Volunteer for Community Aid and Development
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It was a trip I don’t regret taking! It’s the best if it’s your first time travelling alone, because there is 24 hour support and the mentors are so lovely and will pick up the phone whenever you need to speak to them. It was an amazing experience helping these kids and having fun with them, and also having a taste of amazing Spanish culture and living independently with roommates. It’s definitely something I would recommend for students in summer or holiday breaks.
I learned a lot about the culture in Vietnam and was able to explore the famous places in Ho Chi Minh as well. Apart from the amazing time I had during the cultural week, I was more keen for my week of volunteering to come, as that was my main purpose of enrolling myself to this program. I’ve never been happier that I chose to work in a school as I; myself enjoy having children around me.
The Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement placement starts off with four days of Culture Week, a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other volunteers we would be living with for the next three weeks. This involved language and culture classes, a tour of the city and its major historical sites, cooking class and Vietnamese towel folding class (the last two of which caused a LOT of laughter!). Then we all started work.
I couldn’t imagine how those township kids’ childhood would be until I participated in their life. We had a totally different life with them. Finally I realized how happy and lucky I am and I’ve never felt regret to join this volunteer experience. I could deeply felt the happiness during my trip and I felt that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I did learn a lot and also received a lot during the volunteering trip.
I sort of became the head teacher there quickly. And the kids listen to me and trust me – and I learned a little Xhosa (pronounced kosa) too. I’m such a mess right now because I love them and I feel awful leaving them. In a perfect world I would stay and make sure I saw them all graduate from high school.
Since I was on the surf club, in the evenings after coming back from Zusakhe, I joined the other surf club volunteers and helped give surf, skate and swim lessons to kids from Dunoon who were around 8-14 years old. Often, this was time for us to try to get closer to the kids and learn about their life stories. On days when the weather was too bad for surf club activities, we played board games and even had a pizza cook-off between different teams.
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