Alumni Spotlight: Charlotte England


Charlie is never satisfied unless she’s got at least one upcoming flight booked. She’s usually a solo traveller and, at the age of 23, she has no intentions of slowing down any time soon!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it was advertised as a sport development, local interaction and conservation program. I’ve done a lot of volunteering in my life and I’ve always wanted to come overseas. Then I found this program! I’m also extremely passionate about conservation, saving the environment and global warming, therefore doing my bit to help save the marine life and clean up the beaches hooked me in even more.

During the majority of my travelling, I’ve involved myself with local life, which I love to do, so this trip was an absolute no brainer for me!

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

Everything prior to the trip that was included in the cost was already pre-arranged. The communication between me and the company was good; whether it was just a question I needed answering, I always heard back within a couple of days. The only thing you had to arrange yourself beforehand was flight & insurance; any extra spending money you wanted to take and making sure all the pre departure forms/DBS were all completed and uploaded online.

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

For anyone generally wanting to travel but are unsure, I always tell them “DO IT”. Whether it’s solo or not, it’ll change your life. The first time is the absolute scariest because you question yourself multiple times whether it’s the right thing or not. Then it just becomes addictive! You get to encounter so many unbelievable experiences that half of the population will never see or understand. It’s definitely made me who I am today and is a massive part of my life.

If you’re choosing the same program I did, try and make sure the itinerary is still the same a month in advance. Mine had been changed around 9 months prior to the trip (something to do with the schools). I said I was still happy to go head and it wasn’t a problem. They assured me this would be the finalized agenda. A week before the trip, I received another one which was mostly the same as before. When I arrived, and during the trip, none of the sports activities were running and some other added extras, such as water sports and day trips, weren’t even offered.

Once I returned home, I later found out it was cancelled as there weren't enough of us on the trip, except I wasn’t informed of that. I most definitely enjoyed my trip and time in the Maldives, but when I arrived to find that what they’re basing this trip on, I was all cut from the program without been informed. I was quite disappointed.

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

The majority of the time you get on this program is free time. I enjoy the odd bit of free time now and then, as it gives you chance to relax and become slightly more independent with what you’d like to do with your day. I did find on this trip that there was a significant amount of free time, which started to make me question where the money I had paid for this trip was actually going. I understand there’s a lot of behind-the-scene costs, but when at least 50% of the trip is free time, I did start to wonder.

Prepare for RAIN - when it rains, it rains. Make sure you have something to entertain yourself, like a book or iPad, as there is nothing to do when it’s rainy. We bought some cards which kept us entertained for hours!

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

This may sound like a small fear, but to me it’s a big one! I’m terrified of boats. Big or small, they’re horrendous. TIP: If you fear boats, try looking at a holiday on the mainland and not the middle of the ocean.

On my first day, I encountered extremely choppy waters on an overly hot speedboat. I sat there, throwing up consistently for 2 hours, which, can I add, was actually my first experience of sea sickness. Since this, I was genuinely unhappy about getting on the rest of the boats during the trip. I knew I had to and the best way to fight this fear was to avoid overthinking it.

I took small steps in my mind. First, have breakfast, but not too much. Secondly, walk to the beach. Third, sit and wait for the boat. Then four, get on the boat. Without thinking about the end goal of getting into the boat, I could manage it.

It also got easier throughout the week, as the weather improved and my kind trip partner gave me some of her seasick tablets! I managed to change my views completely by telling myself to remember where I was and how beautiful it was to see these islands by boat and the opportunity to do what I’m doing was a once in a lifetime.

Is there WiFi?

I feel this is an all rounded question for everyone, especially when traveling, as I know how much we love to share our experiences as travelers.

YES, there is WiFi, but I tell you now, don’t bother. The connections out there aren’t great anyway, for obvious reasons.

I can tell you from experience, as much as you feel you might want to use it and check up on your socials or download from your Netflix account, you will regret it.

You’re on a once in a lifetime trip and you might never get the opportunity to do this ever again. Your life can change so fast you might not even see it coming. People back home envy what you’re doing right now and only wish to be doing the same. They’re the ones living through you and your adventures that you need to make sure you return home with everything they are only dreaming about. They want to hear about what you did, where you went, what it looked like, what the food was like, how long the flight was, was it sunny, who did you meet, EVERY single detail and you need to be able to give them that all from your memory, from what you have experienced through your own eyes.

Remember how lucky you are to be here and everything you did In your power to be in this unbelievable part of the world. You do not want to waste that.