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Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering abroad is an article written by Reuben Lachmansingh, a published author from
Canada whilst he was volunteering at La Giraudiere in France In 2016

Volunteer Abroad

The word, volunteer, is derived from the Latin word, voluntarius, and the French word, voluntaire, which means one’s free will. Its early reference was with respect to a person who offers himself for military service. The word was first recorded in 1755 from the noun, volunteer.

Tennesee became known as the volunteer state since the Mexican War of 1846/48 when a call for 2,800 volunteers brought out 30,000 men.

With that bit of history behind us, let’s take a young person who gets out into the professional world. He or she may consider building up an array of experiences that would stand him in good stead. This can only come when he looks at the broader and global picture. The world in the twenty-first century is much different than it was in the previous century and no country is an island unto its self.

By simply being abroad, he or she will not only intermingle with the citizens of the country he or she is visiting but with those from other countries. He will learn new cultures that will enable him to look at his own with a more universal perspective.

A year overseas is never a waste of time, a year lost; in fact it has been proven time and again that after a year of volunteering to do something productive, the individual would have built up enough confidence to resume the pursuit of his goal with renewed zeal.

More than 21 million people from the UK  volunteer at least once in the year. The British volunteer labour force contributes £24 billion of economic output to the British economy, 1.5% of the GDP.  Amazingly, two-fifths of the adult population in the UK volunteer at least once in the year. Why is this so? According to feedback information, the experience wrought from that year abroad, has infused them with a greater sense of purpose and meaning to their lives. The new skills would have improved their self-esteem and that most likely would be reflected in their performances.
volunteer abroad france
Student  might find that, after a stint volunteering, his dedication and commitment towards achieving his goal are much more purposeful, leading  towards early graduation and the launching of a new career.

While the person who is volunteering abroad benefits immensely, the relationship is considered symbiotic in that the host country also profits from the individual’s talents considering that the project might be an ongoing one.

The volunteer should realize that while working on a project, he is at the same time learning a new culture and language. Therefore, he should try to absorb as much of both during his short stay in the country. A common problem is that sometimes he or she is not mixing enough with the local populace. He should make a great effort to converse with the local citizens by getting out of his shell. This could be accomplished by becoming an extrovert, even if it is for the time being.

A game of pétanque or boules, similar to lawn bowling, and very popular in France, would bring you closer to the French. And so would a visit to the market, allowing you to intermingle with many folk from all walks of life. By conversing with the local vendors, you will not only make new discoveries  about the products of the country but will get first-hand experience in learning the language of the people. One should not be shy in greeting  strangers with a smile and trying to communicate with them. Most would warm to you and would be happy to speak to someone from a foreign country at their doorstep.

As for a young student leaving home for the first time, he may feel home-sick the first few days, but this feeling of nostalgia for his home and country quickly disappears when he develops a camadreie with other volunteers. They can help each other get over those trying early days and replace them with positive work habits that would lead to a sense of accomplishment.

As a volunteer in France, I came with a unique personal experience, having participated in the International Cultural Exchange Programme (ICEP) started by the late Robert Tesdell (1919-2001) from his New York city office.

During the late seventies to the eighties, my wife Pauline and I hosted hundreds of young people from Europe, answering Tesdell’s call, during the fall in our motel in Niagara Falls, Canada. They had acted as counsellors in youth camps in the USA and at the end of their session, were repaid with a tour of interesting sights in America while staying with host families or at low-cost motels.

At the time of writing this I’m involved in a project that is the reverse of my role in Tesdell’ s ICEP project, in that my fellow participants involved with the La Giraudiere project in Brossac, France, are from Tesdell’s  USA, as well as from Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. We are fulfilling Tesdell’s dream of greater human understanding and international peace through friendship and educational initiatives.
writer volunteers abroad
This article, volunteering abroad, is written by Reuben Lachmansingh, a published author from Canada. For information about La Giraudière and its volunteers program, go to Volunteer Abroad

Like to volunteer abroad in France here are our dates
The 2017 program starts 29th April 2017 and we are open until the 8th October 2017
The 2016/2017 Christmas Program 14th December 2016 to 4th January 2017

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