Jendrik Hohn, and International Volunteer with ACE California, working on the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Silver Peak Wilderness Trails Project.
[ACE] Can you tell me about your background?
[JH] I’m 19 and I’m from Germany. I’ve been with ACE for 2 months. I graduated from high school last year in a small city near Bremen.
How did you find ACE?
On the Internet. There were many different opportunities that I learned about—volunteer work, au pair, work and travel, things like that. I finally found this volunteer opportunity in America: ACE!
What interested you in this position?
I didn’t want to be away from home for too long, and this program allowed me to do a 3-month program. I wanted to do something in nature, and something that was totally different from what I’ve been doing so far. It’s free, and I can do something that’s sustainable.
Can you tell me about a highlight and a challenge so far?
My highlight was Yosemite National Park. I went there on my off days with other people from ACE. I also really like this project we’re on now, there’s a great view, you can go into the ocean every day after work, it’s really cool.
The whole program has been challenging. You’re in a different country with foreign people. You have to adapt, speak the other language the whole time. I think this whole thing has been a challenge for me, but I’m glad I’ve done it.
Do you think this position has helped you prepare for the future?
Yeah, of course. I feel like I am more open-minded towards other people. Some people I would have never spoken with in Germany for example. You get more independent and flexible.
What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?
Everything is nice to each other. I didn’t expect that. I got to know about 40 people now, and everyone’s so nice. The work is fun although it’s hard. Nice people, nice work, what else do you want!
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about joining ACE or looking to get into conservation?
I recommend it to everyone who wants to try it, even people who are afraid of doing something alone. It’s good because you’ve got a lot of time and fresh air to think about everything. You can hear opinions of other people about what they want to do in the future and you can compare views.