Hi! I'mAnla.I study anthropology and love to share the other side of the world that tourists don't see 🦋
There are many articles on the internet discussing "why we should spend money on volunteering abroad", but to me, whether volunteering abroad is worth it or not depends on how we position ourselves and define the journey.
Ten years from now, I will be super thankful to my 23 year old self for working so hard to find free volunteer opportunities in Peru and applying for a grant from the Yawei Liu Foundation to go abroad.
This trip to South America was the most important starting point for me to break the boundaries of my life.
When I started traveling, the world became more and more different.
If you're a studentbetween the ages of 18-30, or if you're like me,fresh out of college with no steady incomebut a burning desire to explore the world through volunteering, this is definitely the information and courage you need.
(If you want to volunteer at this Peruvian school after reading this, feel free to private message me onIG~)
Before I explored the world
After graduating from high school and entering college, I had more anxiety than excitement and anticipation.
"Who am I? Where am I from? Where am I going?"
Even though I have received 12 years of national education, I still find it difficult to answer these questions.
As a result, during my years in college, I studied anthropology and was extremely eager to explore the untouchable corners of Taiwanese society, hoping to find the direction of my life.
I try to utilize my position as a university student to touch the daily life of different occupational fields.
For example, I was an intern reporter of social news.
I saw the family members who threw the gold paper in anger, the Wanhua hobo robbery, the Xinbei guillotine case, and even entered the home of White Wolf, Chang An-lo .
(I was really nervous at that time! The white wolf is so powerful.)
I am a trainee inTaiwan Innocence Project (TIP).
I met Su Jianhe and many other victims of injustice, and helped TIP to redress grievances and study strategies for reversal of wrongful convictions.
I became a financial assistant at the National Center for High‑Performance Computing;
I worked as a Wedding Butler in the wedding industry;
I host events ranging from 10 to 100 people.
I have also taken advantage of the school's free time to travel on my own and work and stay in different parts of Taiwan, so that I can deeply enter into the local life.
For example, atDapu Plus+, a local creative organization in Matsu-Tongju,I participated in the Lantern Festival's all-night drumming team, which perpetuates a dying art;
Experience the most heartfelt tea production atWanglai TeaI experienced the most heartfelt tea production.
Or, at the "Moonlight B&B" run by the Yami people in Orchid Island, I went fishing in the sea and chopping wood in the mountains with my Orchid Island parents.
Finally, I stayed in Pingtung Donggang's first backpacker inn,The Way Hostel, to experience the reverence and sincerity of the Donggang King Boat Ceremony.
You might be interested: Must read before departure! The most detailed explanation of the process of Donggang King Boat Ceremony, taboos and overlooked points to see.
I didn't miss out on club activities either. I participated inAIESECand worked my way up from basic member, to vice president, to president.
This led me to Sri Lanka, where I met very different aspiring young people working to develop youth leadership across the Asia-Pacific for the development of their own countries.
My motivation to explore the world
After all these experiences, I know more about myself and Taiwan, and I have a better understanding and perception of life.
However, back to reality, in the second half of 2022, when I had just graduated from college, I had no steady source of income other than taking on cases and hosting events.
One day, like most fresh graduates, I was frantically searching for jobs and writing resumes, trying to reassure my family that I could be financially independent.
Suddenly, the so-called "Human Design", the sound from "Sacral", a sound that was too strong, sounded in my head:
"Ah, I'd love to go out and see the world!"
Maybe it's because during the process of submitting my résumé, I kept imagining what the future workplace would be like, and those imaginations didn't make me feel too much anticipation and enthusiasm.
Plus, having read a lot of sociology, I don't want to become a little screwdriver of capitalism and lose my own color.
So, with that simple inner voice to start with, I began to dig for all kinds of opportunities to send myself abroad while I waited for a response to the résumé I sent out.
I wondered:what are the channels other than the established impression of spending a lot of money to study abroad and exchange?
At that time, I even voted for the COMEBUY Australia Reserve Cadre position, dug out all kinds of INGO/INPO recruitment information in Chinese and English, and read through countless nomads' sharing.
Because I don't believe in it! The world is so big and full of information, I definitely don't have to spend a lot of money to go abroad!
Find free volunteer opportunities in Peru
However, there is really nothing free in the world. It takes time and energy to exchange.
It was with time and energy (and luck) that I stumbled upon this Peruvian opportunity.
(But it only took about a week.)
At that time, I kept searching with different keywords──"overseas volunteer opportunities", "overseas volunteer sharing" and so on.
Suddenly, I found a very newPeru Volunteer Recruitment articlefrom a Taiwanese extracurricular education teacher who took her children to that Peruvian school, which she shared in the article:
Ademocratic schoollocated on a 3,300-meter plateau surrounded by green forests, grasslands and sheep inHuamachuco, a traditional ancient city in Peru. The temperature is in the mid to high 10s all year round. The school isliberal and democratic, with children aged 3 to 16 meeting together every morning to discuss the rules of life and school affairs, each taking it as his or her right and duty to"create and maintain order in the community".
◆ What kind of person is suitable to go there? Longing for dirt and starry skies, for a low-limit, simple life, for experiencing Peruvian culture, for playing and living with a group of energetic children, for understanding how democratic schools foster independent learning and public dialogue, for learning everyday Spanish conversation naturally in a Spanish context, and for breaking through the boundaries of one's own life in the midst of culture shock. Volunteers are not given a specific task at the school and can do whatever they want to do. Volunteers can help with classes depending on the needs of the children, play in the sand, draw or play soccer with the children, help prepare lunch in the kitchen, or just lie in the grass and look at the sky all day long. The school provides room and board, internet access, and unbearable love.
Honestly, I didn't know much about Peru at the time, in the southern hemisphere? Machu Picchu? Seems to speak only Spanish? ...... I don't speak Spanish.
You might be interested:The Most Important Tip for Spanish Conversation, I can have a smooth conversation with 50 words──Pronunciation + Sentence Structure
However, I have always been passionate about education (especially education outside the system) and still scream at my computer at the first sight of it, andthis is a totally ideal opportunity for me!
Since this is different from the mainstream way of finding volunteers, instead of going through a matchmaking organization, I can directly connect with that school.
So within a week, I had written and submitted my application, talked to them online, finalized my three-month volunteer life in Peru, swiped a cheap flight ticket, and was ready to go! ✈️
(If you would like to volunteer at this school, please feel free to private message me onIG~)
BTW I didn't tell my mom until after I had finalized my three-month volunteer life in Peru (although we usually get along like friends, I wanted to wait until things were finalized). Later she asked me if it took a lot of courage to do this. For her, she had never wanted to do this before. I paused for a moment, and the voice in my heart said, "Compared to applying to schools and giving speeches on stage, this is not something that requires a lot of courage for me, and I just really want to live my life to the fullest. "I've traveled the world and I hope it's worth it." It's as simple as that.
Next: Finding Foundation Sponsorship
That's all I did in two weeks! And I couldn't imagine what kind of trip I was going to take next.
However, to travel to Peru, although you have already saved the cost of food and accommodation, air tickets and transportation are still a significant expense.
So I found myself a sponsorship from the Foundation!
If you're in need of a little financial help, click through to the next post.