In Youth 4 Global Goals: The Series Season 2, sponsored by PwC, 10 young people went across the globe on an AIESEC Global Volunteer experience to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Read the story of Katarina Eric from Serbia, who went to Tanzania to contribute to the education of young children, and to Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education.

My volunteering experience didn’t change me, but it shaped me. It helped me to realize and understand my role in the society and made me be aware of myself and my potential. Being different from others around me wasn’t easy at the beginning.

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In some moments I was afraid of my environment in some moments uncomfortable and that was stopping me to feel free, to be myself and do my best. That helped me to understand that I need to accept my differences and to focus on my positive sides.

Choosing Tanzania as my home for 6 weeks and my project, was a very obvious choice for me. Seeking for a challenging experience and a place where help is needed the most in combination with my passion for quality education led me to my project AfriKids in Tanzania. AfriKids is a project that is connected with SDG 4, quality education.

To be honest, when I said to my family and friends that I am going to Tanzania, they thought that I am very brave but they didn’t understand me. Why would I change my comfort and environment that is providing me with everything I need, for Tanzania and different conditions that are there. But I knew what I want, what is my goal. My goal was to challenge myself, go out of my comfort zone, have a purposeful impact in my school and create change agents. I want to share with you the experience that I lived in Tanzania, but as I mentioned, my volunteering experience didn’t change me, but shaped me and helped me to discover my potential.

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I realized that if I managed to empower at least one person, with the ripple effect, spreading impact is certain.

I was a teacher in one of the Tanzanian schools. I had my two classes and full responsibility for my kids and the quality of their education. Not being a teacher before and not having that much time to prepare my classes activated my solution orientation at the very beginning. Not knowing the city, meeting new people and adapting to their culture, helped me to learn how to be positive in a situation that was uncertain for me.

My personal goal was to see a positive impact on my school. In order to achieve that I needed to understand my environment and find an effective way to communicate with diverse people. From one side I developed a special bond and way of communication with kids so they would accept me and follow my lead. From the other side, I needed to find a way to work with other teachers, learning from them but as well helping them to learn from me.

Already after the first week in my school, I understood Tanzania and educational system way better. I realized that I am not too small to make a change and I enjoyed every day, every class and every extra activity I had with kids.

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After 6 weeks of intense cultural immersion, living like locals and living in the world where everything you know about life is challenged I realized something that I didn’t notice it happened. Tanzania stole my heart.

At the same time, during my stay, I lost so many things. They were stolen from me. Tanzania with beautiful untouched nature, mountains, islands, national parks, ocean and sunsets stole my breath away. People, always cheerful, welcoming, honest and ready to accept you after the first minute, stole my fear of being different and made me feel that Tanzania is my second home. And kids… They stole my heart. They made my experience unforgettable. My every morning was full of joy thanks to them, and in the end, they made it very hard to say goodbye.

I realized that not having WiFi and hot water, as my biggest issues there, are nothing comparing to life issues they are facing. Thanks to my experience, I appreciate more small things in my life and every day I am more eager to go back and certain that this wasn’t final goodbye to my kids in Tanzania but until next time….

Would you like to know more about my journey? Have a look at Youth 4 Global Goals: The Series! Would you like to live an experience like mine as well and create an impact for the Sustainable Development Goals? Sign up and become a Global Volunteer yourself!

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