Alumni Spotlight: Jon Griswold

Jon is from a small town in rural Massachusetts and has a love for road trips, podcasts, Kurt Vonnegut books, Paul Newman movies, hoppy as hell IPAs, and pizza. He's not the most experienced traveler, but he's working on it.

Earthquake Recovery in Nepal

Why did you pick this program?

I originally signed up to work with All Hands because volunteering was of no charge, and they seemed like they were doing some great work for people who had been through a natural disaster. This was my ninth time volunteering with All Hands, and I love being a part of the organization. A lot of opportunities to work abroad include things like working on a farm, in a hostel, on a cruise ship, as an au pair, or picking fruit. And even though these jobs are great opportunities to travel and see the world, they will never give you the same experiences as volunteering with this organization. Other opportunities may pay, but when lodging and food is taken care of, your money goes a long way.

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

DO IT. Just go, and figure out the rest. It will change your life, it changed mine.

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

Prepare to work hard. People all come here to do some good, and the work can be hard. Find solace in the fact that everyone is working just as hard as you are.

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

I don't have a favorite story, there have been too many great times. I have amazing memories of working out in the field and engaging the local community, and getting to experience wild cultural events that I may never have had the opportunity to be a part of otherwise. Mostly though, it's when you finish work for a day, and a complete stranger you never knew before is on the verge of tears because of the work that you put into helping them rebuild their life, that you truly realize why this opportunity is so special.