“My volunteer experience was one of those things that I can talk about for the remaining days of my life and that wouldn’t be a lot. If someone asks me what is the most selfless thing I have done for someone, I’ll say: Well, I volunteered.”
This is what I have to say about my volunteering experience as a teacher in Vietnam.
This is just one of those amazing and powerful stories being written down every year, every day and every second. But there are so many others which are still unheard of. Each of them has created an impact, which consistently shouts through the irresistible smiles of people they have left behind.
All around the world, helping a stranger continues to be the most common way to give.
According to UN’s Annual Volunteering Annual Survey Report of 2016, 57% of volunteers work in international organizations and contribute to the SDGS.
Here are the goals that people most engage with:
My experience in Vietnam was also related to a goal: Quality Education.
Here are some Volunteer Stories that will make you wish to get involved as well:
1. This is Jyoti. She volunteered in Jakarta, Indonesia through AIESEC in June 2017.
She contributed to “Quality Education”, by participating as an English teacher in a local school.
“I think everyone should volunteer at least once in their lifetime. It did a lot for me. I knew I was a part of a very positive change and that was evident each and every day.
I remember when I was leaving, my students kept saying things I had taught them. It was the most beautiful feeling of my life.”
2. Jennifer, from the Netherlands, volunteered in Indonesia as an English Teaching, in January 2017.
She worked with a co-volunteer from Poland, together they impacted kids from different areas in a summer camp.
“We had the opportunity to come up with our own ideas for the classes. So we both tried to be as creative as possible.
We also made Dutch and Indonesian food, played music together, listened to English songs and painted with the students.
This project taught me a lot about how to look at things from a different perspective. I used to have a lot of conversation in English, about all kind of topics.
It also made me think in a more creative way, thinking out of the box by coming up with different kind of lessons everyday. I think this will help me in the future, looking at things through different glasses.”
You can read more about her exchange in the blog post she wrote.
3. Maren, from Germany, volunteered in Sri Lanka, on the Project Earth 1.0, in March 2017.
“I noticed that most of the children and the teachers were somehow touched by realizing, that we, the project members, have taken time for them and to think about Sri Lanka.”
Maren went to rural schools and taught people about sustainability. At the end of the project, she was thrilled to see her students share what sustainability means to them and how they can take action.
4. Shril Shah, from the Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management, Mumbai found it in his AIESEC Internship in Vienna, in January 2017
“There are internships which are slogfests. There are those which are routine, asking you to surrender eight hours a day to polish a seat in an insular office – and then there are those which bring you to the edge of your comfort zone, push you beyond and leave you with unforgettable life lessons.”
“In Vienna, the students were regular school children who had a good and healthy standard of living. My job was to make them aware of the situation all around the world. I had to make them realize how lucky they and why they should contribute globally to help those who are not that lucky.
Creating awareness about global realities and urging them to take up responsibilities as citizens of the world, was indeed a fulfilling experience.”
You can read more about her experience here – Shrill’s Internship Experience
5. Chloe from Singapore volunteered in Cluj – Napoca, Romania in July 2017. The Project was called, “ Discover Rural.”
“As part of the project, we volunteers were sent to two different schools located two nearby towns outside of Cluj-Napoca to teach English and impart knowledge on the sustainable development goals to children and young adults, aged 7-18.”
This was mainly done through the introduction of their respective local cultures and through the use of very simple English, due to the language barrier.
“We planned our class activities such that they would be able to cater to the respective language proficiency of our students. In order to deliver our lessons to younger children with lower language proficiency, we tried to expose them to the simpler SDGs through simple tasks, such as saving water.”
She writes about her experience in her blog – Milking Cows and Chasing Chickens
6. Haneesa, a student from the National University of Singapore volunteered in Casablanca, Morocco, in 2017.
“Morocco was definitely an unconventional choice for me to do my Global Volunteer project, but throughout it all, I felt that the experience allowed for my personal growth and development.
Living in a completely new environment, where I had no knowledge of the main languages spoken in the country, I felt incredibly out of my comfort zone.“
During six weeks in Morocco, she volunteered in the “Drive Morocco to Quality Education” project. Teaching English to children from age of 5 and even to adults in their mid-40s.
“It was the first time I felt so vital to someone else’s learning experience. I had never been a teacher before and there I was, providing these hopeful souls with the works of the English language.
They had their full trust in me to provide them with whatever they needed to succeed in their academic journey. It was a humbling experience, and the children and teenagers never failed to show me loads of appreciation.”
7. Isabella, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, volunteered in Vietnam.
She writes about it in her blog – Why Volunteering overseas after my exams was the best decision in my Life !
“As I was undergoing my exchange, it was easy to see how important quality education was for Vietnam.
Mere conversations with the founders of the non-profit organization I worked for led me to understand that quality English education is imperative for the youth in Vietnam.It opens up doors for better opportunities for them.”
Not only that, we can agree that quality education, in general, is vital to ensure that future generations can help
improve the conditions of their countries.
“The sheer excitement of the students when we visited their classes to teach English, as well as the fact that so many students opted to take extra English classes outside of school, crystalised the notion that the youth in Vietnam value their educational opportunities.
They are driven by improving their skills. It was a very humbling experience being able to impact these students through teaching English.”
8. Micheal Pham, an undergraduate student and President of Ryerson University, Canada volunteered in Taiwan.
“I chose to go abroad to Taiwan and volunteer because I feel strongly that, in the landscape of today, the key to leadership is to understand the world around you.”
He chose to do AIESEC’s Global Volunteer exchange program, where he would volunteer for 6 weeks at an elementary school called Nan’an, located just north of Kaohsiung City in Taiwan.
“I taught English and created structured lesson plans for topics based on Diversity, Cross-Cultural Sharing, and Climate Change. My exchange focused on working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education (SDG #4) and Climate Action (SDG #13).
I was able to not only be a teacher to the students at the school, but I was a student myself, learning from the culture of Taiwan. I was able to take part in religious and traditional celebrations at school.”
9. Gvatsa, from Georgia, Volunteered in Italy, in a Quality Education Project.
“In a few weeks, I was able to communicate with dozens of students from about 15 to 20 years old, not only as a teacher but also as a friend.
We often did discussions, and it was interesting to understand the position of Italian youth on various issues. Soon I realized that their style of living and thinking was very similar to Georgians.”
“Besides the students, I had good relations with the teachers too.
It’s hard for anyone to find a common language, given that Barozzi High taught courses such as international relations, international law, marketing and foreign languages. In addition, we often talked about politics, economy, history and art.
They did not know anything about Georgia, the country’s history and culture, the Georgian-Russian relations.”
You can read her blog here – It was difficult to adapt, and more difficult to be independent
These are just a few amazing impactful stories, from people who decided it was time to take the leap.
There are many more out there!
If we give a chance for opportunities, all of us can spend some contributing towards a community which needs it the most.
If you think it’s your to volunteer like they did, you can learn more about our volunteer exchanges here.
To read next: “7 Ways to Volunteer Abroad on a Low Budget“.
Blog by- Khyati Ghai