The 2018 scholarship for the animal protection project in Florida was awarded to Kim, a 19-year old student from Leverkusen/Germany. The opportunity to travel to the US and work as a volunteer in Florida is something very special for her. In order for us to able to partake in her four-week adventure, Kim would like to keep a little travel journal about her experiences abroad. In the course of her time in the United States we are going to publish this journal on our pages. In the following first part you can learn more about the preparations she needs to take care of before departing to Florida. In the second part she will share her experiences on site.
In July it will start – hard to believe. Last week, at home in Leverkusen, it was snowy and it felt like winter had just begun.
Now it’s just five months left until I will get on the plane that takes me to Florida. In five months I will be protecting exotic wildlife in tropical Florida? I still cannot believe what an exciting, unknown and great experience is waiting for me. In order for the adventure to take place, it was and still is necessary to organize and plan certain things:
The first step I had to take in order to be allowed to work with animals was seeing my doctor to check on the necessary vaccinations. Since I have never ever been outside Europe, I had to get a new passport which I received already. I have to admit: it looks really good!
In order to get prepared I read much about the project itself and how to plan things properly, and NATUCATE passed information on to me which notified me what things to pack, what my tasks on site will be, how accommodation looks like, where I am going to sleep etc.
My family and my friends are super happy for me and are quite sure that I will gain from that experience on the long term! I am incredibly excited to share my experience with you later on.
Things I need to do at the moment: getting one more vaccination and writing my own packing list. There is still some work to do! But at the moment I am actually happy that I do not need to put a winter jacket on my list!
I am quite sure that the weather, here in the very west of Germany, wanted to give me a little taste of the sticky, tropical climate that Florida will have in store for me. Well, now I can kind of imagine what to expect! Now there are no more than six weeks left until I get on the plane heading straight to the US – and with each day that passes I become more and more nervous. I’ve never been that excited! I have thousands of questions in my mind and I hope I won’t forget anything important. This week I’m going to apply for my ESTA to enter the USA and I’m going to grab my sister’s backpack to practise packing for my trip. Thinking about the climate over there, it feels like I don’t really need much to pack despite of shorts and t-shirts. I’m going to buy functional trousers which are more robust and dry quickly when it comes to working with the animals.
The last few weeks flew by so fast and my journey to the US still seems to be so unrealistic and far away. To adjust myself to the start of my project I begun reading all the reports of former volunteers and often browsed NATUCATE’s website. I’m so full of anticipation and curiosity but very nervous at the same time. I hope that nothing goes wrong during my last preparations and that I’m able to support the project in Florida successfully. I’m very curious to know if I get used to the climate and the new daily schedule. It’s going to be a great change to my everyday life in comparison to my life in Germany. I’ve got a new camera for my birthday which I am testing at the moment. I want to take dozens of pictures of animals and the region and document everything properly so I won’t forget anything. In the end I can show my family all the pictures I’ve took. It is my very first time out of Europe. What an adventure!
Two more nights! TWO! I can’t believe it; my adventure will finally start soon and I will be heading to the “Sunshine State”! My packing list is completely done. Tomorrow, I’m going to pack my bag. I hope that everything fits in. The clothing I’m taking with me is very comfortable – I’m packing many light T-shirts, tops and shorts, but also some long-sleeved shirts, long bloomers and regular jeans. Together with functional trousers for work.
Tomorrow I will receive my last vaccination against rabies. After that I’m able to work with the animals without having any high risks.
In the last weeks I tried getting a credit card in order to withdraw cash in the United States. Fortunately, it worked out pretty well.
I am so excited and thrilled for all the new impressions. I also spoke to the employee on site for the first time. She told me about what is going to happen after I arrive in Florida. Luckily, I will be picked up from the airport, so the transfer will be very easy for me. I will be welcomed at the airport on Saturday evening and will have a free day on Sunday in order to recover from the time lapse. Sunday, I’ll have the opportunity to get to know the area, to get used to my new home and to get to know the animals a little bit. Work will start on Monday and I will witness how the animals are taken care of and protected from up close.
I am really, really happy to get my school certificate tomorrow and to drive to the airport with my family the day after. Moreover, I cannot wait to improve my English skills a little bit! I’m very thrilled to see the animals, the people and the surroundings which are going to expect me there. And, I’m curious to know how I will react to the climate there. But I think that I will get used to it quickly.
Before departure, I will meet my friends once again and say goodbye for the next five weeks! Tomorrow, my sister will hand me a travel journal, so I can write down all of my impressions and thoughts.
Florida, I’m ready for you!