Alumni Spotlight: Julie Kern: Dominican Republic

by on Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Alumni Spotlight highlights the achievements and stories of ISV alumni and Student Representatives. This weekly feature showcases these participants and their life-changing experience from around the world. ISV knows that volunteers make a difference, and is pleased to recognize the achievements of these outstanding university students!

This week’s Alumni Spotlight is on:

Julie Kern
Western Washington University
Dominican Republic 2008

Julie on her volunteer project in the Dominican Republic

Describe your Volunteer Project:

My volunteer project with ISV was in La Jas, Dominican Republic. The project was split between new home construction and a youth summer program.

What was the most memorable moment of your ISV Program?

My most memorable moment (or many moments) was experiencing the generosity of all the people who live in the Dominican Republic. My group of volunteers was invited into the homes of the local people and offered food, when they already had so little themselves. Everyone was so welcoming and appreciative of the work we were doing. That sense of community and generosity left a lasting impression on me.

What was your favorite thing about your host country?

My favorite thing about the Dominican Republic was its natural beauty. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to travel in a country that has beautiful beaches, waterfalls, mountains, rivers and jungles all in one place.

How has your ISV experience influenced your future?

My experience with ISV has affected my future immensely. After ISV, I finished school with a degree in Human Services in hopes of continuing my service to others. I was accepted into AmeriCorps, National Civilian Community Corps where I had the opportunity to continue traveling and helping people in different parts of the United States. I now work for Habitat for Humanity where I continue to provide housing for low-income families and work toward ending homelessness. My ISV project inspired me to continue serving others and giving back. The program also gave me the experience and references to start a career doing what I am passionate about.

"My favorite part of the adventure tour was white water rafting. We were laughing and screaming and having a great time the whole trip." -Julie

Why did you decide to travel with ISV?

I decided to travel with ISV because their programs offer the best of both worlds. Students have the opportunity to volunteer abroad and make a difference, while also exploring a new country and having amazing adventures surfing, whitewater rafting, waterfall repelling, etc. ISV is also great for first time travelers because it is very structured and organized.

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