Volunteer Spotlight: Colin

Colin, 18, joined us in November 2016 from the UK. Colin was on his gap year, having just finished school, and looking forward to starting university in the autumn of 2017. Colin volunteered at our Cambodia Community project for seven weeks, based in Siem Reap.
 
Read our Q&A to find out more about his experience. 
What inspired you to volunteer?
I knew I wanted to volunteer because it gives you something more than just travelling to a place and being a tourist. I realised that if I can combine my interests in helping the community with that, that’s what attracted me the most
Why did you choose Globalteer?
“I spent so many months online googling different volunteer placements. I came across a lot of opportunities but nothing really grabbed me.  When I came across Globalteer and its projects, it seemed very organized, very well informed and supportive, and they had a focus on the needs of the local people. Their focus wasn’t only on creating the most amazing experience for the volunteer, it was more focused on the needs of the local area and then how can we give you a good experience within that.”
 
Have you enjoyed your experience here?
“Very much so. Each week we were at different schools – Monday to Thursday we would go to a very rural school, playing football in particular, mainly giving the children the opportunity to exercise and have fun. I especially enjoyed volunteering there because we got to know the kids and they got to know me, and I really enjoyed that. They’re the most cheerful kids ever and it was really nice.
 
On Fridays we were at another school closer to town, focusing more on coaching and sessions were more skill-driven. I feel like that was more tailored their skills to improve as players, so it was a different approach than to the rural school, but I really enjoyed that. I was working with some of the older students who were more of a similar age to me, which meant you could do more complex drills, and really see them improve, which was really good and I really liked that."
Do you think you have made an impact in the seven weeks you have been here?
"Globalteer as the organisation itself makes a massive impact, they very much find a need in the local area, and try and meet it, so whether it's like a clean water project, or like these children who would never have access to sports sessions.

In my seven weeks here, I’ve seen a lot of development – the kids at the start of my time here, they knew their stuff and they enjoyed playing football.

Over the weeks I saw them progress in their skills and become more aware of things that they weren’t aware of before, and it’s really cool. At one of the schools we were at on a Wednesday, I would be playing at the sides, playing keepy-uppy, and other children would come over and either watch or pick up a ball and try it out, and it was great to see how you rub off on them and inspire them to join in and learn something new."
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?
“I would definitely recommend it, it gives you an opportunity to see a new place and culture, it gives you a completely different experience to if you just travelled here, spent a week here and then just left – you really get to know the local place – local cafes, local restaurants, so that’s been great. Also by going out to the rural villages, you get to see an insight in to their lives at home, outside of the city, that tourists don’t get to see. You get to experience a whole different side you wouldn’t otherwise get”
Do you think you are better prepared to go to university than if you would have gone straight to university after school?
"Yes, I wasn’t ready to go to university straight after school, partly because I didn’t want to work straight away – but also I was nervous about meeting new people, living away from home and whatever, but after doing this it doesn’t seem that scary."
 
Any final thoughts on your experience?
It’s been a very unique experience - I think I’ve learnt more in these two months than I probably have in ten years previously. It wasn’t always easy, I’ve just left school, this is my first trip outside of Europe, and first trip on my own, so it wasn’t always easy, but the lessons you take away, the experiences are like nothing else you can imagine.
 
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