From my experience so far, I see that one of the most important aspects of studying abroad is being assertive with one’s time.
If a person sits behind a locked door, watching Netflix, and talking to his or her friends from the United States every weekend… Then that person will most likely not have a memorable experience abroad.
Yes of course some movie nights are needed for rest and comfort, but the majority of my weekends are full of life due to volunteering and meeting new people.
My first step was finding something that fit me, Lynda.
I speak English. I’m learning Spanish. I love soccer. I love taking pictures. I’m a Christian. And I love kids.
After searching a couple of different volunteer programs, I came across a Christian volunteer project in Heredia, Costa Rica that uses sports [mostly soccer] and English classes to motivate the youth and to give them a purpose in life. The project is built to love on kids while encouraging them to stay in school and out of drugs and violence.
Because of my recent knee surgery [mentioned in earlier blogs] I was not able to play with the kids, but the director needed someone to take pictures and handle the new Facebook page. Everything about this project fit me. So not only was I impacting the children’s lives, but this project was impacting my life.
I met so many wonderful people by taking a risk and putting myself out there. In the mean time, I was learning to be independent and confident.
Maybe volunteering isn’t for everyone. Maybe it’s taking a dance class or joining a club. With whatever activity, I believe it’s a necessity for growth and improving an experience abroad.