Fiona was born in the northeast of England, but bred in the garden city of Christchurch, NZ. Jumping from the South Island to the North, she graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a degree in Development Studies and International Relations, specialising in the region of Asia. A trip to Vietnam in 2008 sparked an interest in all things travel and development related, so Fiona considers herself lucky to work for an organisation where she gets to chat with volunteers about both of these things every day. Fiona coordinates the Africa programs, as well as Nepal, Vietnam, the Everest Fundraising Trek and the Be The Change Program.
When people ask you 'where are you from' what is your reply:
I was born in the City of Sunderland, UK, but family is where my home is and that's Christchurch!
When people ask 'where do you work' what's your response:
At Global Volunteer Network - a cheery little office in Lower Hutt with some great people who are all equally keen travellers!
When people then ask 'and what do you do at GVN', what it your reply:
I spend my time organising volunteer placements, answering tricky questions and chatting with people about travelling to Africa and Asia. There's a bit of inter-office Foozball competition in there too...
Why did you end up working at GVN?:
I spent my final year of studying interning at the GVN Foundation, helping to raise funds for our partner organisations through the annual Eat So They Can campaign. As an intern, I did all sorts of tasks from answering emails and stuffing envelopes to designing posters and appearing on TV. When my internship and my studies finished, I knew I wanted to stay involved with the work GVN/GVNF do, and it just so happened that GVN were in need of a Program Specialist!
What's the best thing about working for GVN?
Talking to people all over the world and being able to relate to them in their desire to travel, experience something new and have an impact on a community half a world away.
When you're not at work, what's your favourite activity?
Spending time with friends and family, planning my next overseas trip, baking, live music and exploring the hiking trails in the areas around Wellington.
What's your favourite food?
I'm a big fan of Thai food in general, but if I had to pick, it would definitely be Tom Yum soup!
If you could be animal, what would it be?
Anything that gets to sleep in the sun all day.
If you could go anywhere just now, where would it be?
This answer changes all the time, as I have a very long list of places I want to visit, but today I would say Greece, Turkey and Jordan. Ask me tomorrow and you may get a different answer!
Who are your favourite bands/musicians?
I love listening to kiwi music - Fly My Pretties is up there as a favourite! But my taste ranges from The Beatles, to John Mayer, to the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra - and just about everything in between!