GoAbroad Interview

Sara Fonseca - Communications & Partnership Manager

Sara Fonseca - Communications & Partnership Manager

Sara is originally from Oeiras, Portugal, a small beach town not far from Lisbon. She studied communications at university and did her fair share of traveling before she began her work for ImacTrip. Sara enjoys reading, writing, and cooking in her free time, but she thoroughly enjoys the opportunities she is afforded during her day job too. Speaking directly to travelers who want to experience Portugal in a local way, she is truly dedicated to the mission of ImacTrip in every way.

What inspired you to work for ImpacTrip?

Above all, the purpose of ImpacTrip is to provide a different vision with real impact for all who want to visit Portugal. With the growth of tourism in our country, this is a different, original, and special way of showing what we have best and of giving tourists a more Portuguese view of Portugal. These factors, coupled with a professional team and fantastic working environment, were the main purposes for me to embrace this project.

Staff at the ImacTrip office in Portugal
At the office

How do you use your past professional and personal experience in your current role?

I have always worked with people, communication, and events, besides traveling a lot and volunteering. All this background gave me the skills to have an open and clear vision of the path to follow, as well as to realize how equal we all are in our differences. At ImpacTrip, we make tailor-made experiences and, being so, having consistent communication that speaks directly to travelers - and cares about their preferences and opinions - is the main focus that I always try to follow.

What sets ImpacTrip apart from other volunteer opportunities?

First of all, the passion which the whole team gives to this project. The daily and personalized follow-up with our volunteers and the possibility of making tailor-made programs, due to the strong connection we have with more than 200 social and environmental partners. We try to give a bit of ourselves to all the volunteers and integrate them into our lives, so that they feel at home and get to know the most special, genuine, and real parts of our country.

All of our experiences have a real impact on the environment or society. You can, for example, explore Lisbon on an electric bicycle, dive and explore the Atlantic Ocean and pick up the trash from its bottom, meet the wild islands of the Tagus River, or have lunch in the restaurant of a social institution in Porto and appreciate that magnificent city from the balcony. All these experiences, in addition to volunteering, allow those who visit us to know the deepest part of our country and still have a constant impact during their vacations.

Volunteers having lunch in Portugal
Having fun with the volunteers

Describe a typical day of work for you at ImacTrip.

My days are all very different, depending on the schedule. I may be writing articles for national and international publications, or I can be managing campaigns, posting images on social networks, making videos, or handling photos. In the communication department, the challenges are constant and, apart from the periodicity of posts and our newsletter, there are no routines, which makes this work very dynamic and demanding.

How do you help volunteers have a meaningful time with ImpacTrip?

Concerning communication, my aim is for all channels to be as clear as possible and to respond to all the needs that are presented to us. In addition to the back-office work, I also try to spend some time with the volunteers, although unfortunately it’s not always possible to be with all the groups. Our active participation in the journey of our volunteers is one of the points that distinguishes us from any other international volunteering, besides giving us great pleasure to be in their company.

What is your best piece of advice for incoming volunteers?

Have fun and enjoy giving and receiving! This is our main purpose, to make you feel at home outside your home and, above all, to make a difference.

Come with the desire to know Portugal as a local, to have the best vacation you could have, and to have real impact in the community.
Volunteers sightseeing in Lisbon, Portugal
Orientational day

Why do you think Portugal is a great place for international volunteering?

Portugal, besides its beauty, is an extremely safe country; it has been considered the fifth safest country in the world. We have more than 300 days of sunshine per year, delicious typical food, magnificent landscapes, and fantastic, very welcoming people. Our country also has real needs that require the support of all volunteers.

ImpacTrip has more than 200 social and environmental partners who are most pleased to receive the help of international volunteer travelers. Whether it's preparing meals to help needy families, diving and cleaning the ocean floor, helping to preserve the Iberian wolf's habitat, or teaching English to children from poor neighborhoods, every day in Portugal is a unique and very rewarding experience.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The ability to make a difference every day, whether participating in activities with our volunteers or sharing their stories with the world. Being able to participate in the daily lives of the volunteers who, with us, help us in making a difference in our country.

ImacTrip Staff
With the team

What memories do you hope volunteers take home with them and remember most fondly?

The friends they made, the moments they passed, the difference they made in other people's lives, and the impact they created. The small details; the landscapes, the smiles, the Portuguese words, the food, and, of course, us. I think this kind of experience brings many important memories that accompany us forever and make deep transformations in our lives.