Adventures in Africa: Volunteer Abroad

October 17, 2007

Here’s your recommended blog of the week: Christine’s Adventures in the Real Africa 

Christine in AfricaMy friend and title character, Christine, recently made a big decision to leave behind the corporate law career that so many of her peers went into and to spend a year volunteering in Zambia. The one in Africa. That’s volunteering as in not getting paid. In Africa. For a year.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big deal to you, maybe it does. Personally, I think it’s hugely courageous of her. She left her husband and dog in Chicago (not for good, just for now), gave up a comfortable job, a comfortable apartment, an altogether comfortable lifestyle, and put herself into a most unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation. I’m sure she’ll adjust in no time because she’s got brains and guts and heaps of moxie, but it’s a big change nonetheless, and she’s doing it simply because she wants to help people. 

There are a lot of ways you can combine travel with your goals as a student, as a professional, or as a human being. Find a volunteer project abroad, study abroad, or just take the time to educate yourself about the issues impacting the areas where you’re going. There’s nothing wrong with a holiday full of museums and pubs and beaches, but if you choose an experience that takes you even deeper into a culture and helps you connect with the people around you, you’ll be able to look back on someone you were, not just something you did. 

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