Just as sleep is vital to good health and well being of every human being, so is global serving for a better world.

Next year on December 17, 2015, it will be exactly 3 decades since the United Nations General Assembly established the International Volunteering Day.

As we mark this year’s celebrations, let’s recognize the important role that volunteers play in economic and social development around the globe.

There is immense satisfaction that comes with volunteering services. In taking stock of my fellowship experience, here are just but a few advantages of global serving.

 

Learning new ways of life

Having traveled thousand of miles from East Africa to North America, I was prepared for a new and exciting life. What I wasn’t prepared for was the culture shock. Luckily, the first week of orientation included a session: Understanding the American Culture and Character by Dr. Gary Weaver.

In addition to learning about the American culture, I met Fellows from Botswana, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe. We could qualify for a “mini UN” with the many countries represented. Through this network, I gained firsthand information about different cultures and a better perspective of the different countries.

 

Networking opportunities

Through out my fellowship, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded people. I participated in international conferences and workshops that equipped me with leadership skills and better understanding of global engagement. During these opportunities, I shared my own experiences and built a network of friends and supporters with common interests.

 

Learning new skills

When you travel abroad, everyday presents an opportunity to learn new skills. I was privileged to serve at an organization that uses journalism as a tool for development. I learnt how to coordinate internal communication across three continents spanning 27 countries.

 

Professional experience

Volunteering is one good way to improve your resume, as you are able to gain knew knowledge in your area of know-how.

As we become a global village, many organizations are interested in individuals with a wider perspective.

 

In the end, serving overseas gives young people the opportunity to become better leaders. It gives one the opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions to the challenges we face in this world. It also gives one the opportunity to represent their country and be more patriotic. This is why; any government investing in the leadership of young people should design a policy that ensures that the youth have the opportunity to serve in a foreign country for a short period of time.

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