Archive for January 2007

nathaniel rogers alaska

January 30, 2007

1. How old are you? 20, at time of trip 18/19

2. Where are you from? London

3. Are you a student? If so, what do you study and where do you study? Yes, History at Cardiff

4. Where did you travel to and how long for? Alaska for 2 months

5. Who did you go with? On my own

6. If you went with a volunteer organisation, who was it? Habitat for Humanity

7. What did you do on your placement? Built houses for paupers

8. What was the best bit about traveling? Meeting new people

9. What was the worst bit? Meeting new people

10. Do you plan to travel in the future? If so, where to and why? Yes, America just to look around and New Zeland

11. Do you have pictures or videos from your trip? (If yes, then can you
send them to me, or do you have them hosted anywhere online?) Yes


What made you want to go to Alaska? I wanted to do something worthwhile with my year before going to university. My Dad reccommended Habitat for Humanity and after looking into it I decided to go for it. I also wanted to do something other than just going to Australia or Thailand, I wanted to go somewhere no one else had been.

What did you think of Alaska? Was it as you expected? Alaska is empty and very quiet. Only two cities one of which is barely a town and both the towns were quite dull places. Outside of the towns was vast areas of nothing filled with mountains forests and wildlife. Having checked out Alaska before going I knew what to expect.

Can you tell me a bit more about Habitat for Humanity? What made you
want to arrange the trip through them? Habitat is a charity that works with poor people to construct housing. The recepient of the house has to put in 1000 hours of their own time and volunteers help with the construction. The money the volunteers pay goes into building materials and everyone’s happy. I wanted to do something to help other people probably so I wouldn’t feel guilty spending a year doing nothing and then just going on holiday.

Did you prefer undertaking a voluntary placement rather than just
traveling? Definately. I like to have things organised for me otherwise I tend to do very little.

Do you feel your placement was worthwhile? Did you have to pay to do the
placement? I did two placements the first of which I enjoyed very much and the second which I did not enjoy so much. It did cost a substansial amount but I felt it was worth paying.

Were those you helped via the placement grateful of your efforts? I only had limited contact with those we helped but when I did work with them they seemed to appreciate what we were doing. One family in particular appreciated what we did.

Do you feel that your experience of ‘meaningful travel’ has changed you
and your outlook on life? I used to think it did but over time I don’t think there has been any significant change in me.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of doing the same
placement as you? Make contact with the team leader. They will answer all questions you have and help you to decide wether or not it is something you actually want to do. It is also useful although not neccessary to find out any details of the rest of the team. Where they are from and how old they are.

What makes you want to travel to America and New Zealand? Why would you
want to go there and what do you want to see? I want to go to
America not to see the sites as such but more to see the people and the culture. New Zealand on the other hand is a place I want to go to just because of the scenery.



gunilla funch bangalore placement

January 29, 2007

Gunilla Funch


Born: Copenhagen, Denmark

Live: Edinburgh, Scotland

Arrived at University of Edinburgh, October 2003

International Business with French

Went on placement in India at Rave magazine, based in Bangalore, India. I thought that it was an easy way of going abroad and working while travelling, if I had a placement then I’d at least have something to do.

Went onto the I-to-I website and it told you everything you needed to know, it cost £1,000 for a five week placement.

It was a bit of a mixed experience while being on placement, wasn’t at all what it said it would be in the description. But I would of gone even if it said I’d of been an office intern. Generally wasn’t the most exciting thing to have spent the summer doing placement wise. I think it’s a lot of money to pay for something that you don’t get anything out of directly; maybe the description could have been more honest about the placement description and what I’d actually be doing.

From the placement I learned how to navigate MySpace. I learned interview techniques and how to research for articles, but I don’t think I’m cut out for a career in the media. I liked the pressure of working under deadlines but I don’t think I’m meant to be a writer.

I loved India, absolutely loved every bit of it. I came with no expectations and over the years I’d always thought it would have been a nice to place to go and see. The people were so friendly and really open-minded compared to back at home. Some people complained about the beaucracy of India and how long it took to get anything done but I lived in Paris for a year and it was nothing compared to the French way of doing things.

I had very little experience with Indian food and I found that I really liked it. If I ever went again I would probably more different foods, I didn’t get food poisoning though like some of the people I was staying with! The climate wasn’t too bad either, in Bangalore it was temperate and it felt like home sometimes, especially with the coolness in the evenings.

We travelled every weekend and the placements were pretty flexible about having time off and taking say a Monday off so that we could have a long weekend. I got to see a fair bit of South India. Hampi, Kerala, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mammallporam.

Kerala was one of the early trips that we did and it was just a beautiful place. Mammallporam felt more Westernised and there were always tourists around.

I quite liked having a placement because we had a base in Bangalore; it was nice to have somewhere to come back to after a weekend away. The place that I was staying at was much better than I expected, there were some great peope and we got all our meals cooked for us and we even had hot water!

If I went again I’d of definitely chosen a different placement. I don’t know if I’d of been cut out for a teaching placement but people out there who did teaching placements seemed to have a really good time and got a lot more out of it than media placements.

I missed India almost as soon as I got back. It was nice to be home at first, you get your own bed, the family around and bran flakes. But after a while you realise just how quiet it is and you miss all the people you met out there. You form quite a strong bond with the people you stay with and you’re out there together so you become close to them and then suddenly those people aren’t there.

Definitely go back in the future, I would like to see other parts of India but would definitely back to Bangalore at some point.