Volunteering in a foreign country might sound like an very difficult thing to do especially when you think about language barriers, culture differences, and work ethics. However, that doesn’t mean you should be hesitant to become a part of your community. Here are my 5 benefits I received as a volunteer at the 2017 Daegu Chimac Festival.
1. Being a part of the community: Living in a foreign country, you only learn so much by just working or studying. In order to have a real, authentic lifestyle you have to be involved with your community. I chose to be a volunteer for the 2017 Daegu Chimac Festival to play a role in the growth and expansion of one of South Korea’s hottest festivals. It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning trash off of the streets, setting up chairs and tables, selling chicken-shaped soap, or being responsible for guarding the beer. Everyone’s job is just as important as the next.
2. Language skills: Of course living and working in South Korea is the best way to become a better communicator in Korean. Not only that, being 1 out of 3 of the only non-Korean volunteer, we were forced to speak Korean in almost every situation. It makes us more aware of our surroundings and we can pick up new jargon on the go.
3. Self-satisfaction: Sometimes when you start a new task or job, you never know what the outcome will be. At first, it is nerve-wracking but after the first day, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You prove to yourself that you’re able to get out on your own and be active. It is a great feeling to know that you are continuing to grow as a person. Who knows? Maybe someone will even be inspired by you.
4. Experience: After recently quitting my job, I’ve been looking into branching out into other fields of work. However, without the proper experience, transitioning from a foreign teacher can be difficult and stressful. I knew quitting my job wouldn’t be easy but if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have been able to volunteer at the Chimac Festival. On top of that, volunteering adds an uncommon experience and value to my resume.
5. Networking: Volunteering doesn’t only provide me with experience that employers look for, it is an opportunity to meet diverse people of all backgrounds and build professional relationships. I believe that will play a key role when searching for my new profession.