I mentioned volunteering in an earlier post on making friends, but it deserves an entry on its own because I think it’s so important, not just for expats but for everyone.
My first volunteer experience was at the age of 14 when my mom asked me and my best friend to run the White Elephant stall at the local church bazaar. My mom was always volunteering, maybe it’s genetic, because I’ve been putting my hand up for stuff ever since – I don’t seem to be able to stop myself.
Since then I’ve edited a newsletter, balanced the budget for a daycare centre, tutored English, edited a book, run a retail store, organized charity runs and attended more meetings than I care to remember. Right now I’m volunteering as the social media maven for Families in Global Transition and learning all about this new marketing medium in the process.
Why? Certainly not because I’m a better person than most.
- It’s been fun.
- I’ve met a huge variety of people I never would have done otherwise.
- It’s a good way to make friends.
- I’ve learned a lot.
- It’s really hard to get fired. 😉
- You get thanked all the time.
- I’ve been given a chance to do jobs that no one would have ever given me if they’d been paying me.
- It’s really improved my resume.
- I’ve gained a lot of personal confidence.
- Oh, and I almost forgot, it’s the right thing to do!