First Time Volunteering Abroad

23 Aug 2018 10:49

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The first time that I traveled by myself was my Freshman year of college once I ventured to volunteer in Nicaragua. A few months before I left on a trip by myself to meet a bunch of strangers, I had been sitting in my Chemistry class in Felmey Hall when a recruit came in to spread the word regarding a company I had never heard of, GIVE Volunteers. With little study I convinced myself that this is a step that I must take and signed up myself. Fast forward to sitting on an older school bus full of 30 other volunteers, traveling down a gravel road to a little fishing village on Western shore of the country. Although the initial 12 hours were a little awkward and intimidating that I grew to love that bunch of strangers and a number of them are still my good friends today, four decades later. We started in the little town of Jiquilillo building homes for unmarried and abused mothers and worked our way into Little Corn Island, teaching kids and working with a recycling program.

Poverty in some of these places were large, I saw things that I'd seen on the news earlier and never thought I'd experience firsthand. However, I also gained a new respect for the world, for my loved ones and friends and all that we have.

It was when my flight landed in Chicago that for the first time in my life I had a passion for something. I had done things I enjoyed, such as cooking and taking art courses, things which I thought would be fun to do but I had never craved something such as that passion before. I had spent the past two weeks traveling volunteering in Nicaragua. And those two months were the most purposeful weeks of my 18 years of life. At volunteering abroad was frightful, I questioned why I went, I got sick and missed home and my mother, but the more I did and the more I dreaded, the more I grew along with the more I understood that the best things in life are held in the other side of dread. I had to stretch past my nervousness to hop on that plane and it ended up directing me on an experience I can never forget. That experience sculpted me as an individual. It lead me to the love of my internship, and the work I do around the area.

When I was first offered my internship in Marcfirst my buddies told me I was dumb for not looking for an opportunity that would offer cover. I knew it'd be relatively time consuming and though doing the work for free was not my first option, it was a company that consisted of something which I fully supported. It was that passion to relinquish in the neighborhood of doing good and helping others no matter what form it arrived in. I am currently seven months into my profession and I really like every second of it. I would go in more if I had the time, the money means nothing to me personally and I fully support the work being done. It has proven that money is not the greatest prize in life, and that happiness in what you're doing with your life will be.

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