I was born in a quite well-off family and had gone a lot of countries for traveling but what I had gained from all those journey are plenty of photos, gifts and tiredness. If you ask me about all those places I think I could only tell you some inaccurate description based on the blur memory. Another reason why I want to volunteer abroad is to experience a true sense of community as a volunteer abroad. Indeed, traveling can broaden your horizon by seeing the outside world but traveling can never make you physically experience their culture, ritual and manner.
According to normal perception, going abroad for an exchange is a dream for every university student. This is because in order to become high-fliers in the society once you graduate, you must have such a wonderful and colourful resume to make you become extra-ordinary and outstanding than the others. But for me, it doesn’t mean that way. I choose to go to an exchange which is of volunteering nature s because of all my past experiences told me contributing yourself in helping people is the most fruitful job you should do when spending your spare time. I decided to spend my two months vacation for going to AIESEC exchange instead of taking a part-time job to earn some pocket money. I understand that I can’t get to earn even a penny from this volunteering job but I strongly believe that the things I can earn through this journey are much valuable than the penny.
Actually, the countries I chose excluded Thailand. Eventually, I got Thailand instead. The main reason for not choosing Thailand because my cousin brother was actually injured in Thailand Bangkok bomb accident. I already expected that my parents will definitely strongly object to it. I had ever try to persuade them but I had failed like usual. I did not go back home for more than one month before my departure to Thailand to show them my strong determination. I went to the airport alone with 30kg luggage on that day, there is nobody to send me off. This was the first time I went abroad alone without anybody’s companion. I kept think whether my decision is correct or not. I had been pampered and spoon-fed by them for twenty years and this was the first time I decided to step out my comfort zone and experience an adventure journey by myself.
This was the first time I told myself that I need to grow up from that “baby girl” in the past. Before my departure, the vice president of AIESE Malaysia, Erik who in charge for my programme came to bid farewell and he recorded a video of me. I could still remember he asked me what I wish to tell my parents before I left Malaysia? I said: “ Mummy & daddy, please just believe that I will become a better person once I come back…” When capturing the video, Erik asked me why I still decided to go to Thailand since it was not even in my choice. I answered him: “sometimes we tend to go faraway countries to understand their culture but the fact is perhaps most of us don’t even understand the culture of our neighbour country, for example Thailand. Previously, I had personally gone Thailand for few times before this but I just get to learn “Sawadeeka” and nothing else. Have you ever think that we should understand the culture of those nearby countries before we going across the half globe to understand people’s culture.
I can’t really tell you going to an exchange by volunteering yourself abroad can definitely purify your heart so on and so forth. However, it was really a mirror that can reflect yourself and who you are. I had done a lot of self-reflection during the journey and this journey and indeed provided me a lot of self-realisation. In my opinion, distance itself not only helps me to see things clearly but to witness the plight of those in some of the poorest nations on Earth and it also allows me to see first-hand at the struggles of the needy, which I had never had to face in my country. I had always grumbled when there are difficulties and failure in my life path but I had always taken things for granted and had forgotten to appreciate the things which go on smoothly in my life path and the things I have. This is why I wish to go for an exchange because you can only understand how blissful you are when you get to see how tough the others are when going through all the extreme hardships in their life. Being a people who has the capacity to help the others is certainly more blessed than the one who received help from the others. We are human and human are all equally, helping others is helping ourselves in another way.
Volunteering is a thing many of use consider doing, but it is an experience only the minority undertake. However, I had known a lot of my friends who had travelled to countries such as Kenya, Malawi or India to volunteer abroad and have heard about how incredible and life-changing it is. Perhaps, you are helping people as you can and doing a lot of good deed in in your daily lives. For instance, helping elderly up a steep flight of steps, returning a lost phone to stranger or giving a small favour to your friends, these acts all help us to feel good. However, this kind of feeling is of temporary nature for me. I really wish to make some real impact which can not only changed somebody’s day but change their life. My project is an educational project which is teaching English in rural area this is because I believe that education can change one’s fate and even a family. I fully understand that I can’t really teach them thousands of English words within those six weeks but I wish to leave some impact to make the students understand the importance of English in today’s world. As for me, it isn’t simply helping somebody out, it is changing their lives forever, making a true and noticeable difference.
Actually, volunteering abroad can be very fulfilling no matter what the project I undertake. However, the main thing which attracts me the most is it is an educational project. The project speaks to me on a personal and emotional level, I am so much more likely to take more out of it. This is because I was rather poor in academic and always being called as weak student in the eyes of teacher when I was in primary level. I could still remember my ranking was always around 130th out of 150 students. However, I met a very impressive teacher when I was ten years old. She was my home group teacher and she had made me realize how important and how powerful the education can change my life. Undoubtedly, my life had ever changed after that and it is sickening to say that I am a bookworm now. Owing to this, I hope that I can become like my teacher and leave such great impact to the students over there. Undeniably, this is workable for me but you don’t have to select a volunteer program in this way, but if your heart is in it, it means something to you before you even arrive, it can not only be a memorable and life-affirming experience, but a life-changing experience as well.