Volunteering is something that I have always been attracted to and which has always fulfilled me in many ways. The first time I ever volunteered internationally was in 2015, in Sri Lanka. I was volunteering in different settings, but the living conditions were very similar. Despite the heat, the sheer differences in everyday life, the struggle to adapt to diverse circumstances actually made me who I am now and for this I am forever thankful. On my flight back from another volunteering experience in Quito, Ecuador, I sat in a cafe at the precipice of what soon became a pandemic. I found a job post among the TEFL job ads (I took the TEFL- Teaching English as a Foreign Language course) and I searched for pins in Central and South America. I have always been fascinated by the warm, vibrant, sincere and pure culture in Central and South America, so I decided to apply for this volunteering position which has then been ‘postponed’ to this year’s summer camp.
Volunteering internationally is an experience which helps you open your minds and prospects beyond what you know, and thanks to this expansion of perspectives you become more aware of what you own more materialistically speaking and understand that fulfilment is enriched also by society and values which can only be seen and experienced through a fearless eye. Being willing to understand and take in what other cultures, communities, customs live everyday is only an added value to your own life and it requires courage and predisposition towards a novelty-seeking desire.
Coming from a Psychological background (I graduated in Psychology) I am very aware of the importance of education and its necessity, especially in developing countries where access to education is not always linear or simple, on the contrary, it is often a stumbly path. Providing support to children who come from less-advantaged backgrounds enhances not only my career skills but most of all fills my heart with purpose. Thanks to this experience I finally know and have understood where my previously rocky, uncertain and unstable career prospect is headed- education. Living in a country where the heat, occasional lack of water or electricity is yes, difficult, it also teaches us that what we take for granted is not at all taken as such in other parts of the world and societies.
I am very passionate about teaching and even more about teaching children who do not necessarily have the resources which allow them to access a bilingual education, but BECA gives that opportunity. Fostering their growth, accompanying them along their path gives me joy, satisfaction and fulfils my heart, especially when it is their smiles that I get back. The frustration of not being able to have a hot shower is immediately compensated by the energy and dedication that this experience offers. Being a teacher is not simply about teaching children their ABCs, it is about engaging in a process which is often life-changing on both sides. Teachers shape children’s lives in many ways and our role is crucial for their future and upbringing as we foster their desire to be successful in the accomplishment of their dreams, offering them options. BECA offers us volunteers the option of sharing and growing, growing as people, learning that the world is made up of so many different shades, and giving us the chance to brighten the lives of children, families and communities whose colours do not always shine. And we, in turn, shine too.