Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Documenting Your Volunteer Abroad Experience

“I never kept a diary, but I wrote detailed notes of my travels.”- David Rockefeller. Your volunteer experience abroad, makes up part of your life as an individual; it basically shapes who you are at the present. Most volunteers change their outlook towards life after spending some time working with people who are often less fortunate than they are. It is therefore a good idea to keep a record what the experience brought to you. Once you have documented your experience you can keep what you came across to yourself or share what you have gone through with other people who are interested.

One way to document your volunteering experience is to take some time at the end of your day and write down activities in a diary or journal. This can be your own personal account of your time in the country you are volunteering in. The decision lies with you whether to share these experiences with others or just keep it as a reminder to yourself of the time you had abroad.

For those who are willing to share their experiences then there are a number of avenues available for you. There are various blog platforms available for you to blog about your volunteer work; there are blogger, wordpress and many others. The blogs would be published online and many of your friends, family and future volunteers will read what you post. Most blogs are personal views on life and as you write people will get to understand what you are going through. Whenever you update your blog, your followers will be sent an email about new activity about your blog. Blogs are free to open and maintain all they need is your input.

In addition to blogging there are online forums where you could talk about your life. The forums are truetravellers, travelblogexchange, boomersabroad and traveldudes. These forums are a great support network and give you ideas on how to live your life abroad. If you are feeling a bit down or like you are alone you can join in a forum for other volunteers, and where you share in your experiences while still volunteering. You can also use the forum to keep in touch with people who you find you are like minded with, this way you keep your experiences alive through each other.

If you are not a camera shy individual, then carry along your camera with you to work, and record a video blog that you can share online. You can share your experience through Video Podcasts, Youtube and Vimeo. This will let other people see what you are doing or meet the local people you are working with. This is also an avenue share with the people the sites you may have visited during your stay in the foreign country.

Along with videos you can also document your experience through photographs. Pictures will always tell a story of their own, and sometimes you can pick up things through photographs that you may not have seen with your bare eyes, and they are easy to share with family and friends while catching up during holidays. Pictures can be shared through Picasa, Flikr and facebook.

Another way of recording your experience while volunteering abroad is through using social networks like twitter and facebook. These networks keep you in touch with friends and family and in some cases people that are interested in volunteer work. If you can find some time in your day you can just update your activities on these networks and start communicating with people around the world. You can use the networks to post your photos, and in some cases you can make use of some of the applications on the networks that tell the people looking at your updates exactly where you are while making the updates, this brings them closer to you and you closer to the outside world.

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