Alumni Spotlight: Ashly Pierskalla


Ashly holds a master's from the University of Cincinnati and is a professional within the automotive industry. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, helping others, and traveling.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I wanted to learn more about a culture and a country that I had never been, while helping others in the process.

After reading glowing reviews about the program and the amazing experiences that other volunteers had, I decided I needed to step out of my comfort zone and experience it for myself. Not only was this program very affordable, but they also offered the Spanish courses that I had desired.

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

Since I had already graduated from college, I did not receive any assistance with the program. I organized everything on my own, but I found it very simple and straight forward.

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

This is a life changing experience that will open your eyes to a world that some of us didn't know existed.

Be open minded and step out of your comfort zone. Take in every person, conversation, smell, and anything that you can while you are there. Explore everything, ask questions, take adventures, and be positive.

The time you spend there will fly by, so make it count!

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

This program is set up to allow you to volunteer, but still give you time to explore. On Monday through Friday we volunteered, but then on the weekends, we were given time to travel and explore the city or take an excursion somewhere.

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

As a single female, the thought of traveling abroad alone was terrifying. The thought of not knowing anyone or having anyone to lean on was scary, but looking back on that fear, I smile.

I smile because never once did I feel alone. I met, spent time, and traveled with so many amazing volunteers/friends that I never wanted to leave. The friends that I met through this experience are still my friends today. We check in on each other's adventures and have annual reunions.

Is there anything that you would have done differently?

I would have stayed longer! Although I was able to stay for a long period of time, I would have loved to take more time and be able to see and do everything. I would have loved to create deeper connections with the children and have been able to make a bigger impact on their lives.