The benefits of volunteering abroad

This summer, I’ve experienced volunteering abroad for the first time. It was an eye opening experience that left me hungry for more. It changed me in many ways and it is safe to say I’ll never be the same.

Volunteering is not about traveling to a different country, it’s about taking a journey on the inside
-Ann-Sophie Ovile-
You can tweet this quote.

Volunteering is a way of:

1- Realizing that you know nothing

We grow up in a certain environment and we consider ourselves “lucky” if we have ‘all we need’. Volunteering can show you that comfort can be a curse too. When we get so comfortable in our relaxed life that we forget that the true meaning of life is about love, and that love is expressed by helping others, there is a problem. For so many of us, a succesful life turns around finishing college, finding a job, have friends to keep a social life alive, get married, have kids, die with enough money to pass on to them. As much as I believe these are not wrong things to want, I am 100% sure that they are far far far from being what it takes to give life a meaning. Volunteering will teach you how giving your time freely to those who only have a smile to repay you can touch the earth way deeper than a 10% of salary you throw in a church basket every month. Yes you might be giving it with all your heart but I find myself thinking “Isn’t it better to also give to people who actually see my face and with whom I can share other experiences?” Volunteering will make you hate being comfortable all the time. You will learn how to get out of your sit and truly love others, give your time for people who will not be able to repay you in material but who will change your heart

2- You will learn to FEEL more

I always felt a lot but volunteering has really liberated more of this side of me. We are often pressured to hide our emotions. In some societies, they say that men never cry. What a lie. We all have emotions. We might not express it the same way but we all have a heart. I believe in the good in humanity. When I was volunteering in India, I cried many times. I cried when I realized how happy the kids were to have interns helping them with school work (even if they only wanted to play). I cried the first time they prayed, I cried when I thought about leaving them even when I got tired of teaching because most of them didn’t speak english. Volunteering will definitely help you discover the soft parts of your heart. You will become a better person because you will be closer to your emotions.

3- Make you humble

Even when we have ‘everything’ we should stay humble. In India, I lived like I didn’t own much. I quickly regretted bringing 10 pairs of shoes ! I wore 3 of them. At home, I have a lot of THINGS but volunteering showed me that the things don’t define the heart. It is over there that I’ve been reassured that I am far from being a spoiled brat. Volunteering will reveal your true self.

4- You will learn that sometimes, we have to loose everything to gain everything.

I know I said that a lot but what most of us think is important, isn’t. When you go to a different territory, you will have to forget everything you knew back home. You will have to go with an open mind , open heart and open spirit. Without this attitude, you will stay stuck with your ways of doing things and you will pass by all the culture experience.

I highly suggest you take a trip to volunteer. Not only will it help others, but it will also build you up. You will become wiser, more humble and richer in spirit.

Don’t forget that I plan trips for the youth and help them find internships abroad. Contact me annsovile@gmail.com and check out my instagram page for pictures.

Xoxo

A travel lover

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