Navy Lanier’s Blog
Unlike in America, many European students embark upon a gap year either immediately before or after their first four years of university. Depending on when a student embarks on this journey, prospective colleges or employers will judge them on how well they made use of this time. Real-world situations and lessons are impossible to mimic inside a classroom. Volunteerism, especially abroad, is a great way for students to gain a broader perspective of the world and a deeper understanding of the human condition in general.
There are many ways for people to fulfill an inner desire to make the world a better place. For some people, it is enough to show up to the occasional 5K or write a check. There is another subsector of our society, however, who chooses to dedicate years of their life to assist in a much more demanding way through volunteerism abroad. This concept also exists domestically with nonprofit groups such as Americorps, but for people who want to take things a step further and dive into a completely unknown culture, there are international volunteer groups like the Peace Corps and the United Nations. It is very easy to only see the upside to a selfless gesture like this, but it is very important to not offend anybody or expose yourself to dangers while living abroad. This can happen unwittingly and is a perfect example of good intentions being misunderstood.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to be blessed with tons of discretionary income in order to help others. There are many ways to help one’s community that don’t have to cost a fortune, some being more valuable than a check.
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