Before I arrived in the Quest office, my understanding of Quest Overseas was of a small organization that sends volunteers overseas to build houses and help out here and there. Only one day after starting my internship, I see that it is much more complex than this. I can see that Quest enables a change of life for those who really need it in Africa and South America, as well as for its volunteers.
There are three types of programs you can enroll here in Quest: the 3-months gap year expeditions, the 6-week summer expedition and the 4-6 week summer projects. By joining a project, there is always a guarantee that you will be doing work that matters and that it will be continued by another group after you finish your project and come back home.
The people I’m working with in the office are just wonderful. Each one has his/her own responsibilities, though sometimes they end up doing other things as well. Gemma, the operations and marketing assistant, is the person who communicates with all volunteers, and arranges all the logistics for the trips. She also manages Quest’s social network communications. Rose manages everything for Quest4Change, from administration to fundraising. She also organizes all the school expedition planning and communication. Jon is the managing director and runs the South America operations. And last but not least, Simon is the marketing manager and is in charge of the Africa operations. Together they make sure everything is taken care of for every volunteer’s departure, from insurance to food, accommodation, transport and activities. Volunteers also receive their support throughout the entire length of the project, from the minute a person applies, until long after their return from overseas. There are also a team of experienced overseas leaders and project partners working all year round in Africa and South America.
My understanding of Quest Overseas is that for the volunteer, it is about knowing that you are actually making a difference in someone’s life, as well as in yours.