The League Pulse

The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.

Volunteering Abroad, Part Two.

View from Internet Cafe in Koforida
Last week we read about Stephanie Sheldon’s trip to Ghana. The pictures alone tell a fabulous story about the hard work that she did while she was there. Did you see the one where she was holding a monkey? I’m both jealous and scared! This week Stephanie is back with three helpful tips about volunteering abroad and a great international opportunity with AJLI.

Prior to my trip, I had no knowledge of what goes into volunteering abroad. If you’re an international volunteer newbie, keep in mind these three tips when planning your trip.

1. Know your resources and yourself: I spent many months researching reputable organizations that focused on safety and a positive volunteer experience. When selecting a volunteer program, remember what is truly important to you. If you’re not interested in building houses here, you won’t enjoy it abroad. Whether it’s teaching English to children, preserving the rainforest or assisting in community development, you’ll have a much more rewarding experience by sticking to your true interests.

Junior League members, skip the research dirty work and head to Guatemala with the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI). This opportunity includes volunteering with children or the elderly from January 31, 2015 – February 7, 2015. Learn more here.

Local children playing cards in the volunteer house

2. Keep an open mind: The two most important lessons I learned while working with a variety of personalities in an unfamiliar country and was to keep an open mind and be flexible. Expectations are not always fulfilled the way you imagined, but being flexible will keep you open to viewing other ways to enjoy your experience. Like most things in your life, what you get out of your experience depends on what you put into it.

3. Document your trip: A journal with your day-to-day activities will trigger your memory while sharing stories about this once in a life time experience. Also, whether it’s your phone, a digital or disposable camera, be sure to have something for photos. You’ll be taking hundreds.

If you’re considering the trip with AJLI and would like to talk more about the lessons I learned, please email me at stephanie.r.sheldon @ gmail.com. I’d love to get coffee and chat about how our commitment to volunteering is changing the world.Local children of Asempaye

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This entry was posted on August 12, 2014 by in Volunteer Spotlight.
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