Alumni Spotlight: Jone Echaide


Jone is a 24 year old woman that finished university 2 years ago and has been working in her field ever since then.

She is from Pamplona, a little city in the north of Spain, and loves traveling. She is alway planning the next trip and ready for the adventure!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Turtle Conservation program in Nusa Penida (Bali) with IVHQ first of all because last year I did the Construction Project with them in The Philippines and loved it.

Since I already knew how IVHQ worked and really enjoyed it, I wanted to do something this summer related with animals. And I have loved turtles since the Nemo film, so I knew I had to do this one.

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

IVQH is amazing preparing everyone. From the moment you are accepted in the program, they guide you in every step of the way: with a guide of the place and Project, cultural aspects, things to do and things to don't do, vaccines you may need… Even they assist you with looking and booking the flights in case you need them, and they offer you insurance.

Also, a coordinator is always available if you want to ask anything from the first moment, and once I arrived, every person in the staff was really helpful.

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

I'd say just go!

It is an amazing experience and a very different way of traveling. You visit such wondedrful places and get involved in a totally different culture, and even better, you help them.

I would also say that you have to know yourself and to know to what point you can step outside of your confort zone, but if you love adventure and meeting new people from all over the world, GO!

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

We were divided into different groups, so each group had different tasks during the day. The work time consisted of different activities: Turtle time (crab catching to feed the turtles, cut fish to feed them too, clean tanks and turtles, and feed them), beach cleaning, street cleaning, rubbish vean making...

But it was usually as follows:

  • Breakfast from 7.30-9.00
  • Work from 9.00-11.00
  • Lunch from 11.30-13.00
  • Work from 14.00-16.00
  • Dinner from 17.30-19.00

We had to attend the program from Monday to Friday, but we could skip 1 day per week if we wanted to travel or do some special activity. And, of course, the weekend was all ours.

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 biggest fear was (not kidding) snakes and spiders. I was very afraid of them and if there would be huge and scary. This is my worst nightmare, actually - a huge snake biting me.

But I did some research and found out that there aren't any huge ones in the places I was going to visit, so I was feeling better about that. And once I got there, I couldn't even think about it!

Any other tips for other prospective travelers?

If I could, I would have stayed there for much more time! I wish I could stay there forever, that's the only thing.

For future travelers, enjoy it. It is a life-changing journey you will not regret. You will meet people from all around the world and the friendship will last forever, you fall in love with the beautiful place you get to live during the time, and you wish you could take those little turtles with you.