Alumni Spotlight: Dingenis Nieuwehuizen

Dingenis is a world traveler and a wildlife lover who likes to explore some of the more rare visited places. Currently, Dingenis has traveled in over 30 countries.

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Why did you choose this program?

I am always looking for new challenges and exciting travel opportunities. I never volunteered before and I was not sure whether I would like as much as a regular backpacker trip. Then, I found the ideal combination by volunteering as a wildlife guide. While I normally prefer to arrange my own experiences, the Fronteering experience was too good to pass off!

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

Fronteering assisted me with pretty much everything. From arrange the placement, helping with insurance and international flights, as well as picking me up from the nearest airport to the program, a transfer to a private airstrip and a domestic flight to the ranch where we landed right on their own private airstrip. It was all a great experience and they provided all the emergency services as well as meals, accommodation, tours, travel advice for Brazil, etc.

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

Be open minded, take initiative, be flexible, communicative and kind. That will get you far in life, especially with traveling and even more so when volunteering. When you show your best side, so will they, and you will get invited more to hang out, get more interesting volunteering responsibilities, etc. If you just do everything bare bones and keep to yourself, don't be surprised if your host starts to do the same!

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

This is Brazil! There is no such thing! That being said, every day there were certain guiding activities. On the first trips I joined, It was more for training, but after a week or so, you start to assist with guiding. We also go involved with tasks like cooking for the guests as well as some maintenance work. The guiding work was of course my favorite, especially on horseback, and the canoe trips!

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

I guess we all have a fear of that the program is not what you think it is. I did have this initially, but after speaking to Fronteering, seeing reviews, pictures, talking to the host, etc., all those fears were taken away and I traveled there with mostly excitement and very little anxiety. When I arrived, I immediately knew this program matched and even overachieved my expectations.

Why Volunteer in the Pantanal as a wildlife guide?

Well, firstly, it is the Pantanal! If you have not heard of it before, read in to it! This is hands-down one of the best places in this world to see wildlife and one of the best adventure travel destinations in the world. The whole atmosphere of the Pantanal is amazing.

Secondly, to volunteer as a wildlife guide was so amazing. We saw almost every animal you can image - from Tapirs and Giant River Otters, to Hyacinth Macaws and even Jaguars!

I am considering now to take part in the Amazon Surival guide experience in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil through Fronteering!