Ever considered volunteering abroad? Wonder how it works? Our Customer Service Supervisor, Mia, has been part of the TuGo’s family since 2009. In addition to supporting her hardworking team of Licensed Insurance Advisors, she is passionate about volunteering at home and abroad.

Voluntourism Tips

Here, Mia shares her top three tips for those who wish to volunteer abroad.

Sarah: Can you tell us about some of the organizations you volunteer for, and what you enjoy most about them?

Mia: I recently got involved with the No Starving Child Project. This non-profit is passionate about bringing hope to children throughout the world. We promote volunteerism and fundraising to provide financial support to existing organizations supporting children in third world countries. 

I love helping people get involved and influencing them to become passionate about helping globally and in their communities.

Sarah: That sounds like a really important project! I hear you’ve volunteered abroad as well. Tell us about it.

Mia: In 2009, I travelled to Tshelenyemba, Zimbabwe. I spent two months living in a small community and volunteering in elementary schools and the local hospital.

This experience taught me about the beauty of living simply and significantly changed my way of life. The community life that I experienced there is something that I will always cherish in my heart and desire for my future.

Sarah: What an incredible learning experience! How has your way of life changed since the trip?

Mia: When we moved to Canada as refugees, I identified myself as being poor because we didn’t have the luxury of Christmas presents, yet, in Tshelenyemba, they don’t have the luxury of clean water or food.

From the time I arrived to the time I left, the drought worsened and the inflation rates increased rapidly. Food was no longer available to buy, and what was available was unaffordable to the majority.

When you watch families go hungry and children die of malnutrition, suddenly, your 1985 rusted Toyota Corolla doesn’t seem so bad. It was a really humbling experience for which I will always be thankful.

Mia, TuGo staff volunteering with kids in Africa
Sarah:  What advice would you give to others interested in volunteering abroad?
Mia: Be useful, learn the culture, and be safe. No matter where you go, do your research!

Someone once said to me “Africa doesn’t need another body eating their food and drinking their water”. This applies anywhere you go.

Be useful.

Do you have a skill to offer? Will you make a difference in someone’s life? Or are you going for a sense of adventure?

Next,

learn the culture.
Knowing a few words in the language and how many kisses on the cheek will go a long way. You’ll integrate better in the community, ensuring you make the most of your experience!

Be safe.
No matter where you are, keep in mind that you are a foreigner and therefore, you are vulnerable. Finding a trustworthy local to guide you is often key!

Sarah: Thanks Mia, you’ve certainly inspired me!

Do you have any volunteering tips or stories to share? Leave us a comment below or send us a tweet at @tugoinsurance!

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