Tara Kilachand, 33, India – August 2014

Even if you read everything on the website and all the documents they email you before you reach, nothing quite prepares you for life at LWC. The gorgeous surroundings, the thrill (and grind) of the daily schedule, whether it be observing the resident lions Simba and Bella, or looking after the orphan monkeys, and just the sheer joy of being part of a process that ultimately works in service of wild animals and their well-being. And of course part of what makes the experience fantastic is the people – you will come away with lifelong friends and profound respect and admiration for the people (everyone from the vets to the animal care staff), who work gruelling hours every single day to help protect Malawi’s wildlife. And as a small and temporary cog in this process, the work can be tremendously fulfilling (even, yes, catching a daily quota of grasshoppers for a growing and hungry African pygmy hedgehog).