When your African or Asian parents find out you want to volunteer overseas

Me: I’m thinking of volunteering overseas

Mum: Whaaaaaaatttttttt

Mum: Are you getting paid?

Me: No

Mum: silence

Mum: Ooo but your Fathers friends son just landed a job with Goldman Sachs and your cousin is starting her masters

Mum: Are you sure about this?

Me: Yeah

Mum: Well Ok shaa

I took the step and remember falling in love with India straight away from waking up to the amazing views of the Himalaya mountains, to the colourful clothing, array of spices, phenomenal architecture, Bollywood movies that left me crying from laughter and so much more.

I spent three months volunteering where I encountered some of the tragedy of India such as gender inequality, caste system and the sheer number of children living in slums . But I also experienced the beauty of India with my team members where we built relationships with the local community, carried out a needs assessment with families in the community, taught in a Primary School and so much more. I look back at my time in India as one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences which continues to shape my life.



One thing I would tell my younger self is just go!!! it is by far one of the most character building and life shaping experiences ever. I developed so many skills such as: self awareness, team work, leadership, interpersonal skills, project management, problem solving and so much more which made me so much more employable.


Research!!! there are a vast range of volunteering opportunities with varying lengths, costs, projects to be involved in, development issues they focus on etc. Don’t be put off by cost as there are some amazing government-funded programmes including International Citizen Service

5 thoughts on “When your African or Asian parents find out you want to volunteer overseas

  1. Great blog post. Volunteering abroad is something I have considered, as well as visiting India. However, I’ve recently become scared of India due to hearing stories about then racially discriminating and physically attacking people of black African descent there. Did you have any problems with being black in India?

    • Thank you! I didn’t experience any overt racism whilst in India. I was volunteering in a rural village where many people had never met a black female before so there were lots of questions and even a few requests for pictures with me but nothing aggressive. International Citizen Service the programme I went on is UK government funded so there is a lot of safety and security put in place to ensure you have a safe experience. It’s a really diverse programme so have a read of some of the volunteer testimonials on their site too. Hope that helps!

  2. I enjoyed reading this and glad I followed my mind and went for it. I have no regrets about going and I don’t recall any racism. Maybe the odd stare but they were probably more curious, as I didn’t feel uncomfortable. India is a beautiful country, so much to do and learn. #no regrets. Carpe diem!

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