Alumni Spotlight: Reini Marissens


Why did you choose this program?

I immediately fell in love with everything Greenpop stands for and I was thrilled to be part of the Greenpop family. Climate change is a concern I take very seriously and one of the ways to tackle it is by planting more trees, so the earth's green lungs can provide us not only with more oxygen, but also can protect us by cleaning the air.

What I also love about Greenpop is their social approach on how and where they plant trees. Planting trees in collaboration with schools and companies, and in urban areas, you create a network of people working together, teaching them the basic skills so they can spread the word (which is especially important with the next generation of eco-warriors in schools) and by giving them the tools to take a greener future in their own hands.

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

I contacted Roots Interns to get accepted for the internship, and they arranged a place to sleep for me.

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

Don't think too much ahead of everything, just be super excited to not only spend time with a wonderful organization, but also in a beautiful country. Don't worry too much about whether or not you'll be able to do the job or spending months in a foreign country: you'll meet your new family overseas and worrying is for people who eventually never take a chance. Go for it!

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

Morning meetings about the daily and weekly tasks, doing research, writing posts, keeping in touch with the Greenpop fans.

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

It was my third time in a year in South Africa, so for me, it kinda felt like returning home. I never really had any doubts, worries or fears; I simply was super excited to finally be part of the Greenpop family and gain experience in a communications department in a social and environmental enterprise.

Do you have anything else to share with future participants?

Cheryl Strayed said: "Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves."

It might be scary to think about spending months abroad, far away from your family and friends, far from everything that is known to you. It might be scary to think about all the responsibilities you will have, you might doubt your own capacities. People might say you're being crazy or stupid. Don't believe them. Don't believe yourself.

Doubts and fears are powerful, paralyzing weapons if you let them have the best of you. Don't believe that story. You don't want to end up on the street of "what if". There's a world of chances, knowledge, friends, and adventures waiting for you. Tell yourself a different story. You are brave. You are wonderful. You are the one they're waiting for.