Tales from the volunteers

news aruba

Askham Bryan College / Newton Rigg College trainees who went to the Vocational Educational Training (VET) in Aruba produced a guide about the project. Their objective was to give future trainees all the information they need to know how to best prepare for this experience. This includes a list of material to pack, health and safety advice: and lots of other top tips to know before departure.

This project guide has been created by Meg, Becca and Bryani.

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D28 Colleen-1

Hi, I´m Colleen and I´m 19 years old. I took part in this project to get experience with animals and working in a veterinary practice.

During the project I spent 3 morning a week at the Vets, where I assisted the veterinarians during consults and surgeries. I really enjoyed my time at Contreras Vets. The other days I would be at the donkey sanctuary, where I helped with the feeding and cleaning and was also responsible for looking after any poorly donkeys.

My favourite activities in our free time were snorkeling, swimming and going out for dinner or drinks to Palm Beach in the evenings.

Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I learned so much about animal diseases and how to examine an animal, how to prep animals for surgeries and how to care for the donkeys and give them their medicine.

Personally, I feel like I gained more confidence through this project. I learned a lot about myself and how to adapt to working in a country with a different culture and traditions and people that might not speak the same language.

D27 Jordan Wright-1

I’m Jordan – an apprentice from Leeds, I went on an Erasmus+ placement to Aruba with Everything is Possible.

Aruba, a tiny happy island in the West Indies – is the perfect place to experience culture, work and fun. I enjoyed my placement at the Aruban Donkey Sanctuary so much that I forgot I was working at all. The placement gave me the opportunity to work with all different types of animals – from Dogs at Contreras Vets to Monkeys at Phillip’s Animal Garden- all of the hosting organisations did everything they could to make me feel welcome and I am grateful to have been given the chance to make a difference out there.

Day to day life in the Donkey Sanctuary consisted of feeding, cleaning, welcoming visitors and running the souvenir shop. I was able to both further my skills and give something back at the same time. Their are 124 donkeys at the sanctuary, each with their own unique personality. Desiree – who runs the sanctuary is inspirational and works tirelessly to ensure the donkeys are well looked after – she even knows every donkey’s name – from Tio Mexico the oldest donkey to Tiddles the youngest!

Phillip’s Animal Garden is a centre for rescued animals, here I was introduced to many fury friends – a monkey called Peter and a baby goat that knew I was there to feed it and would follow me around! My duties at Phillip’s consisted of cleaning out the aviary and feeding the various animals. The staff at Phillip’s speak mostly Spanish so it was a good opportunity for me to improve my language skills!

In my free time, we visited the many local sightseeing destinations including Ayo Rock and the Natural Bridge – where I got drenched by an unexpected wave – the climate is so warm that this wasn’t really an issue but provided a good laugh for the other volunteers!

During my time in Aruba – I learnt what it means to work in a team, I learnt that working with others is a challenging but rewarding experience. Spending full days working in the heat taught me self discipline and self belief – it showed that I was good at getting hands on. I also learnt some more specific skills such as herding and catching donkeys, feeding goats and how to handle monkeys. I think the project enhanced my passion and care to animals and opened my eyes to the responsibilities we have to conserve their existence.

I will always hold Aruba close to my heart and would recommend the project to anyone!

D26 Luke Wray-1

Hi, my name is Luke Wray I am a 21 year old from Harrogate. My motivation to take part in this project was to gain experience working in the environment and with animals, to give me practical skills and knowledge before I go to college.

I worked 5 days a week at the Aruba donkey sanctuary. On a daily basis we would carry out the morning and afternoon feeds, interact and provide information to visitors, this included giving speeches to up to 60 people! My main role was environmental management, this comprised of ground clearance of poisonous invasive plants and of dead cacti, alongside caring for and cleaning up after the donkeys. On a Wednesday morning I worked at a local dog groomers, the staff all spoke Spanish and limited English, so was a perfect oppurtunity for me to learn some Spanish and work on my communication skills. This was a great experience as I love dogs, and it has taught me skills how to better care for my own dogs.

In our spare time we were always making the most of being in the Caribbean, exploring the beaches and snorkelling whenever we could.

I have learnt a lot of practical skills, such as knowledge and methods of ground clearance, basic carpentry and metalwork, and how to repair and construct tools with limited resources. I have also developed a more positive approach to achieving goals.

From this experience I have gained confidence in myself and my abilities, by learning new skills and using them alongside my initiative to achieve goals to the best of my ability.

D24 Aruba James-1

Hi my name is James Davis, 35, from Leeds. I have taken part in this project to help the donkey sanctuary and gain a unique experience.
During the project, we feed, clean and cover general maintenance. I really enjoy working at the sanctuary. Looking after the donkeys and the guests is very rewarding.
Professionally I’ve learned a lot about the importance of the donkey sanctuary and what it takes to manage it. I’ve worked alongside people and guests from all over the world which has really helped my communication skills.
Personally this has helped with my people skills which will help me with my work back home.
James Davis


D23 Aruba Lucy Heaton-1

Hi my name is Lucy, I’m from Huddersfield and I went on a project in Aruba.
During the project I worked at the donkey sanctuary and at the vets where I assisted in operations and consultations.
During my free time I did lots of activities like horse riding and explored the island by bus.
Professionally thanks to this project I’ve learnt how to prepare animals for operations and how to care for the aruban donkeys.
Personally I’ve learnt how to speak a little Spanish and Papiamento which helps when meeting people, travelling and working.
Lucy Heaton
Project part of A Different Kettle of Fish supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in partnership with Askham Bryan College and Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

D22 Aruba Jodie Morris-1

Hello, my name is Jodie, I am from Huddersfield and I undertook a project in Aruba.
During the project I worked at Contreras Veterinary Practice and also at the Aruban Donkey Sanctuary.
During my free time I participated in a variety of activities available on the island.
Professionally, thanks to the project, I have learnt more about veterinary procedures, I also learnt about the Aruban Donkeys.
Personally, I have learnt about the Aruban culture, including the use of a variety of languages and about Aruba’s multicultural history.
Jodie Morris
Project part of A Different Kettle of Fish supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in partnership with Askham Bryan College and Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

D17 Aruba Askham Sam Summers-1

Hi, my name is Sam Summers.
Daily duties included feeding hay and pellets to the donkeys, poo picking the enclosure numerous times a day and checking and refilling the water bars.
My favourite free time activity throughout the project was the horse riding, as this allowed me to learn a different style of riding and was able to see the different locations around the island.
Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I learned how to restrain puppies whilst they are having a blood sample taken and how to clean a dogs teeth with the correct equipment during my time at the vets. At the donkey sanctuary, professionally I learnt how to interact with members of the public and overcome language barriers.
Sam Summers
Project part of A Different Kettle of Fish supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in partnership with Askham Bryan College and Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

D16 Aruba Askham Ryan Stringer-1

Hi, my name is Ryan Stringer.
I have enjoyed being involved in providing the daily husbandry for the donkeys, this involved two daily feeds of hay and pellets as well as cleaning the outside areas. I have also completed extra jobs such as clearing the storage container.
As one of the spare time activities the group and I took part in a softball match against the staff of Contreras Veterinary Services. I particularly enjoyed learning the rules of sport and competing with the staff.
Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I learned new skills and knowledge specifically relating to the veterinary and restraint side of their care as well as how the welfare is maintained in different countries.
Personally, I feel like I have improved my confidence around new people especially whilst talking to tourists.
Ryan Stringer
Project part of A Different Kettle of Fish supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in partnership with Askham Bryan College and Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

D15 Aruba Askham Lucy Fletcher-1

Hi, my name is Lucy Fletcher.
During the week, we fed the donkeys hay and pellets, refilled their waters, poo picked the enclosure, and helped to make a difference at the sanctuary through jobs such as branch clearing and public interaction around the donkeys.
My favourite free time activity was the boat trip and snorkelling as I loved looking at the fishes and other aquatic species and enjoyed the swimming.
Thanks to Erasmus+, professionally I learned the correct position in which to hold a puppy for its bloods to be efficiently taken ready for testing.
Personally I feel this project has helped to increase my confidence in aspects such as living away from home and interacting with new people and of different nationalities.
Lucy Fletcher
Project part of A Different Kettle of Fish supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in partnership with Askham Bryan College and Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

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