Volunteer abroad: is this the life experience you need?

To be an international volunteer and devote your life to a cause may require getting out of your comfort zone, but it is the opportunity to turn your exchange program abroad into something more rewarding and educational at a personal level. Professionally, mentioning that you volunteered for an international cause means you’re a humane candidate, ready to help.

Through One World Center, Yujin, from South Korea, is in the United States and expecting to proceed with her voluntary work in Africa. Read her story and find out if this is the life adventure you need be happier.


by Yujin, Development Instructor from South Korea in OWC

My Story – More than filling out the blank

Before I joined the 18 month program at One World Center, many people asked me what I wanted to achieve from this long journey.


People don’t ask about what I did; what kind of people I met; what I learned from them; what are my dreams for the future. The only thing they care about is what I can write on my resume – how I will fill out the blanks with scores and certifications. The more you write the more possibilities you have to get a better job. Everyone puts emphasis on your educational background; English language proficiency test score; computer certificate of qualification; something related to selling; something special that makes you better than others so you deserve a higher salary. This unpleasant phenomenon has been bothering me for my entire life and definitely it disastrously ruined my schooldays. I really needed heart beating experiences and not only to be stuck in a chair memorizing English vocabulary like a machine.

OWC volunteers at Michigan campus

So, here I am at ‘One World Center’ (“Another Kind of School”). I am experiencing the most important period of my life – living with people, meeting people, learning from and about people. Everything we do here is strongly connected with people.

Especially when we go out fundraising, I experience miracles every time, from every moment. I never thought I could actually talk with strangers in English, in the United States; now I have the strong belief that people are the key to change the world. People in today’s society are very doubtful. Things are chaotic. A trend of mutual distrust encompassed our minds. But people I met during the fundraising and outreach actions are unbelievable.

Can you give the key of your house to strangers while you are gone and let them use your room? If you are the supermarket’s owner, would you be willing to give permission to volunteers you’ve never met before to fundraise in front of your store knowing that your customers might feel uncomfortable? Have you ever donated without asking a question right after you see a sign stating ‘For Africa’? If someone knocked on your door out of the blue, and asked for a donation to support them to go to Africa, would you put some bills in their box with a happy heart?

OWC volunteers at Michigan campus. They also have a campus in Massachusetts

Suppose you are a construction worker, who brings the bread after working 10 hours a day and who scratches a living condition. One day, on your way back home, you bump into a volunteer with a donation box in front of the grocery store; she asks you for a donation. You stopped in the store just to buy some snacks for your kids and stuff you like. You have some money in your pocket but donation wasn’t in your plan. Will you donate to the volunteer going to Africa?

I can’t write about everyone I have met and describe how amazing they all were. Of course there were people that just ignored me or even yelled at me saying that they don’t believe in donating money to non-profits. However, people show interest about what we are doing; they wanted to hear our stories and support us in so many ways. Without their support, we could not dream about going to Africa. I’m impressed about people's power which leads a movement to change the world.

It’s been about four and a half months since I joined this program. I can assure you that I feel satisfaction about what I’m doing right now. Of course it’s not easy. We are all from different countries, have different cultural backgrounds and have different points of view. But based on having deep understanding, we are moving forward. I will keep on trusting PEOPLE and our abilities with great hope.

This experience is more than filling out the blank.


Source: One World Center