Preparing to Volunteer Abroad

Written by  April 14, 2014

Eight years ago, Emily had to cancel a trip to Africa. Now she's finally setting off for her dream continent.

Every once in a while you just need to breathe. For me, that’s what travel is about—an opportunity to breathe.

Like most, I have become a casualty of the “busy lifestyle” that our society demands of us. I have been a dedicated student and academic researcher for the past three years and am about to embark on the next chapter of my life. Up until this point, my desire to see Africa has been nothing more than a dream. I have read countless books and watched multiple documentaries on the culture, history, and current situation of the continent.

Eight years ago, I was supposed to go to Tanzania, but had to cancel my trip due to a last minute diagnosis of Mononucleosis. This time around, I have a completely different view of the world, a degree that is focused on building sustainable communities and a newfound passion for water issues.

As a volunteer with Youth Challenge International, I realize I am not going to change the area that I will be visiting in my 12 short weeks on the ground in Ghana. In fact, this in itself is one reason I am thankful I was unable to make my original trip in 2006, for I would have been terribly disappointed and would have most likely given up on my dream to seek change. No, instead of setting a goal to have a major impact on my host town, I am setting out to have an eye-opening learning opportunity that I have been anticipating since I can remember.

Over the last several years, I have travelled mostly in North America. I spent 10 days in Alaska on my own, and just under a week in the Common Wealth of Dominica visiting a friend, resulting in two of my most significant adventures to date. Through each of these trips, I gained an appreciation for the knowledge that one can obtain through travel. I crave the desire to see other cultures and experience new places. It contributes to my own growth, as well as to the growth of those I share my experiences with. I learn so much more about not only myself, but also the world around me each time my flight leaves the runway.

In just over two months, I will once again broaden my understanding of the world. With an open mind and a thirst for adventure, I’m looking forward to the opportunity ahead and I hope you’ll take this journey with me.

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Emily Kennedy

Emily Kennedy is an enthusiastic traveller from Nova Scotia, Canada. Upon graduating from Acadia University in May 2014, Emily is embarking on multiple adventures, including a 12-week volunteer position in Koforidua, Ghana with Youth Challenge International. Read up on Emily’s adventures here!

Website: theorangecanadian.blogspot.ca

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