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Volunteer OverseasVolunteer Overseas

North American Personnel

Projects Abroad Inc., which has offices in New York City and Toronto, is responsible for helping Americans and Canadians pick out the projects that might suit them. They also help spread the word about our projects by managing contacts with high schools, universities, student groups and gap year advisors.

Tom Pastorius - Head of Global Recruitment Tom Pastorius
Head of Global Recruitment

Tom manages recruitment around the world for Projects Abroad. He graduated from Princeton University and he has visited a number of our destinations - he's always eager to get out and see another part of the world. On the weekends, Tom enjoys playing dodgeball and jogging in Central Park.

Tom has visited Bolivia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Romania, South Africa and Botswana, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.

Ashima Dhingra - Director for Canada Ashima Dhingra
Director for Canada

Ashima graduated with a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree from York University in Toronto. She was born in Montreal around nurses who were intrigued by her name that sounded Japanese and means “limitless” in Hindi. She loves to travel, and has backpacked around Europe for three months and Asia for five months. She always looks for volunteering opportunities both within the city and abroad - some of her past experiences include facilitating English conversation sessions with newcomers to Canada and teaching business skills to women in Tanzania.

Ashima has visited China, Ghana, Costa Rica, India, South Africa and Botswana, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam.

Christian Clark - Deputy Director for USA Christian Clark
Deputy Director for USA

Christian originally comes from New Hampshire, the state with a little bit of everything and a lot of lovely nothing. After college he moved to Japan to teach English, where he once received the response to introducing himself: “I am...Buddhist.” Christian was introduced to Projects Abroad during a trip to Nepal and after completing his Master's degree in Irish Studies at NYU he joined the Projects Abroad team in the US office. He loves snow and will gladly face – and probably lose to – anyone in any sporting event.

Christian has visited Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, South Africa and Botswana, Thailand.

Khadija Benchlikha - Program Advisor Khadija Benchlikha
Program Advisor

Khadija holds a Master's degree in Marketing and Communication. Originally from Morocco, she has visited different countries, including Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, and Senegal, where she volunteered for 1 month to sensitize people about environmental issues. She also helped with a charity program in Tighfest, a Moroccan village, to raise awareness about the importance of hygiene and education. Khadija also has previous professional experience in event and project management. She is passionate about travel, discovering other cultures, reading, and belly dancing.

Khadija has visited Morocco, Senegal.

Kaisa Partanen - Program Advisor Kaisa Partanen
Program Advisor

Kaisa is originally from Finland, but she moved to Canada to study English and French and to immerse herself in another culture's worldview. She has also lived in Spain and participated in a Conservation project in Mexico. After completing a Master’s degree in French Linguistics and Translation, she worked as a translator before joining the Projects Abroad team in the Toronto office. She enjoys travelling, snowboarding, and yoga.

Kaisa has visited Mexico, Morocco

Alejandra Estrada Guzman - Program Advisor Alejandra Estrada Guzman
Program Advisor

Alejandra has been working with Projects Abroad since July 2006, and now assists with recruitment in the US, Canada, and Latin America. She majored in Arts and Music and studied Languages. At 18 she traveled abroad to teach English as a volunteer at a Refugee camp in Belgium. She loves reading and writing, and is passionate about literature in general; she enjoys all forms of artistic expression, and loves music, traveling, and photography.

Alejandra has visited Argentina, Bolivia, Ghana, Mexico.

Nathalie Claessens - Program Advisor Nathalie Claessens
Program Advisor

Nathalie was born in Belgium from a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, but moved right after to West Africa with her family. She lived in different countries (Burkina-Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast, Mali) until she was 18. She then returned to Europe to start her studies in Political Science and International Relations, which she completed in Montreal. She has had the opportunity to volunteer in an orphanage in Burkina-Faso, and also to work in a Canadian non-profit organization that is working to develop a new configuration of the international cooperation in Africa. Nathalie is passionate about travel and discovering other cultures.

Nathalie has visited Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Togo.

Monica Alarcon - Program Advisor Monica Alarcon
Program Advisor

Monica was born and raised in Mexico, where she has spent most of her life. True to her heritage, she can salsa dance all night long; however, she doesn't eat a single bite of spicy food. As a young student, she studied abroad in Canada and worked abroad in the United States. She then came back home to finish her Bachelor's degree in Communications, and later her Master's degree in Marketing. Her professional experience revolves mainly around marketing, advertising, and branding. She enjoys drawing, singing, and chocolate - especially at the same time.

Monica has visited: China, Mexico

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