Global Prep — 2018
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Spend your summer volunteering in the Seychelles, a group of tropical islands in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. You’ll be based on Curieuse Island, which is a protected natural park and an ideal place to work with local plants and animals. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, you and your group will take part in critical research and conservation efforts as well as contribute to the long-term survival of endangered species like the giant tortoise and Coco de Mer palm trees. This is your opportunity to learn from a team of experienced volunteers and support the development of new conservation policies.
Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet the other members of your group. Then you’ll travel together with your group leader to the Seychelles Airport, near the capital city of Victoria. You’ll be welcomed by local staff or volunteers who will bring you to an orientation where you’ll dive straight into the details of your volunteer project. As you take in the natural beauty of this pristine destination, you may have the chance to taste some tropical fruits or munch on local dishes like coconut fish curry.
Under the guidance of experienced staff and volunteers, you’ll spend most of your time in the forests and on the beaches of Curieuse Island. You and your group will get involved in conservation efforts for endangered plant and animal colonies, including flora re-vegetation, beach clean-ups, and environmental education classes. Your volunteer work will likely focus on planting and protecting Mangrove trees and Coco de Mer palm trees, which are a beautiful and unique part of the island environment. You may also survey local wildlife like the giant tortoise or paradise flycatcher bird.
As you participate in various educational campaigns and activities, you’ll get to explore the islands and experience different volunteer field techniques. The data you collect will be passed on to the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and other local NGO’s, and is critical to their ongoing efforts to conserve and protect the natural habitat of these stunning islands.
You’ll be staying in a rustic, beach-front camp in Anse St. Jose. This paradise of white sand and azure waters is mostly uninhabited, so you’ll have the chance to really connect with nature. During your two weeks in the Seychelles, you can expect to stay in a shared room with other members of your group. You and your friends will also share cooking and cleaning duties on a rotational basis. Your meals will be composed of nutritious, primarily vegetarian ingredients that may include some meat or fish once or twice a week. Be ready to rough it, but don’t worry -- there’s no better way to bond with new friends!
As you work to protect the island’s natural beauty, you’ll also have time to relax and soak up the tranquility of Curieuse’s palm-fringed beaches. Your volunteer work will take place for 5-6 days of the week; on the weekend, your activities may include hiking to the top of Mount Curieuse to take in the stunning panorama, or going snorkeling by the Ile Cocos Marine National Park, where you can swim by the coral reef. You and your group could also visit the neighboring island of Praslin, where you’ll find the Vallee de Mai, a palm forest that has remained largely unchanged since prehistoric times. In fact, the Vallee de Mai was thought by some early explorers to be the original Garden of Eden! No matter what you do, you’ll get to spend plenty of time on the island’s famous white sand beaches.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.