Volunteering is a noble cause and it teaches you a lot. Last year, I took a volunteering trip to Kenya, and here are the best lessons learned from volunteering trip.
“It’s impossible to be involved in all situations, but there’s no excuse not to be involved in something, somewhere, somehow, with someone. Make an ounce of difference.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
Most of us are born in privileged families and are lucky enough to have the basic necessities of life, along with certain luxuries.
But not all are blessed like us, and it’s our humanitarian duty to stand by them and help them have better lives.
While charity and donations are bygone things, more and more millennials are taking up the path of volunteering.
Spending your valuable time for serving a community and sharing your love with someone is the most precious thing to do, and soon you’ll realize that you are gaining much more than you are giving.
Have you ever imagined how wonderful it would be to travel to a different country and teach little children there?
Or maybe help the staff to paint a school? Or helping the mahouts to clean and feed the elephants?
In general, we are always thinking of how to make life better for ourselves, but for once, if you decide to make life better for someone else, I can assure you that you won’t regret making that decision.
And the lessons that you will learn would help you throughout your life.
- Best lessons I learned from my volunteering trip:
- Lesson 1: Small steps can make big differences.
- Lesson 2: Life ‘out of the box’ isn’t that bad!
- Lesson 3: Material objects can’t be a source of eternal happiness.
- Lesson 4: The best way to connect with people is by learning their language.
- Lesson 5: Learn to make friends out of strangers.
- Lesson 6: Your ideas will get wings when merged with others’ ideas.
- Lesson 7: First-hand experiences are always better than lessons learnt from books.
Best lessons I learned from my volunteering trip:
Lesson 1: Small steps can make big differences.
We’ve all grown up listening to the saying – “Every drop counts”, and during my volunteer trip, I came to realize how true these words are.
No matter how small your contribution might appear to you, it can actually make a big impact in someone else’s life.
Nothing really is small as long as you are dedicated to what you do. If you are teaching alphabets and numbers to the little ones in a rural school or helping people to build houses in their community, you’re making a difference.
Spreading happiness is one of the best things we can do – and volunteering abroad taught me that it doesn’t take much to sprinkle sunshine on someone’s dull day.
Lesson 2: Life ‘out of the box’ isn’t that bad!
Growing up in an urban middle-class family, I’ve been blessed with a certain way of life. When I decided to take a month-long trip to Kenya and volunteer there at a Children’s Home, I barely had any idea of what challenges I’ll have to face.
On the first day at Makimei, I wasn’t sure of how to spend my entire day with the kids who don’t understand or speak my language.
I felt clueless in the first few days, but eventually, I fell in love with those little ones and the work I was assigned.
With every passing day, as I was stepping out of my comfort zone, I felt more confident and realized that life ‘out of the box’ was immensely enriching.
Lesson 3: Material objects can’t be a source of eternal happiness.
Were you sad when you lost your favorite pen? Or you stopped fitting into your favorite dress? Or when your father refused to buy you the latest iPhone?
Once you go through the volunteering journey, all of that will seem vague to you, and you’ll no longer find any meaning for the desire of those material objects.
The entire process will change you for good and you’ll learn that happiness comes from the little things in life which probably money can’t always buy.
A hug from an orphan or a word of blessing from an old man would seem more precious to you than any material object. You’ll learn to value the intangible things that can last forever.
Lesson 4: The best way to connect with people is by learning their language.
Although English is mostly understood (and spoken) by people across the world, there are still areas where the local language is more predominant.
Especially in the rural areas, the native language is widely spoken – and it’ll be easier to bond with people if you can pick up the basics.
I remember how happy the kids and the caregivers used to be, when they heard me speak Swahili (although broken!).
It felt like bliss when they would hug me and say “Nakupenda” which means ‘I love you’. And not just that, but learning a new language will also add some brownie points to your Resume.
Lesson 5: Learn to make friends out of strangers.
For all our lives, we have been making friends with people we’ve either grown up with, attended school or college together, or perhaps work in the same office or through some connection.
So basically, we befriend people who have something in common with us. But a volunteer trip will help you to befriend people who are absolutely different – yet, you’ll end up sharing some of the best times of your life with them.
You’ll get to meet people from different parts of the world, who’ve traveled miles (just like you!) to make a difference in someone else’s life!
You’ll be living with them in the same house, go to work with them, spend weekends with them and before you’d even know, you’ll have some amazing friends for life.
Lesson 6: Your ideas will get wings when merged with others’ ideas.
On a volunteer trip, you will meet like-minded people from all across the world, and get to share your ideas.
There might be ideas that you have had since long but never understood how to make them work. Those ideas might finally get wings with a little help from your fellow mates.
You should know that each one who’s a part of this noble deed has something unique in them, and each of them has the potential to make a mark in your life and vice versa.
Make the most of the time that you have at your disposal and give proper shapes to your ideas.
Lesson 7: First-hand experiences are always better than lessons learnt from books.
After you reach your volunteering destination and spend some quality time with the locals, you will soon start realizing that your history 7 geography lessons in school weren’t good enough!
You’ll come to know a land differently, and every little thing about the lifestyle of those people – for example, their festivals, their choice of art and music, their dating style and wedding rituals, how their society has taken the present shape, their cooking habits and much more.
Living and interacting with the local folks on a daily basis will help you learn more than you did in your classroom lessons. First-hand experiences are always more enriching and effective.
While all these might seem to be easy lessons to learn, let me tell you that they aren’t as easy as they seem to be. But, once learned, they can totally change your life.
If you are convinced about the benefits of volunteering, then put a pause to your procrastination and decide how you want to contribute towards making the world a better place.
And through that process of the outer journey, what lessons can you learn to make life better for yourself.