4. Coming home: Upgrade your volunteering experience

1 Chapter 4 Lessons None

What you'll learn during this course

Tips to upgrade your volunteer experience

You return home from your volunteer work. Some volunteers will be changed as people and some just had an amazing experience and learned new things. How can you integrate these changes into your life back home?

You can definitely use your experience for the greater good! We have summed up some practical ways in which to use these experiences in your life:

  • New values? You may have different ideas of what things are actually important after you return. Think of ways to integrate these things into your new life back home. Perhaps you would like to change some of your habits. If some habits do not feel good (anymore), you can do something about it (think about the traffic light you have learned about in one of the previous courses).
  •   Share your story. This can be with anyone or on your social media. Sharing can help to give this experience a place in your life. Try to present your experience abroad in a manner which does not devalue the communities in which you have served. By highlighting the positive aspects of the community and pinpointing the areas in which the community is improving, you are more likely to raise awareness of the community and the issues which are present.
  •   When you have the feeling that nobody at home really gets what you have experienced, but you still want to talk about it, try to get in contact with some of the other volunteers you worked with and talk with them about the experience.
  •    Work related: add 'volunteer work' to your resumé. You may also add it to your LinkedIn profile. Volunteer work shows that you are motivated to help others without the assumption of getting something in return. That is a positive trait! 

    When you are applying for a job, think about how you can explain the skills you gained and the experience that you had during volunteer work. For example: Provide details of the steps you took when you were faced with challenges during volunteer work. This will showcase your ability to overcome challenges. Employers often hire individuals who, when faced with problems, can use their problem-solving skills in an effective manner. 

An exercise to become aware of what you have learned

This is an exercise will give you an overview of what you have learned. This is especially useful when you are not sure about how to explain what you have learned:

  1.   1 Make a list of a minimum of five (5) people who were involved in your preparation or when you were actually volunteering
  2.   2 Write down what these people have taught you or how they have helped you.
  3.   3 Write down why these things helped you/taught you something new.
  4.   4 Write down how you can apply these things in your life back home.

You've reached the end of this e-learning programme!