Camila said that she only really wanted one thing for herself when walking away from her volunteer experience. She chose to volunteer abroad because of who she is. Someone who actively looks for new experiences, seeks out challenges and different perspectives on life. Did she get that one thing she was in search of? Read her story to find out
After traveling from my home in Brazil and spending time backpacking through Europe, I finally arrived in front of what would be my accommodation for the next six weeks. The seed, that later blossomed into the love for my experience, was immediately planted as I unexpectedly met my first friend. Standing by the door with a smile on his face, he said “Hi, my name is Soufiane and I’m half Moroccan, half Brazilian” in Portuguese. And just like that,
from the first until my last day, I felt at home.
I was in Morocco to work on the SDG 4: Quality Education. One of the most incredible things I experienced was the kids not being able to speak English. I feel like it’s easy to assume that if you need to teach, you also need to be able to communicate fully in the same language. Yet, although we didn’t have a common spoken language shared between us, we were able to understand each other with our hand gestures, eyes, smiles and a lot of laughs. It was so interesting to see myself in this situation. So far removed from my life in Brazil and feeling closer to myself more than ever.
One month into my journey, I realised that not much time was left and I began feeling nostalgic of the experience I was still living. I didn’t want to say goodbye! The flat that on the first day welcomed me with unexpected disorganisation, became my home which I learned to love and take care of. Each volunteer that I met, I also connected with. By sharing the experience of volunteering, an unspoken bond formed between us and special friendships were formed.
“one in a million”
If I had to describe the Moroccan friends I made and the AIESECers I met, I would say “one in a million.” One of the reasons I fell in love with my experience and the country so much is because it represents the people that impacted me. Because of their impact now I understand how important the role I play in Brazil really is. I have the power to bring back everything I learned abroad and share it.
When missing the people, the places, and the experience becomes too much for me to handle, I close my eyes. I let the memories of my time in Morocco overcome me, until I feel a smile start to inch up my cheeks (which usually doesn’t take long).
Remembering all my experience brought to me is what reinforces my belief in the plans I have for my life. And the belief I have in myself. That feeling for me is enough.
Going to Morocco, I knew that
when walking away, I wanted one thing…
To be proud of myself.
Having seen myself live through this experience gave me more than enough to be able to say that confidently. The desire to make myself proud was a consistent driver throughout my experience. Because of it I pushed myself to do more. And for that reason, I know wherever I go, whatever I do, I want to know how I want to feel by the end of it. The mindset is a gamechanger.
So, before you walk away from an experience…
ask yourself what you really want
and make it happen.