My first time being abroad, doing volunteer

Sitting on the plane to Poland, words are not enough to describe how happy I am now. My dream has come true. But this could have not happened if I weren’t given a chance by STEP and SCI Hong Kong to take part in this camping June 2018. It was also my first time going outside of Vietnam.

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I participated in this camp as a camp coordinator assistant. This was a great opportunity for me to learn from the camp coordinator the way they organize a camp as well as to improve myself. This camp took place for 7 days full of interesting activities. There were seven international volunteers (IVs) who were from Portugal, Poland, Czech, Hungary, Indonesia and me from Vietnam. The first day was organized for the IVs to move to the campsite, get to know each other, be informed about the detailed schedule, divide into teams, assign tasks and the most stimulating part was the Cantonese lesson. There was always a local volunteer joining us in every activity in order to support the IVs, as well as train him to become a capable leader for the future camps.

On the second day, we were taken on a city tour. I was really amazed how modern and well-organized Hong Kong was. You can easily go to almost everywhere in this country by various types of public transport such as MTR, tram, double-deck bus, coach, taxi, ferry. Hong Kong people also have a great sense of responsibility which is shown in very small things such as lining up neatly waiting for a bus. We visited two secondary schools on the third and fourth day. After a warm welcome from the students and teachers, the students presented to us confidently in English about the transportation, tourist attraction, culture, education system of Hong Kong prepared by themselves. The students took us on a tour around their school and the city where they located. The group of students who we worked with was going on a service trip in Singapore. So, the purpose of this activity was to help them become more confident and would be able to adapt to a multicultural environment better.

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The next three days, we did human library which I never had a chance to experience before. I was technically a human book and the students could “read” me and ask me questions. The book title I chose was “How small things lead to big change”. The students seemed to be interested in my volunteer experience I told them, how the life of the kids in Vietnam has been improved. I also asked some of them why they do volunteering and tell them about what they can gain through these activities.

On the last day, we and students from 3 different schools all moved to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 4 groups, the IVs organized 4 different workshops of yoga, art, card games, and scavenger hunt. Studying in Hong Kong gets more competitive related to how good the school is. Because of that, we wanted this to be a chance for them to enjoy every moment and feel themselves. I think all the IVs and students had a lot of fun together, I just wish it could last even longer.

Coming back from this camp, my friends said I have changed a lot. In the camp, I learned how to work effectively like Hong Kong people do. I could see how beautiful and interesting the world is and even more desire to explore it. I gained much more than I could ever expect in this trip.

Thank for the experience STEP and SCI,

By Pine - Vietnam