Alumni Spotlight: Tony Alder

Tony Alder is a 23-year-old Medical Assistant and Pre-Medical student living in Logan, Utah, USA. He found early on that helping others can be a profound source of joy, and more recently that exploring new cultures and locations can be life-changing and extremely rewarding. Volunteering abroad is the perfect way to combine both of his dreams.

Why did you choose this program?

I found this program while searching the internet for programs that would allow me to help out in other countries. They received extremely positive reviews from a third-party volunteer site critique page.

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

Maximo Nivel was very organized and split the trip preparation into straight-forward easy to follow steps. It was still up to me, of course, to provide my information, find where to receive things like vaccinations and supplies, and most expensively schedule and pay for the flight plans. They explained the process very clearly, with simple training, examples, and videos. On the trip, they provided two daily meals and a place to stay, sleep shower, etc.

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

My only regret is that I didn't schedule a longer trip! I was limited by things like school, work, and funding, but if you are considering a longer trip if at all feasible, do it!

Don't expect everything to go perfect, but be ready for an overall highly positive experience to be enjoyed and remembered forever. Keep an open, positive mind, a budget as far as it is called for, and a spirit of exploring as much as is safe and feasible to do so!

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

I would wake up and exercise (obviously not required) eat a delicious meal provided by the home-stay workers, and get cleaned up and ready for the day. At around 7:30 am group of volunteers would travel to the local site where we would meet up and travel to our specific project, of which there were many options.

We would return around 2 pm and have the rest of the day to site-see and enjoy ourselves as see fit. If in town around 7 pm, a dinner was provided at the home.

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 only fear was that the program would not be well-organized or efficient. Happily, I can say this fear was never realized. I suppose if you are afraid for safety I can tell you some simple travelers tip if followed (for example: don't go out alone at night), at least in the area where I was, no worry was ever necessary.

What was the most rewarding part of your time abroad?

When I began, I wasn't sure what to expect as far as what difference I would make, given the large number of options available. I wanted to make sure that my time was used to potential.

I can say that I do feel that the time I spent volunteering was effective in helping those involved. The projects were very organized and efficient in finding where help was needed, and could be given. For the most part, I think the change it had on me was the most profound part.

I was able to help people I otherwise would've never crossed paths with, and had my eyes opened to problems I otherwise would've never known. I also still found time to explore and enjoy another country and it's culture, all while practicing a foreign language. I will certainly do this again ASAP.