Alumni Spotlight: Natalie Ball

Why did you decide to volunteer with Pacific Discover in Australia?

Natalie: I chose to volunteer with Pacific Discovery in Australia and New Zealand because I really wanted to experience and see the amazing beauty that part of the world had to offer. I was also really interested in leadership adventure as well as environmental conservation. My program with Pacific Discovery allowed me to balance the two. It was also a great price and good amount of time (2 months).

Volunteering in Australia with Pacific Discovery

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Natalie: Day to day activities varied as we were on the move. We camped a lot because we were backpacking, canoeing, trekking, and kayaking. We also camped while we worked on conservation projects with the Department of Conservation. The projects really varied as well depending on what they needed us to do. Sometimes we were moving bags of dirt but other times were were hiking and seeing amazing views, working down by the beaches, restoring old historic World War II sites… the list goes on. It was a great experience and the Department of Conservation workers were so great. One of them even took us wake boarding! At night, the group would bond over a campfire or if we were back in the city we would go out. One week we were at a surf camp, which was incredible. I got to surf right next to dolphins!

Pacific Discovery volunteering in New Zealand

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Natalie: I learned a lot from my time with Pacific Discovery. My leadership skills were refined and taught me how to work well with others. I made some amazing friends and have experiences that will last me forever. While I thought I wanted to study environmental science at the time, I realized that my passion is actually healthcare. If it wasn't for this experience I would not have realized it. I am, however, very thankful for my experiences and loved every bit of the projects we did.