Tag Archives: International Service

A Service-Learning Adventure

25 Apr

When I got the opportunity to participate in the Fiji 2014 Service-Learning Adventure last January, I was impacted in ways I never thought possible. I began my journey expecting to give to the people of Naboutini and improve their lives, but in reality, by the end of the week, I felt like they had given more to me than I could return.

Being a culture that is centered on relationships, mutual aid, and togetherness, the people of the village expressed a need for a place to meet, socialize, eat, give medicine, and house visitors. We were able to meet that need by funding and helping them finish a beautiful hall in the center of the village. However, the giving did not stop there. Coming into the village, we too expressed a desire to live amongst the people of Naboutini and learn from them, and they exceeded our every expectation, giving us more and teaching us more then I could have ever predicted.

Children of Naboutini embrace Heather.

Children of Naboutini embrace Heather.

The people of Naboutini that I met and built relationships with mostly taught me about how to treat others. Despite their lack of material things, they exhibited the most hospitality I had ever experienced. They gave us a place to live, more food than we could eat, and someone to guide us through the area, everyday activities, and Fijian customs. The people of Naboutini were also some of the most welcoming and kind people that I had ever met who embraced us into their community. They constantly taught us about their home and culture. Many invited us on adventures in fishing, snorkeling, hiking to waterfalls, dancing, fan weaving, horseback riding, grogging, and many more. The embracing and loving attitudes of the Fijians made me feel at home in a matter of days and showed me how important it is to treat people with such compassion.

In addition to learning about others, through this adventure, I learned a great deal about myself. I recognized my ability to handle rough circumstances and different living situations as long as I maintain a positive attitude. This experience of immersion in the Fijian village taught me that I could thrive in new places and situations despite them being so much different than to what I am accustomed to.

This service-learning adventure in Fiji gave me new perspectives in the areas of service, community, self-awareness, and international travel. I was able to give a little something to a village in need and gain new friends, thoughts, and viewpoints. International service is a truly rewarding way to travel where you can really learn about the place and the people.

I had such a life-changing experience in Fiji and you can too! Apply for the Fiji 2015: Intergenerational Service-Learning Adventure! The deadline is this TODAY, April 25th at 3pm. For more information, contact Chris Florentino, chrisf@csufresno.edu559.278.7079 or Continuing and Global Education, 559.278.0333.

You can also check out this post, this postthis post, and this post, by my fellow Ambassadors on information about other international service opportunities.

-Ambassador Heather

Consider International Community Service

15 Feb

Are you passionate about volunteering your time to community service? Are you interested in traveling out of the country?

Try combining the two, and consider community service abroad! Kofi Annan once said, “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” There are many different organizations providing opportunity to travel the world and engage in service. Some of these include:

International Student Volunteers

International Service Learning

Projects Abroad

Global Service Corps

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Ambassador Alexi with fellow volunteers in Costa Rica from International Student Volunteers, Summer 2012.

Ambassador Alexi with fellow volunteers in Costa Rica from International Student Volunteers, Summer 2012.

These all include various projects and sites that you can choose from. If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in community service abroad or different organizations you can travel with, there will be a meeting on International Community Service on February 22, 2013, at 3:00 pm in USU 308. We will be discussing various organizations that provide opportunity to travel around the world, as well as fundraising tips to get you there. Also, pizza will be provided, so please stop by!

So, what do you think? Who’s interested in taking their passion for service abroad?  Where would you like to go?  Has anyone engaged in international service?  Share with us!

-Ambassador Alexi

A Case for International Service

1 Nov

We serve because we want to trade in our time, money, and talents for the knowledge and satisfaction that someone’s life was bettered because of our gifts. We want to share what we have to make a difference to get some warm fuzzies. Many of us want to give back to our community and impact the area that has impacted us, creating a local service focus. Our country, our state, and our city are all far from perfect, and it is very understandable and very noble for individuals to want to direct their efforts to create improvements in these areas. It is a common sentiment that we need to fix our country before we can begin to think about giving globally. While I wholeheartedly support, encourage, and participate in local service, I also want to encourage people to zoom out a little bit and take a look at the bigger picture. Local service and global service do not have to be mutually exclusive, being involved in both offers wonderful experiences and multiplies the possibilities for meaningful change.

We are constantly reminded of all of the problems our local areas have ranging from poverty to poor health care to pollution. While these issues do exist and are important, it is also important to take note that compared to many areas of the world we are incredibly blessed. Being an American is such a beautiful privilege as we have the freedom to sustain our own beliefs and the opportunity to pursue them. Sure, we are far from a utopia, but we are certainly much closer than other parts of the world.  Whether you believe it was luck or a divine act that got you to this country, it is something that should not be taken for granted for it is important to remember that we all could have just as easily been born into a third world society. I say this not to impose guilt or a sense of obligation, but rather as a reminder that we all have been granted with an incredible opportunity. We have been given an ability to give that is larger than most. This is a gift that allows us to help both our local neighbors and our neighbors around the world if we so chose. So next time you are considering where to serve or give, don’t rule out the global community. Your impact will still be felt and you can still get warm fuzzies even from across the globe.

Here are some neat global service organizations to check out:

West African Vocational Schools: http://wavschools.org/

Charity Water: http://www.charitywater.org/

Amor Ministries: http://www.amor.org/

International Student Volunteers: http://www.isvolunteers.org/

Or consider purchasing some goods that benefit global communities (It’s a win win! You give support and get some cool stuff in return):

Toms (Shoes and Eyewear): http://www.toms.com/

Krochet Kids (Crocheted goods): http://www.krochetkids.org/

Global Mamas (Tons of handmade items): http://www.globalmamas.org/

-Ambassador Emily

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