Volunteering abroad after university

Written by Hannah Smith –  Film and Television Student Graduate

Leaving education is a daunting prospect for anyone. From the age of four, going to school is all you’ve ever known and when that’s finally over, you’re left wondering, what next?

You may find yourself in the fantastic position of entering the working world and upgrading your status as an adult. Or you may be like me and find yourself with a little too much free time on your hands.

So, I became a volunteer.

Throughout my time at university, volunteering was just something that I didn’t have time for. I had my studies, projects and part-time work and I would look in envy at those having fun raising money, making friends and doing something to help change the world for the better.

When a friend of mine told me that she was raising money to teach disadvantaged children in Peru, I wished I had known sooner about the opportunity.

Luckily for me, Challenges Abroad was there to offer me my next opportunity!

In association with the FutureSense Foundation, a UK based charity supporting international development, Challenges Abroad offers groups of students the opportunity to travel across the globe and do their part to support local communities.

Whether that be supporting the communities around Peru’s Sacred Valley, taking care of elephants in Thailand or climbing the heights of Kilimanjaro.

I signed up to teach media literacy to the children of Chiang Mai, Thailand. As a former film and television student, this is the perfect opportunity for me to share the knowledge that I gained at university and explore the world whilst doing it.

As a volunteer, I will aim to give the children experience in creative media, supporting the children as we learn new skills in filmmaking, photography and other genres of media.

And I won’t be alone. A group of students and graduates from the University of Lincoln will be embarking on this mission with me. I have the support of one of my closest friends and the fantastic opportunity to build more life-long friendships along the way.

Over the next few months, I and the other members of the team will be fundraising to cover the cost of our accommodation, food and a donation to the charity for our stay in Chiang Mai.

£2,250 each may seem like a lot of money but it also gives us the chance to be creative, make things, sell our art, do a bake sale, run marathons and in the case of one fundraiser on the team, the unique opportunity to trek from Lincoln to Mount Snowdon! The possibilities for us are suddenly endless!

Working for the charity has given me goals and deadlines – which after three years of university are both familiar and a comfort for a lost soul like myself.

The challenge is huge. Three weeks in a foreign country is a long time… and I don’t even like Thai food…



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One off contributions from guest student writers and video makers.

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