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Grace Williams - New Zealand Conservation  Experience

Grace always wanted to go to New Zealand, work abroad and do something worthwhile. She combined all three on the New Zealand Conservation Experience, here's how she got on!

1) Why did you choose this particular project?
Really I wanted to come to New Zealand but I don't like going somewhere without doing my bit for at least a short while. I had a friend who had volunteered with frontier before so I checked the website and thought the NZ conservation project sounded perfect! It seemed so varied with different activities and locations that I instantly booked it.

2) What kind of work and activities did you do during your project?
I did tree planting (lots of it) and mountain bike track laying. I moved a lot of trees from A to B so that they could be planted and drove a truck to and from planting sites.

3) How did the culture and people differ to home? What were the locals like?
Being New Zealand the culture isn't really different at all to the UK but I would say that people are much more open and friendly in NZ! Once you get here you don't want to leave.

4) What was the accommodation like?
On the weekends we stayed in the volunteer house in Auckland. Dorm-like rooms with the other volunteers meant it was incredibly social and with the shared kitchens you get to know each other instantly. The staff order in food so the house is always stocked up and you take that food with you when you go to the on site accommodation. The on site accommodation was quite cramped for my week although it changes from place to place. If you bring enough layers the cold shouldn't bother you and you're so tired by the end of the day that the state of the bed doesn't really matter! That being said, the locations and the scenery is completely beautiful

5) What were the staff and other volunteers like?
The staff were very nice at the Auckland volunteer house. The volunteers, myself included, found our leader on site quite hard to deal with as he wasn't the most positive of characters. The other volunteers were wonderful! I have made life long friends and we are checking up on each other throughout our respective travels.

6) What was the most amazing moment and what’s your best memory?
Planting your first tree is really a wonderful feeling. It's one of those activities where you can instantly see the benefit you're having on the world.

7) Do you feel the work you were doing was worthwhile?
100% it was worthwhile. The earth is in need of trees and I planted hundreds. It makes you really feel like you're helping.

8) What sort of wildlife did you encounter?
None to be honest. It was more about the trees and plants.

9) What were you hoping to learn while on project and have you achieved those goals?
I was hoping to learn about the nature of New Zealand and I definitely managed that. The park rangers are so well informed and seem to know everything there is to know about their immediate surroundings and the various trees and plants around.

10) Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?
I think just to be open minded and welcoming towards other volunteers and willing to work hard. If you do those things you'll have the best time.

11) What do you have planned next?
I am planning on going to Africa to teach once I have finished my English degree.

12) Anything else you would like to add?
Nope! Just get out there!

By Grace Williams - New Zealand Conservation Experience

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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