Helping Plant Seeds for the Future.
Alan, from Aberdeen, Scotland, volunteered with Globalteer at Helping Hands in Cambodia in December 2019. He stepped out of his comfort zone and experienced a fantastic cultural exchange through our volunteer program in Cambodia, which helped him grow and plant seeds for the future!
Alan volunteered in Cambodia before and fell in love with the country instantly. The first time was such a great experience that he decided to do something similar every year. From his previous volunteering experience where he volunteered for one week with elephants and another week with children, he realised he enjoyed spending time with children and speaking English with them more than anything.
Working with the community
This experience made him want to spend more time in working with children, which led him to Globalteer’s Project, Helping Hands in rural Cambodia!
Even though he volunteered before, he was surprised by the programme and was pushed out of his comfort zone, more than he had originally planned: Much to his disappointment,on his arrival, he was informed that he was the only volunteer that week. He was hoping for a group to spend his time volunteering with and also to experience Siem Reap with.
The thought of doing these things alone made him feel uncomfortable at first, but little did he know that it was a much needed push to step out of his comfort zone, grow from the experience and find the strength he didn’t know existed and did him a big favour in the end!
Self- Realisation through the experience
We are glad to have met Alan and hear his story of self-realisation. He says ‘Globalteer is different from a lot of other volunteer organizations: You do not come with a fixed schedule and tourist trips, which have been planned for you in advance. You fit in where you want to - build close relationships with the staff in the school, make a fool out of yourself while talking English with the children to make them feel more comfortable speaking this foreign language or organize something completely new for the school.
Giving a hand up, not a hand out!
Alan was able to not only support the children with his English skills but the teachers, too. He continues to support the school and staff through monthly calls to practice speaking.
With responsible volunteering comes an opportunity for a cultural exchange experience, growing and breaking out of the narcissistic world. It can open your bubble to step out of your comfort zone, get to know yourself in different circumstances and through the lens of other cultures.
No one benefits from a so called white saviour – great results rather bloom from helping others plant the seeds for their future. However, the feeling that you might have helped and learned new things at the same time can be worth it.
Cultural Exchange while making a difference!
As Alan put it: "You learn so much more about a country with a cultural exchange than lying somewhere on the beach for two weeks. What else can you expect from a trip?"
We hope such inspiring stories help you to break free and immerse in the cultural exchange programmes around the world while making a difference. With your initiative you not only benefit from it but also contribute to the betterment of the local community and make an impact on their lives! So what are you waiting for? Explore our Volunteer Opportunities and get involved.