Most people say that they want to volunteer because they would like to do something for other people, to make a difference in someone else’s life.
It is not hard to make that difference. The smallest act can achieve just that. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, an honest compliment, a laugh or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to change a day for someone.
One of our volunteers recently gave an example of this. It was simple. Those being cared for tried to teach the volunteer to speak Hindi. The volunteer had trouble with the Hindi sounds and this created a fun afternoon experience every afternoon. Something quite small created shared experiences with a lot of laughter and camaraderie. She will be remembered because she gave joy to a group of people.
Not only will you make a difference to others but you will probably discover differences you have made to yourself. Many volunteers say that they gained more than they gave. This may be because they have had the opportunity to spend an extended period in another country where they meet people with different backgrounds and cultures, be introduced to new foods, learn a new language and meet people whose outlook on life is different just because they live a very different lifestyle.
As a volunteer you will learn that not every culture thinks the same way yours does. Being so immersed means you will become more aware of problems facing others in the world and this may, as it has for some, change the course you thought you had planned for your life or it may just be a good experience that you will treasure in later years.