Alumni Spotlight: Emilie Kiritsis


Emilie is a bit of an unlikely volunteer in that she was traveling with her teenage son. Together they are on a mission to volunteer on all seven continents and are on track to finish this year!

Why did you choose this program?

Sea turtles are such treasured creatures and I have always wanted to know more about them. I was looking for a program in Australia specifically, and very much embraced the opportunity to work with them in a hands on situation.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I organized it on my own, but that was super easy with AEI.

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

I did not know that every evening would be free. You must be on the 5:00 ferry from Fitroy Island to Cairns, so you will always be done by 5:45pm when it arrives at the dock. Come ready to get dirty and you will be welcomed by the community!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You must be on the ferry by 8:00am, it takes 45 minutes each way to Fitzroy. There is often time in the afternoon to explore Fitzroy (snorkeling and hiking) before catching the 5:00 return ferry. Each evening is free.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

We are American, so there was no culture shock in Australia. The most difficult thing is the length of travel.

How much interaction did you have with the sea turtles?

There were 6 turtles when we arrived (two are thought to be 100 years old), and a 7th came while we were there. No hatchlings, they all go to the hospital, not the rehab center.