In this week’s installment we are joined by Luka Bresseel, an ACE California International Volunteer from Belgium. We caught up with Luka earlier in the year when he was working on the Silver Peaks Wilderness Trails Project in the Ventana Wilderness.
International volunteer positions are offered in our California and North Carolina branches. See our International Volunteer Program page for more details.
[ACE] Can you tell me about your background?
[LB] I’m from Belgium. I studied commerce. I’ve finished school last year and this year I’m taking a gap year.
How did you find out about ACE?
Through another organization in Belgium that has different projects around the world. They contact ACE and send volunteers.
What interested you about this kind of work?
I wanted to come to America, especially California. I was excited to combine meaningful work with fun stuff as well—like traveling. We’re going on a road trip soon to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley as well. The work can be really hard sometimes. All day in the sun! But it’s fun too. We have an awesome view to go along with the hard work.
Can you tell me about a highlight and a challenge of your term?
My highlight would be the awesome views during work and at camp, and the beautiful sunsets.
A challenge would be the blisters!
Do you have any goals for the future when you’re done with ACE?
I want to start studying at the university. Here you’re away from the Internet, no contact with people you know. You have a lot of time to think about what you want in life.
Do you think this position has helped prepare you for the future?
Yeah, definitely. It’s changed the way I think about things. You need to be motivated all the time. Sometimes it’s a little bit rough but you just have to keep going. I think it’s helped my work ethic. So in the future I might think “I was in Ventana working all day, I can study at a desk for two hours!”
What sets ACE apart from other organizations?
The crew leaders and project partners are really nice and helpful. It’s a nice atmosphere. They’re more like friends and less like your boss.
Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking about joining ACE or thinking about getting into conservation?
Definitely try it. It’s a good experience.