04/03/2024

The moving experience of Frederique at the Rescue Centre

Frederique, a 23-year-old from Luxembourg, wanted to try something new and immerse himself in a different culture but wasn't sure how, until he heard about volunteering abroad from a friend. Driven by his desire to work with animals, he stumbled on ARCHELON's webpage, and found it appealing. ‘I have two dogs myself, and even if sea turtles are something completely different, I always felt very close to animals.’ Frederique explained. Given his preference for capital cities, he decided to volunteer at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada, Attica. Before coming to Athens, he worked as an electrical apprentice and then as a janitor.

At the Rescue Centre volunteers are expected to help on all fronts, so he knew he would have hands-on involvement with all sorts of things, including the rescue network, public awareness, sea turtle rehabilitation, maintenance, and data collection. Still, the first couple of days proved challenging, as he tried to grasp his new reality. After a few days, he started to anticipate the tasks of cleaning the tanks and turtles and preparing food. ‘When I got there, I knew nothing about turtles and had to learn everything from scratch. I was surprised by the treatments that sea turtles go under and the tasks volunteers have. My biggest surprise was that even sea turtles have different personalities!’, said Frederique with excitement.

tasks of a volunteer.png

At ARCHELON, you'll have the opportunity to meet and work together with new people and form lasting friendships - a major benefit of volunteering. You also get to speak to a lot of visitors who are interested in our work. "Giving tours of the Rescue Centre and raising awareness to the visitors about the marine environment was one of the first things I was trained to do. I think the best way to get the message across to the public is to bring people at the Rescue Centre, so they can see for themselves the work we do and understand why we protect and care for this beautiful species", he said.

‘One particularly memorable moment for me was witnessing ‘Rebecca's’ release back into her natural habitat after rehabilitation. It was a very emotional moment because I had picked up that sea turtle with a flipper injury from a bus station, brought her to the Rescue Centre, and helped her with her daily treatments and rehabilitation. You can't describe such a feeling if you don’t experience it yourself, Frederique says

Photos of Fredeqirue releaseing a sea turtle back to her natural habitat

‘Volunteering is an experience which you only understand when you give your sweat and blood to support this project! That's why I always advise everyone, of all ages, to give it a try and gain new experiences. ARCHELON is the best choice for me because you live the volunteering experience to the fullest!’ he adds.

Frederique has returned to the Rescue Centre once more after his initial visit and he is already anticipating his next return!

Learn more about ARCHELON’s volunteering projects here and apply now!

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