Letting go of everything and volunteering for six months in Southeast Asia was undoubtedly one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of the 27-year-old Letícia Mello, who created the project ” Do for Love “, which recently turned the story into a book.
Planning volunteering, researching as much information as possible, talking to people who have had the same experience were some of the biggest challenges encountered before setting out on your adventure.
During her time in Thailand, Cambodia and V, Leticia taught English to needy communities, to police officers, monks, raised funds to build a house to a family, among other actions.All this in exchange for accommodation and food in the local community.
Credits: Personal archive
The gaucho Letícia Mello, 27, traveled alone for six months doing volunteer work
“The important thing is to be open-minded and caring and caring.What they need is love and care.And in fact, you end up learning much more than teaching, “says Leticia.
For those who want to volunteer independently outside the country, Letícia shares seven fundamental tips on how to plan a good backpack or other equipments.
1 – Where do I start?
The first step is to define your interest in volunteering and seek out countries that offer volunteering opportunities that you intend to work on – be it with animals, education, construction, medicine, in short, there are many options available, just choose the one that fits you best.Having defined the type of volunteer work and the country of interest, the next step is to analyze your budget and how long you want to travel, always keeping an eye on the best time to visit each country – a detail crucial to the success of your trip.
Credits: Personal archive
Letícia volunteering at a school in Thailand
2 – Search
You have chosen to volunteer independently, so be aware that you are in control of the situation!The internet is your best ally for this task. Searching for the maximum amount of information and available sites and contacting people who participated in the same projects saves time during the trip.
However, with much information available on the internet it is necessary to know what the relevant and reliable information is, to avoid future problems.
Some sites that I indicate for search: Workaway, Helpx and the Brazilian Worldpacker.
3 – Be honest
Around the world there are several programs to volunteer: either to teach English, to work with humanitarian work, to build or to work with animals.Regardless of the field of action, it is essential to be transparent and honest with the institution.Do not lie your skills and qualifications to fit any project.Honesty is key to the development of volunteer work.Unfortunately, many projects receive false information about volunteers, which makes it difficult for the project to progress.
4 – Volunteering is not a vacation
Volunteering is one of the best experiences anyone can experience in getting to know local culture and customs – getting to know the routine and getting in touch with the natives of a certain region is enriching.But traveling to volunteer is to know that much of your free time is spent on volunteering, so be committed and make the most of this experience.
5 – Not everything goes as planned
Unfortunately there are projects that do not deliver on what they promise, charge high values and are not that serious – so pre-trip research is so important.
But like everything in life, if something goes wrong, learn to see the good side of these situations – this makes us reflect on the reality of each country and helps us to create more empathy for people.Learn from this and always have a B plan up your sleeve if you get on a project and do not identify yourself.This happened to me a lot in Cambodia and in the end I realized that it was not out of spite, but a desperation to survive.
6 – Be prepared for the worst, always
You are in a different country, you do not know anyone, you have chosen to leave the comforts of home to volunteer.The bath will not always be shower and hot water, a mat on the floor may turn out to be your bed, the heat will bother you, the region’s health system may be precarious, you do not know how the routine and customs Of the sites, so prepare yourself for adverse situations.But for your volunteering to be a success, take those disagreements optimistically, as they will get you out of the comfort zone and teach you more than you can imagine.
7 – Do not give up
Unforeseen happen, incidentally, you gave up the comfort of your home, will learn to deal with the homesickness of family, home, friends.As difficult as it may seem to be, remember that your help is impacting the lives of many and that is the greatest reward you will ever have.There have been a number of times that the willingness to drop everything has spoken louder, but the strength and willingness to continue impacting other lives in a positive way has always been stronger.At the end of the day, when you return home, every second of that experience will be worth it and whatever you have helped will be a legacy to others.
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