Jay’s Journey by
Part 6: Dreamweaving and the Law of Attraction
I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my life is that you don't know what you can do until you try - it turns out that building a website is one of the things I can do! Luis and I decided that this was an important step in the setting up of our organisation, and one which should be completed early on in the process. I remember writing down a list of possible names and then checking if the “.com” website was available. Happily for us, www.travellernottourist.com was still up for grabs so we grabbed it!
We've just added a fantastic certified review of Cross Cultural Solutions, sent to us by one of their previous volunteers. Thanks, Jean!
"I volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions for a 7 week trip to Dharamsala in Northern India. It was a dream come true for me as I had wanted to do something like this all my life and then at the age of 64 I had been accepted, raised my program fee and was on my way. Also for me CCS accepted me although I had no medical or teaching skills. The information given before departure corresponded exactly with the placement and I feel it was better than I expected.I felt, right from the date I registered with CCS, that I had continued support from them in emails and telephone calls and they were able to answer all my stupid little questions with patient understanding. From the moment I arrived in Delhi and was met at the airport at midnight by two CCS reps I felt safe and at home and knew it was going to be a good experience. The short stay in Delhi was informative, well organised and fun. My arrival in Dharamsala was fantastic starting with the views of the mountains from the airport. The staff were friendly, helpful and great fun. We were transported to various different places to learn about their culture, scenery etc always accompanied by staff who were very informative.The accommodation was good and the food local and excellent and plenty of it. I have coeliacs disease and they catered for my special needs very well and happily."
We've put up a certified review of Cultural Canvas, written by Chris who volunteered for them in 2009. You can find a short excerpt below, or the full review (here)!
"In Jan 2009 I headed over to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand to volunteer with Cultural Canvas Thailand (CCT) for close to 1 month. During this time, I worked specifically within the CCT Canvas Art Program, which embraces the arts as a tool to connect with people. To put it mildly, I absolutely recommend the CCT Canvas Art Program to any prospective volunteer who is looking for a wonderful, rewarding, creative volunteer experience in South East Asia!
Again, you can check out the full review on the Cultural Canvas organisation entry, right here!
This is definitely one of the most popular of volunteer jobs available, which is lucky seeing as it is also the field that offers the most positions. As a general you will not need any teaching experience or prior training before volunteering as a teacher, just a solid knowledge of the subject you will be teaching and the ability to connect with people/children. Most organisations will offer training to their volunteers as needed, and unless specified during your application you will not be working completely on your own (at least to start with). You will generally be working alongside a local teacher helping them with the teaching and answering questions.
The subjects you can teach will vary, however as a general it is easer to find a position teaching English or Maths - with English being the most common. Your level of English will determine how suitable you are for these positions, however only few organisations require that you are a native speaker.
Regions that commonly seek volunteer teachers include (most of) Africa and (parts of) Asia (with Thailand being a popular destination, where you will mostly be teaching Burmese refugees or hilltribes). The length of these positions vary greatly, however they can often be tailored to suit both shorter (2,3 or 4 weeks) and longer (months, years) volunteering preferences.
Teaching will allow you to bond with locals and create strong bonds that will not soon be forgotten whilst helping others make a more decent life for themselves through the skills they have acquired. A lot of volunteers will continue to exchange letters or emails with some of their pupils, or even the whole class, after they have finished their volunteer placement, which also provides the pupils with a chance to practise their written communication (should it be a language that they were taught).
Improved knowledge in both maths and a language will make the pupils much more employable and maybe even provide them with the knowledge and skills to start up their own business, thus improving their quality of life and increasing the wealth of their country - intellectual and monetary.