What we are finding more and more valuable in getting a head start in your career is life-smarts. It used to be gaining experience, the days where you could start sweeping floors at age 14 and rise to the head of the company. Then education became the fastest way to accelerate your career. As education becomes the norm and university degrees are the standard step up from high school, what will it take to be seen, to show skill and passion and accelerate your career?
What really stands out on a resume is life skills, leadership, passion, and serving the community
My first time as a volunteer in Africa taught me so much more than I could have ever learned in a classroom. The biggest part was that I didn’t know what I needed until I took that step, and saw just how much was on offer, not just for me, on my volunteer vacation, but for the people I was working with. The people of Africa who needed my help.
Volunteer in Africa: Make a Difference
Uganda is a place where helping actually means something. There is the most incredible satisfaction from doing work that really matters. You can literally see the impact on the local community.
It’s incredible to witness how much the people in these communities want to learn. The kids are bursting to go to school, the people want to understand their crops and new ways of sustainability.
They embrace everything you bring and everything you are in the purest and most incredible way. It’s a powerful experience, stepping into this beautiful land and immersing yourself into a world where things are so completely different to home.
The work I did, and new volunteers continue to do there, lasts. It is so deeply rewarding and gives you such a sense of purpose.
Volunteer in Africa: See the World
Uganda is beautiful. I think when you travel to a place with the intention of doing something, like volunteer work in Africa, the scenery is a bonus. Elephants and wildlife and the beautiful sunsets are these magical backdrops to the work you get to do.
It makes being there even more special. It makes the memories really count. Each weekend it’s possible to organise trips such as safaris with your new volunteering family. You get so excited to be part of it and just to be there and then you get to where you are going and it’s the most beautiful place.
When I’m checking on the projects we have for people volunteering in Uganda I really have to pinch myself sometimes, going, is this really me, doing this? Seeing this. The good thing is I have photos to prove to myself it was actually happening!
Volunteer in Africa: Experience Culture
There is no real way to explain what it’s like when you are in a different culture. I sort of felt like I lived my life with a blindfold on, just doing things by feel, and then I got the blindfold pulled off in Uganda and everything I knew about myself and my work in the dark was suddenly lit up.
It’s crazy to say this but I learned as much about me and home in my time in Africa as I did about the community I was part of. Everything was different. Everything. So I was looking at them and me at the same time. I understood so much about community and people and ways of life and it created a deep sense of self.
I took a lot of things for granted, coming to a place where things are simple, thrown together or so deeply rooted in tradition I understood just what I had, and in some ways what I was missing.
The best part for me was being in the culture because you are right in it, living and breathing every moment of it. You are placed with a family who welcome you like their own and you eat and sleep and get around in the ways of the village people so you get to live it and be it for real. You really get to understand something special and experience it all the way to the heart.
Volunteer in Africa: Grow Inside
We get opportunities to be outside our comfort zone all the time, but it feels a bit… icky, so most of us prefer not to experience that heart pounding rush of being on the edge of something new.
What I now know is, being outside your comfort zone is where you grow. This is the place of real learning and knowledge and stretching yourself to amazing places. I can say that because I used to be afraid of that icky feeling. Having been there in the safest possible way, knowing that a company has your back and your investment and time is going to the right place and the right people is the best way to start out.
I’m so much better about taking a step into the uncomfortable from time to time. It still feels icky, but now that I have lived and worked in Africa, I know any challenge I meet at home is going to be easy compared to that. I know first hand that a little tiny feeling of icky is completely worth the feel-good that comes from being there and living it.
The good outweighs the bad so entirely, I wouldn’t ever hesitate to recommend to anyone to get out there and do it. I know I am a stronger, wiser and more capable person for having taken the time to travel and volunteer in Uganda. It’s made a difference in every part of my life back home. Having the courage to do that for the first time was the biggest thing I had I ever done in my life, and I got the biggest reward of my life as well.
Volunteer in Africa: Be Flexible
When you are in Africa, you really get to understand our 1st World problems are trivial and the stress we bring to our life is so uncalled for.
Stepping out and into another way of looking at the world and resources, it gave me insights to how we can live better, to be more satisfied with life and time and just go with the flow of things sometimes.
I loved how nothing in my time in Uganda was ridged. Being in such a place gave me the ability to be completely flexible. I found that so essential as I stepped back into the world of clocks and agendas, knowing how to take some time out, de-stress, and appreciate the simple things.
At times when everyone around me is anxious and fearful and I’m just centred, knowing that what really counts, family, friendships and experience is already in place.
Volunteer in Africa: Connect With Your Tribe
I didn’t really understand until I got back, how amazing it is to be surrounded by people with the same values as me. While I was volunteering in Uganda I got to experience some amazing friendships with people who had my values and wanted the same things in life.
We had the best conversations and connected so strongly, not just because we were living as a community, but also because these were my tribe. My people. It wasn’t until I got back home that I realised how rare that is, how precious that time was. I was the most real me I have ever been in my life there. I think that is because I trusted and connected so well to the people I was with.
I honestly made friendships I want to keep for the rest of my life. It’s so refreshing to connect with someone and say whatever I like and know they understand me and of course, someone who knows what it’s like to have been there and come home again.
I guess I felt a bit lost before my first time volunteering in Africa. I was asking some questions inside about who I was and what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and I didn’t expect any answers. Only I did get answers to all of them. I found myself and my passion and gained so many life skills in my time in Uganda, that I feel like I am now ready for anything. I can do anything. And you know what? I will.