Alumni Spotlight: Jade Woodger-Bassford


Jade is currently in year 13 studying environmental science, biology and chemistry at A-levels in the UK. She participated in GVI's Under 18's Costa Rica Wildlife Conservation Programme for 2 weeks during the summer in 2019.

Why did you choose this program?

After researching and looking at different trips for months, I came across GVI. They offered so many different volunteering opportunities across the globe; I knew that I had found the perfect organization to volunteer with. The best thing about GVI was that they had Under 18 programmes alongside the normal experiences, meaning I could get a hands-on experience in my dream field of work surrounded by people my own age!

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

GVI was always on hand if I or my parents had questions or needed help filling out forms and documents. GVI found the perfect flights for me an helped us book them ready for when the trip began - they also made sure to put me in contact with other volunteers on the same flight so I could meet them beforehand in the airport, making me less nervous about traveling on my own.

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

Don't give up the opportunity to do something absolutely incredible just because you're nervous about what could happen. Get involved and don't be afraid to ask questions - the staff are experts in their field and are more than happy to answer your questions, no matter how bizarre they are.

Enjoy your time there and make everlasting memories

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

The first few days we spent getting comfortable with our surroundings and learning about the wildlife Costa Rica had to offer. Once we were settled in, we started doing forest surveys in the mornings and at night along with nightly turtle walks. During the afternoon we would do a range of things, from bird census to butterfly catching. You were never bored, that's for sure!

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

Going into this experience I was extremely nervous - this was my first time traveling alone and I hardly knew any of the other volunteers I was going to be with. GVI made it so much easier for me by putting me in contact with the other volunteers allowing me to get to know them before we went, and put us in contact with the staff we'd be meeting at the airport. Once I got to know everyone, I felt relieved and more relaxed about going.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?

Towards the end of the first week, GVI took us on a 3-day white water rafting adventure. We white-water rafted down the Pacuare River and stopped at a camp on the first day. The second day we visited and indigenous tribe planted 24+ trees and had a relaxed afternoon in the river where everyone was in the water swimming and having fun. The last day we carried on rafting till we reached the companies main building where we finished the exhilarating experience with an incredible lunch!