Jacquelin Clemente - 2015 Program Participant

Visiting the Taj Mahal in India

A dream came true seeing the Taj Mahal

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

 I have decided to apply for an international program to finally be of service to the world. I feel such programs are a gift to help you finally achieve noble goals. IVHQ was the perfect program for me.

Why did you choose to IVHQ? 

I chose my specific program because I was referred to it from a friend who had worked with IVHQ before. She had wonderful reviews about them, and their affordable programs. I did some research, and they seemed like the perfect fit for me.

Volunteering with kids in India

Pure energy

What was your favorite part about the location of your volunteer work? 

My favorite part about the location was just the fact it was in Delhi, India's capital. A city and country I have always dreamed about going to. There is a lot to do in Delhi, and it was wonderful way to experience the real culture and lifestyle.

What about your program made it unique? 

What makes my program so unique are the people. The world revolves around people and human interaction. The people in Delhi, and the amazing souls who ran the program, truly make you feel at home. They are very giving, honest, and friendly people. I miss places because of the souls I meet; I truly miss the children and everyone I met there.

How supportive were local staff throughout your program?

The local staff at my program were excellent. They responded to calls and emails right away. They made sure I was very well taken care of. One of my host moms, named Sarita, really looked after you like you were her daughter.

Volunteer reading to children in India

My favorite was reading to the children

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

One thing I would have done differently was to stay longer. Instead of giving only three weeks of my time, I would love to give months worth of time. I believe giving your time to those in in need is worth much more than money. I am definitely going to volunteer with IVHQ again.

Describe a day in the life of your program. 

A day in the life of my program would consist of waking up with the other volunteers. My host mother would have breakfast for us before we left to the school. We were driven to school everyday by our host father. I would get to school and be warmly welcomed by the children in my class. I would start the day by teaching them basic English skills, and move on to coloring and art an hour before lunch time. After their lunch, I would do math with them for the remainder of the day.

Once class was finished, my host family would drive us back home and we’d have dinner. We would relax, and enjoy our day, either going out to the markets or, if it was a friday, we would leave for the weekend and travel to another city to explore.

Swimming in Rishikesh, India

Some of the other volunteers and I in Rishikesh

What did you like about staying with a host family?

I liked that we lived with locals who were willing to host us, and not in hotels. We really got to embrace the culture that way.

What surprised you most about volunteering abroad?

What has surprised me the most about volunteering abroad is the fact that India is not the only place that needs our help, to fully experience what it is like to live in poverty, and to see how happy they truly are in the midst of it.

What was your favorite thing to do outside your placement? 

My favorite activity was traveling to another city. I made my way up north to Rishikesh, and had a wonderful time there. I love exploring, so it was a perfect weekend. I finally saw the Beatles’ ashram, where they stayed in India, and that was a priceless moment.

How has your program impacted you now that you are home?

The program has impacted me in many ways. I feel incredibly grateful for my life now, and I am humbled by this experience. I wish everyone could at least experience this once, I think it would make a great shift in the human consciousness.

Volunteer with children in India

These children exude unconditional love

How do you think the skills you learned while volunteering will help you both academically and professionally?

I believe it has helped me professionally to understand my colleagues and have more patience with them.

It has helped me to speak in meetings from my heart. It has helped me to appreciate the tools my work provides me with, like my computer, free tea, lunch, and other amazing work benefits. 

If you could volunteer with IVHQ, where would you go?

I would volunteer in the Philippines for my next trip. IVHQ is an excellent company that is always responsive to anything you need to know, and has cheap fees.

Would you recommend IVHQ to others contemplating volunteering abroad?

I highly recommend people to volunteer with IVHQ, because they have a lot different programs and countries for you to choose from. They are very affordable, and well organised.