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Volunteering in Spain – Gaining Experience in My Field

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am from upstate New York. I recently graduated from college with an environmental degree. I knew I wanted to spend some time volunteering, but I also knew I wanted to gain experience in my field. GoEco was the perfect compromise and it was affordable. I chose Conservation Projects in the Valencia Region located in Spain.

I was extremely nervous and had no idea what to expect. When I flew into Valencia there was a coordinator waiting there to pick me up. She was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the area, as she briefly showed me around the city. She brought me to my apartment where I was greeted by three other girls who I would be living and working with.

It was really interesting that every single one of us was from a different country. The coordinator went over the NGOs in the area we would be working for and what we would be doing every day. She also assisted us with information on transportation and things we could do on our time off. Overall, she was very helpful and we always had contact numbers available if we needed to ask questions.

My first day on the job was located about 20 minutes outside the city. Tancat de la Pipa was the name of the wetlands where I volunteered. The directors of that program Lucia and Mathew were so welcoming and pleasant. I learned so much from them and gained hands on experience in the wetlands. For example, one day we physically got into the water and took samples to determine wither or not the water was becoming more or less polluted. We measured the water levels and Lucia explained to us the importance of what they do every day.

I had some work days that were harder than others. We weeded, cut down trees, planted new trees, and picked up garbage in the surrounding park. When I volunteered I always felt that I was making a difference. One of my favorite days was when me and the other volunteers got to release native turtles back into the wetlands after they had been rehabilitated.

In my spare time I got to know the city of Valencia. My roommates and I went out to dinner and one night went out on the town. Overall, I felt very safe in Valencia. The city center had lots of shopping and beautiful historic charm.

The two weeks I spent volunteering in Spain were amazing! I met some great people and made new friends. Also, learning more Spanish and being comfortable enough to practice was very beneficial to me.