Volunteering as a teacher at a school in rural Fiji has been a life-changing experience for Shakira Branch, who openly admires the warmth, happiness and community spirit of the Fijian people. Shakira has recently left Port Macquarie to follow her university dream in Melbourne, but plans to continue her volunteer work with youth into the future… Read more.
Indea (L) & volunteer partner Sarah looking down on London from The Shard
There’s no way to sum up an entire year, let alone one spent on the other side of the world. I suppose I should begin by satisfying the cliches – it’s been brilliant, I’ve changed and grown, I’m going to miss it all. But it’s all a good deal more complicated than that. I’ve found it difficult to fill in the blanks about the emotional side of it all because it’s not something that can be neatly arranged in a box (which is not doing my OCD tendencies any good – I mean, I’m the girl who sharpened a tub of pencils for the nursery class and arranged them in not just rainbow colour order but height and brand order too. And I did that despite fully understanding that when the task was done the pencils were just going to go right back in the tub, all mixed up).
The school I am at is a Private Catholic School for Girls (it accepted its first class of boys this year), and is called the Cecylia Plater-Zyberk School, but students and teachers simply call it ‘Platerki’. The school itself is housed in an old building which has an extensive history; I’m told it was used as a hospital during the war! It is also very centrally located about a 20 minute walk to Centrum (central train station).
Think tongue-twisters are hard? Try saying them in a language that’s not your own! In this cute video, Lattitude volunteer Maddy teaches her English students in China a couple of well known twisters. Interested in doing the same? Find out more at www.lattitude.org.au/where-can-i-go/china
I’ve always loved travelling and being in the outdoors, so volunteering as an outdoor activities instructor in Canada seemed like a great idea.
Travelling to a new country, to a camp where you know no one before you arrive is a scary thought, but one that I looked forward to. Truthfully there was nothing to be worried about, the people that I work with are amazing and throughout our first week of training, we became close friends. Our current 12 staff members come from five different countries which is incredible, making it crazy to imagine where in the world the 180 staff in summer will be from.
I think one of the most important lessons I have learned whilst volunteering in the Golden Age Home is to appreciate the small things in life. The residents here are so grateful for everything. A sunny day, a second hand sulu, some $2 earrings from Bargain Box; it is all so precious to them. It has really forced me to soak up all of the beauty I see every second of everyday.
Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu as a Category 5 cyclone on 13 March, 2015. It is estimated that 70% of the population has been affected. Cyclone Pam is considered to be the worst natural disaster the country has ever seen.
19 Lattitude volunteer teachers on Ambae and Pentecost Islands were caught up in the cyclone but all are safe and well. We are grateful for the support of DFAT and local agencies for their assistance in relocating all our volunteers to Port Vila last week.
Significant aid efforts are now underway to assist Vanuatu with disaster relief and humanitarian support. ABC Appeals has compiled a list of aid agencies that are gratefully receiving donations to assist Vanuatu. To help the current relief efforts, contact any of these agencies and pledge your support.
Lattitude volunteers have a deep connection with their host families and villages in Vanuatu, and are also fundraising to assist in a more localised way. To help with any of these wonderful initiatives, click the links to their fundraising pages:
All throughout year twelve I knew I needed a break from study after I finished, but I didn’t want to do nothing. I wanted to feel like I had done something worthwhile, whilst being able to see the world at the same time.
I had heard about Lattitude before as people in my school had gone through them previously, and the idea of a volunteer gap year really interested me. I started looking at the options available through Lattitude and as soon as I saw outdoor instructor, I knew it was for me. From being involved in scouts from a young age, I have always loved adventurous and outdoor activities, so the idea of being able to give kids the same kind of enjoyment I had experienced was perfect.
For all of the people that think moving abroad is easy, or is a long-term vacation.. I can say from experience, you couldn’t be more wrong. Moving away from home and working in a new country is so much more than being able to say that you have experienced a new country, or having something to tick off your bucket list. It’s about the experiences that you have, the people that you meet, as well as the new person you become. I have definitely grown so much as a person since being here. People always talk about ‘finding yourself’ or ‘going on a journey to self-discover’ as a reason for travelling, or having a gap year, and as much as I think it’s way too cliché, I can now understand where they are coming from.