In the summer of 2018, with the support of the Go Abroad Fund, I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania with a group of enthusiastic student volunteers to provide adaptive first aid training to various local communities in Moshi. After several days of in-country induction, we were divided into pairs to begin our teaching. My teaching partner and I were allocated to a local college, where we taught the same classes everyday over the course of a month. All of our students were very keen to learn, with high levels of engagement, such as great participation during practical sessions and the reflective questions that they asked after class. Teaching the same groups of students for one entire month allowed us the time to deliver the syllabus with sufficient time for practicals and assessments at an appropriate and effective pace, from which students had the time to fully comprehend and consequently assimilate the knowledge. Also, the long duration allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the dynamic of each class, as well as the personalities of our students, and thus further modify our teaching accordingly in order to achieve the most effective results. I am also truly grateful for the positive interaction with our students, giving me the chance to gain rich cultural exposure and exchange, thereby widening my perspective on the world.
This volunteering experience allowed me to develop in many different areas. With the sustainable aspect of this volunteering program being the key reason for my application, my first-hand experience allowed me to gain insight into international development. With other volunteers who are highly aware of the sustainability aspect of volunteering, there were many critical conversations during the expedition, discussing different factors that contribute to the sustainability of an international development programme, upon reflection on what we were doing in real time. Moreover, I earned invaluable teaching experience from this trip. From creating detailed lesson plans everyday to managing or adapting to unexpected lesson circumstances, these 4 weeks of teaching definitely trained myself on not only my teaching skills, but also soft skills, such as communication, team-work, self-confidence, and creativity. Most importantly, I learned the importance of always being reflective in any aspect in order to strive for further improvement. My unique experience this summer of volunteering abroad allowed me to gain useful life skills, invaluable cultural exchange, and amazing friendships, for all of which I am immensely grateful.
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