Alora Mastrolonardo

Alora is a young woman aspiring to travel the world and seeks adventure.

Why did you choose this program?

I've always wanted to do a volunteer trip and when I read about IVQH and found their child care program, it seemed like a great opportunity to travel the world! I chose Guatemala specifically because it was what made the most sense with my timeline and budget but I am so glad that's where I ended up!

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

IVHQ organized pretty much everything other than flights. All I had to do was apply and gather up some information for them, a criminal background check, for example.

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

I wish I had gone longer! Two weeks seemed like enough when I was planning but once I was there I knew that time would fly by. Also, don't be afraid to travel there alone! Most people I met were traveling solo.

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

We typically woke up around 6am, had breakfast and got ready, caught a bus around 7am, volunteered until 12:30 - 1pm, had lunch and spent the rest of the day doing as we please!

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

My biggest fear was that something would go wrong, but nothing did! And any minor issues I had the staff in Guatemala was always happy to help! I was also afraid of the language barrier but most restaurants have an English menu, but knowing some words beforehand would have helped!

Do you have any travel suggestions for future volunteers?

If you can, request to stay in the volunteer house (Casa Shekina). I made so many wonderful friends there and everyone was so welcoming and lovely (the food is also delicious). Listen to the advice people give you on safety, if you follow the "rules" you will be just fine! I always felt safest in a group.