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Lessons I Learnt from Volunteering

Posted on 7 July 2020

Brandon Ribatika, a LinkedIn Campus Editor reflects on his time volunteering with us when he was studying for his MSc in Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School.

It was a cold day in mid-October 2015 going home from an exhausting day of long lectures, just I was leaving class a bright green leaflet caught my eye. The leaflet said “Spend a life-changing summer in Uganda”  I was interested but I also had many doubts, fears and I had never done something outside of my comfort zone like this before. I decided to take this wonderful opportunity  and it has truly changed my perspective in life and here are the incredible lessons I have learnt.

Volunteering abroad helped me discover what I was passionate about

Sometimes going outside of your comfort zone to volunteer in an environment different than our own can help us realise what we are moved by and find energising. Volunteering with an ethical charity like Play Action International was an amazing opportunity, I discovered I loved developing relationships with people and working a team to achieve amazing things. The leaders and team on my project were very supporting which allowed me to enjoy my experience. If you are seeking inspiration and discover what you plan to do after graduation Volunteering abroad is an excellent option and can be life-changing experience.

Volunteering abroad allowed me to understand you can both work hard and have fun doing meaningful work.

What immediately stood out about Play Action International from other charities for me was that they cared deeply about empowering the local Ugandans and wanted volunteers to also have an amazing summer whilst doing important work. Our typical week was Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of project work building the playground and volunteering at the local school Sunlight Junior School and weekends off to do amazing activities. I really enjoyed the school projects knowing I was helping the future generation and having weekends off to do something wild such as kayaking in the Nile and quad biking. If you are looking for an adventure and doing impactful work at the same time volunteering abroad might be an excellent idea.

I made lifelong friends in just one incredible Summer

This was by far the biggest lesson I have learnt. I never thought I would be so emotional leaving Uganda after just one  month. You do develop great friendship with the staff and team during the project working and sharing life together. I am still friends with people I met in Uganda in 2016 and I returned in 2019 to visit the country and to see our old playground and some of my dear Ugandan friends. I am glad the playground we built is still being used and benefiting the local community. Volunteering abroad can be one of the best ways to develop amazing friendships and be part of an amazing team with memories that will last a lifetime.

Final words:  My volunteering experience was one of the best experiences in my life and a Summer full of adventure. I loved the whole month and it helped my career development I am now currently studying Masters in Entrepreneurship as a result of my time in Uganda and I am also a Campus Editor for LinkedIn.

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