Back then my biggest excuse for not doing so, was my parents not being supportive of me venturing into the unknown. As the years went by and as I grew older, I still dreamed about volunteering abroad. Unfortunately, I continued to make excuses for why not to. The dumbest one being: I am an introvert, so how can I possibly teach anyone anything? (I work as a language teacher in France).
This year I finally came to my senses and jumped into it, but not without doing a whole lot of research before selecting the right program, duration and location. Introverted and not sure what to expect, I wanted to sign up for a one week program.
I contacted different organizations and platforms in search for a program that would match my experience, qualifications and limited time. And I didn’t want to travel too far away for only one week. I was suggested to teach English and work on after-school activities and events with kids and teenagers in Moldova. I e-mailed the project manager and asked her a bunch of questions about the country, the program, everything. We exchanged numerous e-mails almost on a daily basis for a couple of weeks. By this time we had gotten to know each other quite well.
Besides being the project manager, she’s also the owner of the school and a full time teacher. She made it crystal clear that her volunteers would know exactly what to teach, and would in most cases assist her during her lessons. The program fee covered the placement with a host family (two meals pr day, accommodation), and was a smaller fee than most other programs I’d seen.
It was settled. This was my program. A short-term program where I could use my teaching-skills, my creative skills and learn about a country I knew very little about. Left feeling nothing but excitement, I threw my fears and excuses out the window.
Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. I had a wonderful time in Moldova and I’m glad I started out with a one week program. Now I know I can go farther, stay longer – and use what I’ve learned from this experience.
If I hadn’t spent all this time researching and putting a lot of time and effort into the e-mail correspondence, who knows what could’ve happened? I could have ended up on a program where my skills would be usless, and I would be useless because I’d be lacking the right skills.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; research your options and reach out to the organizations. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. The more you know about the program, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
Don’t travel to the opposite side of the world if you’re planning to stay for a week. There are plenty of opportunities in countries near you – no matter where you are.
What does the local community need? Do your research on the location and ask yourself; are volunteers doing more harm than good to this community? Are they taking away jobs from local workers? Make sure you select a program where your qualifications are actually needed. Make that your number one priority.
For more travel stories by Kristine > https://explorelovetravel.net/
There’s something about authentic photography that captivates us all. Maybe it’s that it represents a moment lost in time or that it exposes a different side of things. It can incite feelings of curiosity, happiness, familiarity, and even sorrow. An authentic photograph makes the subject come alive in a viewer’s mind. Like the great Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank […]
On July 10th, John Garnica, founder, and president of RAREC received a call at 4 AM informing him of a baby manatee in dire need of help. The call came from Regionales de la Producción (DIREPRO), a government body that supports environmental preservation and sustainability. Members of DIREPRO had boarded a boat to check if the […]
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer with children? Volunteering in childcare has awesome perks and its not only because kids can be so darn cute! Here are 10 Incredible Things About Volunteering With Children! #1 Kids love you as you are To kids, you are the human equivalent of the […]
One of the reasons we are so dedicated to volunteer work is because it reminds us of our place on the planet. As of June 2018, there are 7.6 billion people in the world – that’s 7.6 billion stories to discover and share. Volunteering keeps us grounded. We find that after committing ourselves to care […]