Alumni Spotlight: Annie St-Pierre

Why did you choose this program?

I had previously volunteered with IVHQ and have always wanted to go to Hawaii. After learning it had been added as a destination with IVHQ, and learning about the political and environmental issues that Hawaii is facing, I wanted to be able to visit as well as give back. This program provided the perfect opportunity for that.

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

IVHQ assisted with almost everything. I had to book my own flight, get travel insurance and a criminal background check, but they provided resources. I also had to organize my own packing and personal preparation, obviously.

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

Positivity and open mindedness is key to any good experience. No, it's not going to necessarily be exactly what you're used to, but embrace everything you can because you're only there for a limited time.

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

Work in the mornings, free afternoons, evenings and weekends. Depending on your own hobbies and interests, the experience can vary widely between participants.

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

Arriving in an unknown place alone! It's still scary to think about, but you make amazing friends and everyone is there to get along and have a good time.

Do you have any travel tips for someone going on your program?

Plan all your trips ahead. Do some research - there are literally hundreds of amazing things to do on Oahu alone but a lot of other tourists (and locals) know that!

Also, the bus system is a little wack so definitely invest in a roaming plan that gives you access to data because it's pretty easy to get lost and having access to Uber, Lyft or maps makes a huge difference!