What position do you hold at AV? What has been your career path so far?
Sarah: I am currently part of the Volunteer Support Team; assisting volunteers in preparation of their time on project which can include fundraising ideas, where to book flights, what kit to buy and much more. My time with Africa & Asia Venture (AV) started in 2007 at administration level so I know pretty much all there is to know about the nitty gritty of our projects. I now also help with areas of marketing too.
Did YOU volunteer abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Sarah:Sadly I haven't had a chance to volunteer abroad yet but I have visited several of the Africa & Asia Venture (AV) projects, and I hope to find some time in the future to volunteer with some of the communities with have links with.
What does the future hold for AV - any exciting new programs to share?
Sarah:2014 has seen us celebrating our 20th year in a big way - we gave one lucky person the chance to win a place on an AV project! We look forward to many more volunteers sharing their time with those in developing communities.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think volunteer abroad will change over the next 10 years?
Sarah:I think the industry is changing all the time but we see big changes coming for the gap year market in North America in particular. We have a fantastic group of North American alumni who are spreading the word of volunteering, so watch this space!
Which volunteer abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?
Sarah:I think I would have to say India, especially the communities we work with in north India. India is so diverse, and we've seen this first hand from working closely with the Lepcha people at the foothills of the Himalayas. It has been a real eye opener for everyone here at AV, and for our volunteers. It is difficult to say which destination is overrated because there are so many opportunities in the world to immerse yourself in something new and different; it really depends on a volunteers motivations and expectations of a destination. A volunteer needs to be open-minded to challenges they may face when exploring a new culture though.