When I first began looking into volunteering abroad with IVHQ back in the spring, I originally planned to volunteer in Italy. I applied for Italy’s Environmental program when it originally had a 2-week minimum duration. I was accepted and planned to just take those 2 weeks off from work and that was that. A couple weeks after I was accepted into the program I paid the deposit, but right after paying it, I received an email from the program coordinator saying that they just changed their Environmental program to have a minimum duration of 4 weeks. I really wanted to go, but didn’t think it would be feasible to take 4 weeks off from work at the time, so I looked into a few of their other programs and chose Mexico for those 2 weeks instead.
Now things have changed! Since I now plan on traveling the world a bit next year, the Environmental program in Naples, Italy is now one of my destinations. I will be starting this program on July 31st, 2016. The program is based in central Naples, but one of the volunteer housing placements for the Environmental program provides accommodation outside of central Naples, so I will not know which housing placement I will be in until the departure date is closer.
So what will I do there? Part of the Environmental program helps to preserve many historical and UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Naples, and also work with archaeological ruins, national parks, and protected marine life. Volunteers work with local Environmental NGO’s, of which the work can focus on environmental preservation and awareness, preservation of archaeological ruins or protected marine life, general support to the NGO administration, organizing and running community workshops, conferences, outreaches and research.
Most programs through IVHQ run Monday-Friday, but the Environmental program actually runs from Wednesday-Sunday, which means my “weekends” will be on Monday and Tuesday. On weekends, volunteers can check out the city or travel to other nearby cities, such as Rome (which is only an hour from Naples by train) or the ancient city of Pompeii (which is only a 45 minute drive from Naples). Mt. Vesuvius is also nearby, as well as the Almalfi Coast. Since I will be working in this program for 4 weeks, I plan to try and visit a lot of the nearby areas to get a larger feel of Italy.
Once the program start date gets closer, I will have a much better idea of what I will be doing there and where I will be staying, but until then I have 301 more days to wait!