A Volunteer’s Journey From Pittsburgh to Cape Town – Wendy Kong’s Experience
Volunteering Solutions hosted more than 800 volunteers in 2016, who traveled to different countries and contributed in their own way towards sustainable development of the society. No matter which project they were a part of, they all had the goal of spreading smiles among the folks of their host community.
Wendy Kong, a medical student from Pittsburgh, USA, traveled to Cape Town, South Africa. She joined the medical volunteering project along with her friends from medical college.
Here’s what Wendy has to say about her experience of volunteering with VolSol:
I went with some of my peers from my university during our summer break. We all want to be medical professionals in the future and wanted to gain first-hand medical experience of working in a different country.
Do you think it’s worthy to travel abroad to volunteer?
Yes, traveling abroad allows you to experience new a culture and different lifestyle, while helping out the host community. You spend most time on volunteering and on the weekends, you can explore and go for some adventure. Almost everyone in the hostel was open to new experiences and making new friends; it was nice to meet new people and learn about their country. Volunteering abroad is truly different from just traveling abroad because you get a better insight on the local lifestyle.
What were your thoughts while selecting the specific program and destination?
We (my other peers and I) were always interested in traveling to Africa; we chose Cape Town because the population mainly spoke English there. We’ve traveled together to Peru before and some people had difficulties with the language barrier. We wanted to choose a place we could comfortably communicate this time, while volunteering.
Overall, it was an enriching experience. I got to live life as a local when I was there and also meet people from other countries, who were volunteering with Volsol. I went for adventure sports whenever I had the time and loved every single bit of what I did.
Is there any message you want to give out to others?
Only go to trustworthy ATMs because other volunteers had unfortunate incidents of getting their card information stolen. Everything seems frightening at first when you’re immersed in a completely different environment, but that’s the thrill of traveling abroad. The shock will fade away and the subsequent surprises along the way will become pleasant eventually. You’ll also find yourself taking more adventurous risks and discovering more about your own character.
As cliché as it sounds, I truly do come back a different person each time I travel abroad.
Not just Wendy, but each of the volunteers have experienced something or the other that’s worth sharing. Volunteering Solutions has a wide range of affordable volunteering projects in South Africa, which combines the best of both – a life changing experience of volunteering along with amazing adventure tours.
If you are still unable to make a decision about volunteering, then we hope that Wendy’s story would make some difference to your thoughts.