Me: I’m thinking of volunteering overseas
Mum: Are you getting paid?
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?
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