Given my busy work schedule, I needed something relatively easy on travel time and heard phenomenal things about the culture, people, and energy in Guatemala. I loved the winter break option that provided a variety of volunteer experiences. I also loved having the afternoon to take in the beautiful city, the volcanos, learn salsa, attend a rodeo, grab a glass of wine, and explore wonderful food and delights.
Meredith loves to ignite the potential in others. She currently runs Talent Management at Dow Jones, is an Executive Coach, and a Pop Pilates Instructor. Her favorite job is being a mom to two boys who she hopes to travel the world with and create more beautiful connections.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I basically had a blank canvas to begin with in terms of who, what, where, how, when and they were amazing in helping me narrow down my options and were phenomenal once I landed in Guatemala. I think I love them like family and can't wait to visit again!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Possibly to open your heart and take a step back to realize the incredible impact you are making in the world. Safety is also important - particularly around holiday season in Antigua. Pack light, including the wallet.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
A morning of meeting with the group and off to the trenches - either at the health clinic or the nursing home followed by lots of incredible exploration around Antigua and hanging with a beautiful, diverse group of volunteers of all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life.
I also enjoyed meeting the owners of restaurants and shops that could provide context around living in Guatemala.
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 as a 47-year-old woman that I would be surrounded by volunteers my children's age that would laugh at me. It was totally different than I expected. Everyone had an open heart, mind, and spirit and I realized at that moment the body is the vessel to something profoundly greater in what we each had to offer. It was amazing!