If you are in high school, you are at a turning point of your life. You are blessed with energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and talent at this age. You have the whole world in front of you to utilize your talents and your energy to leave a mark at this age. So, why don’t you put your efforts into helping a humanitarian cause? Why don’t you devote some part of your time as a volunteer abroad? Helping those people you have never met on the other part of the globe. Let it be a small effort for a small change, but it will create big impact.
1. Figure out the area of your interest
You can come up with effective results if you love what you do. So once you decide to do service learning, try to pick a volunteer activity in which you can contribute your best to solve those issues and problems that you are truly cared about.
2. Research for the best organization to join
Try to work with an organization that can offer you the best experience and learning. Find out expert organization in this field because you are spending your time and money to go abroad and hard work for others and your humble efforts should be valued. Research about the kind of support that organization currently needs, their area of activities, the beneficiaries of their former community services, assurance of your safety by them in the host country etc.
3. Learn about the culture
You are not going abroad for a picnic to just pack your stuffs and leave your home. You are going to spend your time in building up a good life for those minorities scattered across the globe. You will be from a world of modern amenities and comforts. It is important for you to know about the local culture. Learn about the local cuisine, their ideologies of freedom, gender, races etc.
4. Decide on your goals and expectations
It is important to plan your volunteer trip. You should know what you are going to get out of the program, you can write your ambitions that you are going to make real in the trip. You may not get a second chance.
5. Be ready to be adaptable to the host community
You are an outsider, a foreigner for the host community. Try to be one among them. Adjust with everything you see there. You will get mixed reactions and emotions. They won’t be welcoming as you expect, but don’t get discouraged. People love those who speak their language and their culture. You are not going there to colonize the ethnic community. Respect their culture and norms.
6. Donot under estimate what you do
You are making tremendous efforts and it may not give an immediate result, that doesn’t mean that you worked for nothing. Changes take time, accept this fact and move on.
7. Stay positive and enthusiastic
Every single moment on your trip may not be perfect. Be optimistic and enthusiastic. Ask for local help when you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have doubts. Try to learn new things from the volunteer experience every day. Keep a track of what you did each day will help you to improve in future.
8. Be open minded
The crucial thing you have to remember when you volunteer abroad is to have an open minded attitude to everything you witness and experience there. Learning different culture, language, learn to adjust everything is the output of your service learning. Be welcoming, compassionate, empathetic and friendly to the host.
9. Volunteering is not about glamour or fashion
Your expensive clothes, styles, your fashionable accessories and gadgets may not be as out weighting as the internal glow and learning experience you acquire from service learning.
10. Befriend with the locals of for better communication
Make friends among the locals to get support in your daily activities. You need to practice and learn the local language, get used to the local cuisine, culture and life style for a better survival.