world peace and equality mean a lot to me. Seeing individuals making a change and volunteering for good causes always made me wondered why I didn’t too. I knew I could not have done this alone. When I heard about ISV I was willing to have a great guidance and support team that aided me with sources, information, a team and many opportunities, in order to achieve my goal.

Not only did I help make a change at the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, I also learnt a lot about myself and the world that I did not know before. I realized my capabilities and that I could always continue making a change. ISV was a great program that helped me feel safe, confident and proud during my trip. It opened me to a new perspective on life.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

To my friends asking about this trip, I had many stories to share. They started from the minute I got to the volunteering destination to the very last minute at the airport. The two weeks with ISV was life changing, and every minute was a brand new experience. I was in a small village next the Pacific Ocean. Waking up to the Pacific Ocean every morning was something I would never forget. I was living with a host family and a couple of other volunteers in a tropical rainforest.

During my two weeks in the village, I lived a whole new life that was the opposite of mine. At Canada I always had easy access to the Internet and to whatever I want. However, at the Osa Peninsula it was amazing to see the close connection and relationship between the village members. The way they cared for each other and did everything for each other. It felt like they were my own family.

I did not have a specific favorite story, because every minute was special to me. However I did enjoy climbing a red mountain for over 30 minutes, learning how to rope jump into the water, I learnt how to fish, helped out a friend in the village who was about to deliver her baby, and finally helping the environment and the tropical rain forest. This trip was the best two weeks of my life.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

When you have the opporunity, take it! You will never regret it. You will give something to the world and also learn a lot. ISV is a life changing program that gives you new perspectives on life.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

My favourite story to tell about my time abroad was hiking for an hour to the town to go to the shops. As we were hiking we came across monkeys that were really cute but aggressive. We also came across bridges, and snakes and other creatures that I thought I would be scared of, but wasn't.

In Toronto even the smallest spider will get me screaming, but in Osa Peninsula it was different. Everything was just beautiful. As we were hiking a dog joined us and we named him Peejay. Peejay was from another town, but I guess he just loved the vibe he got from us. Peejay came with us to the village, back from the vilalge, and followed us for a whole week. He would sleep outside the host families houses during the nights and wait for us in the morning and join us on our adventures. He was one of the cutest dogs.

What did you learn from this trip?

From this trip I learnt a lot about my self. Before going on this trip I was confused about what I wanted to do for this world, what my interests were, and who I am as a person. This person helped me realize a lot about myself, and about the rest of the world. I learnt the importance of value and appreciation and most of all family. Osa Peninsula taught me a perspective on life that I could never forget. Life is beautiful and every minute something special is happening.