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The Overseas Team

Using our experience to give you an amazing gap year!

The GapGuru Overseas team boasts a wealth of experience when it comes to gap travel. Every member of our Overseas team shares a passion for travel and volunteering abroad, and together we give you the kind of expert advice and comprehensive support you need to make the most of your time off. Meet the GapGuru Overseas team below!

India

Katie

Location:   Bangalore
Background:  Katie was born and raised in the United States (specifically California), but has been fortunate enough to travel, live and work abroad for many years. Katie received a Global Masters of Arts in International Relations, where she studied in five different countries over the course of a year - getting to experience new cultures and lifestyles like never before. Prior to moving to Bangalore, Katie was living and working in the NGO sector in Bangkok, Thailand for over a year.

What’s the best part of your job?  “Besides getting to understand and acclimate into a new and vibrant culture, I love being able to work at the grassroots level to see the real need of local organizations, and then being able to have our volunteers contribute towards their growth and development in a tangible way.”

Why volunteer in Bangalore?  “While Bangalore is considered a cosmopolitan city, there is still so much that can be done by individuals to contribute towards its further development. Also, Bangalore is located in such a great part of India - where volunteers are also able to easily access some of the most beautiful places in the country.”

 

Atul

Location:   Palampur
Background:  Atul was born in Palampur but travelled extensively around India with his family as a child. After living close to Mumbai, in Bangalore and in Rajasthan, Atul decided to return to Palampur to complete his bachelor's degree in Arts and Humanities at Sri Sai University. Since graduating Atul has been instrumental in promoting volunteering and tourism in his hometown. He now lives with his wife, who teaches locally, and his 6 year old son, Ariv.

What are your main interests?  Traveling, photography, adventure sports. “Hiking, rafting and rock climbing are great ways to keep active during my free time"

What’s the best part of your job?  “Meeting new people, making new friends and learning about new cultures. I love to share information on India and learn from volunteers all about their culture and how it differs from mine”

Why volunteer in Palampur?  “Palampur is a place of exceptional beauty. The air is fresh and there are beautiful snow-topped mountains everywhere you look. It is also an extremely safe and peaceful place with many exciting activities to participate in nearby”

 

Volunteer in India Santa Rai

Location:  Kalimpong/Darjeeling
Background:   Santa Rai was brought up in Kalimpong but moved abroad after finishing his education. He eventually returned to Kalimpong to get involved with the local community and took up his role as a GapGuru coordinator.

What’s the best part of your job?:   “I feel very proud of the work that I do. The community here is poor, underdeveloped and needs support. The gap year volunteers bring with them new ideas and experiences, and work with great dedication to promote sustainable development.”

Why volunteer in Kalimpong?:   “I have seen gap year volunteers return to projects for a third and fourth time. This is what makes me believe that the volunteers and the community build a special bond that makes volunteers travel thousands of miles and come time and again.”

 

Cambodia

Maria

Location:   Battambang
Background:  From a young age, Maria decided to pursue her passion in community and leadership development and has played an active role in various organizations and community engagement programs. After obtaining her degree in Political Science, she decided to explore new adventures around the world and engage in grassroots advocacy and development. Maria has travelled to Chile, Thailand and is now in Cambodia, always contributing positively in the communities she visits: from engaging in policy changes to human and civil rights in Chile to developed school programme initiatives in Thailand.

Interests:  Cooking, Traveling, International Development

What’s the best part of your job?  “Assisting volunteers in getting situated at their new site location in order to ensure they have the tools and resources they need in order to fulfil their individual and project objectives.”

Why volunteer in Cambodia?  “From happy children in our childcare centres to women running successful businesses, GapGuru volunteers are instrumental in improving the welfare and livelihoods of communities in Cambodia.”

 

Tanzania

Samina

Location:   Arusha
Background:  Samina grew up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, before returning to the UK at the age of 15 to continue with her high school and further education. She has always wanted to return to Tanzania to be involved somehow in the many grass roots development initiatives taking place around the country. After a year in Kenya working on a rural community education project she also became interested in working with volunteers.

Interests:  International development

What’s the best part of your job?  “So far.. it has been learning about the volunteers backgrounds and what it is that has motivated them to come and do the work they do. They all have interesting stories to tell. Visiting Gapguru’s partner projects is very interesting and they are located in such beautiful parts of the Arusha region! Every day is different and that’s what I like.”

Why volunteer in Tanzania?  “I have not met a single person who hasn’t been captured by the magic of Tanzania. Why not use the skill you have to offer, whether that is teaching or business acumen, a love of sports or knowledge of conservation, and share this with the communities of Tanzania? It is likely to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your lifetime.”

 

Daniphord

Location:   Arusha
Background:  Daniphord was born in Tanzania’s capital, Dodoma, where he farmed for many years before moving to Arusha. Here he learnt English and began running classes to teach others. Daniphord has been an HIV grants coordinator and is Samina’s Deputy, managing the wide range of GapGuru volunteer programmes in Tanzania.

Interests:  Reading, films, music.

What’s the best part of your job?  “Our Tanzania team enjoys working side-by-side with gap year volunteers and we share our experiences at fortnightly meetings. Personally I most enjoy giving business training to HIV grant recipients.”

Why volunteer in Tanzania?  “People in the local community value the support given by gap year volunteers. Their contribution helps significantly in improving education and livelihoods in local communities.”

 

Thailand

David

Location:  Chiang Mai
Background:  David was born and raised in Simsbury, Connecticut. After two study abroad experiences during college, he knew he wanted to travel and be involved with non-profits after graduating. David has been living and working in Thailand since 2009. He has extensive experience with volunteer and community projects.

Interests:  Traveling, sports, International development, photography

What’s the best part of your job?  “Being able to live in Northern Thailand and have the opportunity to work with volunteers and set up meaningful community projects.”

Why volunteer in Thailand?  “Thailand is a wonderful country with a unique blend of culture, religion, and beauty. Through our carefully set up volunteer programs, you can explore and experience the wonders of Thailand while making a meaningful contribution to our on-going community work.”

 

Nid

Location:  Chiang Mai
Background:  Nid was born in Mae Sariang, Thailand. She left home when she was twelve to find work to help her family. After many jobs in Chiang Mai, Nid opened her own costume shop where she rents and designs costumes, dresses, cheerleading outfits, etc. Nid has been involved with various NGO’s since 2010.

Interests:  Badminton, cooking, traveling

What’s the best part of your job?  “I love being in a position that I can help disadvantaged children with their English and support schools. ”

Why volunteer in Thailand?  “Thai people are very friendly, welcoming, and known for their warm smiles. The schools and temples we work with love having volunteers and this is a great chance to learn about Thai culture and Buddhism.”

 

Marcia

Location:  Chiang Mai
Background:  Marcia was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Marcia has been passionate about teaching since early childhood. She went to High School in Baltic, Connecticut, and graduated Suma Cum Laude from Teacher’s College in Guadalajara; she has been working in Education (Elementary, Secondary, High School and Adults) for over 20 years. She received a certificate in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language from Colorado School of English, in Denver, CO. In 1993 she attended five Family Guidance courses at the University of Pamplona, Spain; afterwards, she backpacked through Europe for 5 months.
In 2012, after a long battle with ovarian cancer and chemotherapy severe side effects she decided to volunteer at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand and this is how it all began.

Interests:  “Meditation, Computers, Photography, Art, Natural Healing.....Life!“

What’s the best part of your job?  “Being able to continue to do what I love, in a country that conquered my heart, with an amazing team. ”

Why volunteer in Thailand?  “The communities we work with are welcoming, the people you will meet will be your friends forever, you will be overwhelmed by their friendliness, their generosity, and smiles...and all of it will not compare with the impact and happiness that this experience will imprint in your heart.”

 

Romania

Erno

Location:   Odorheiu-Secuiesc
Background:  Erno was born and grew up in the Romanian city of Targu Mures. After studying at university he moved to Budapest then onto Odorheiu-Secuiesc, where he now lives with his family. Erno is currently working as school history teacher and has been our Romania volunteer coordinator since September 2011.

Interests:  Travel, football, basketball.
What’s the best part of your job?  “I really enjoy my work because I can help the local community and particularly children and young people. That’s why I am glad to be the local coordinator of GapGuru.”

Why volunteer in Romania?  “I think that Transylvania is the greatest area of Romania and there are a lot of possibilities for volunteers to work, travel and have fun here.”

 

Tünde

Location:   Targu Mures
Background:  Tünde was born in Satu Mare and is currently in her third year of medical school in Targu Mures. After graduating she would like to be a paediatrician. She chose to study medicine because of three main reasons: she is amazed by the human body, loves to help people and wants to do something useful. As a volunteer at SMURD, she understands what a great opportunity it is as you can get hands on medical experience and meet the patients.

Interests:  Books, meeting new people and jogging
What’s the best part of your job?  ““I really like meeting new people and learning about new cultures. I like listening to people’s stories, especially why they decided to become a volunteer. I am impressed how many helpful, young volunteers there are. I also love to show people the area where I live”

Why volunteer in Romania?  “Romania is a colourful country with hospitable and friendly people. Besides the cultural diversity of the country, particularly the vivid folk traditions, you can take part in a meaningful and exciting volunteer programmes.”

 

Nepal

Ram

Location:   Kathmandu
Background:  Ram was born and grew up in Kathmandu. He studied Economic and Political Science in Nepal before continuing his studies in Denmark. Ram has since returned to Nepal where he lives with his wife and son.

Interests:  Travel, trekking, social work.

What’s the best part of your job?  “I am very interested in different cultures and I enjoy meeting people from different countries.”

Why volunteer in Nepal?  “Nepal is rich in its beauty and cultural diversity. Tourists come here for trekking, climbing, white water rafting and safaris, and Nepalese people are well known for their friendliness.”

 

Peru

Charlotte

Background:  Charlotte grew up in Bristol however has lived all over the UK as well as in Hong Kong and Germany (12 houses in total!) She is a graduate from the University of Southampton where she studied Anthropology. After university she took her gap year where she volunteered in Cusco for 3 months as an English teacher. Following this she travelled throughout Peru and Bolivia. Not wanting to stay away for too long, Charlotte was back in Peru after only 2 months in the UK.

Interests:  Skiing, Country music, Painting.

What’s the best part of your job?  “Working alongside members of the local community to develop meaningful volunteer programmes and meeting and assisting new volunteers during their time in Peru”

Why volunteer in Peru?  “It’s always interesting to meet new people and to learn about new cultures. Peruvians make this an even more interesting and enjoyable experience. Many Peruvians still have a direct link with their Inca ancestors, proudly conserving the Quechua culture that is so important to Peru’s past”.

 

Ecuador

Volunteer in Ecuador

Carolina

Location:  Quito
Background:  Carolina was born in Quito and has lived in Ecuador’s capital city her whole life. She now lives with her parents and brother. Before becoming a GapGuru coordinator, Carolina worked as a psychologist for children and adults.

Interests:  Travel, meeting new people, spending time with family and friends.

What’s the best part of your job?  “What I enjoy most about this job, is realising that gap year travellers can understand the reality of my country. While they are working, they can learn not just how to speak Spanish, but also how to help people in the best way. I really enjoy my job, because I can work in a team and help my country.”

Why  take a gap year in Ecuador ?  “What makes travelling here very special is the people, the landscape and the weather. You can find very nice people here and we have beautiful landscapes. There are mountains here in Quito and if you want to travel, you just decide if you prefer go to the beach, to the jungle or to the Galapagos Islands! Ecuador is a small country and because of this you can make the most of your time here. Finally, you have perfect weather, with warm days and little rain.”

 

Chile

Yali

Location:   Santiago
Background:  Yali was born in Nicaragua and moved to Chile at a young age. Having grown up and studied in Santiago, Yali completed her graduate studies in Miami, USA, where she first began teaching English and Spanish. She now teaches in Santiago and lives with her husband and their English bulldog! Yali has been a GapGuru coordinator since July 2010.

Interests:  Travel, photography, education.
What’s the best part of your job?  “Because I work in Santiago, travelling to the GapGuru projects in the Elqui Valley every month is more like a gift than just another part of my job! I enjoy listening to students talking in English, singing and working in groups. The teachers are really enthusiastic, know their students really well and give every day of work to improve the chances in life for all of them.”

Why volunteer in Chile?  “The setting is outstanding, especially for people more used to city life. The Elqui Valley has little towns up in the mountains with friendly locals who work in vineyards and tourism. The region is well known for its amazing clear sky that will definitely leave gap year volunteers awake during the starry nights! The children love to learn English from GapGuru volunteers and with their visit the whole community is engaged in learning a foreign language.”

 

Sri Lanka

Dhammike

Location:  Kandy
Background:  Dhammike was born and raised in Kandy, and now lives there with his wife. He became a GapGuru volunteer coordinator after a long career in hospitality, but has always been involved in volunteer organisations in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.

Interests:  Community development, volunteering

What’s the best part of your job?  “No matter what project we work on I always feel that we have helped develop something for the benefit of the wider community. Working with gap year volunteers from all over the world means that there is a huge amount of variety in my work and I always gain different perspectives from each volunteer.”

Why volunteer in Sri Lanka?  “Sri Lanka is such a diverse and culturally rich country. Because it is a developing nation there are many different opportunities to suit every type of volunteer, whether they are interested in teaching, healthcare, conservation or construction.”

 

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