I’m Volunteering with VSO

I’m Volunteering with VSO

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VSO ICS

I have been wanting to share this news for a while but I was waiting on confirmation of my placement whereabouts! And I am very happy to announce I will be volunteering as a team leader overseas in Ghana collaborating and helping with local livelihoods projects, gender equality education and human rights! The program is 8 months long split into 2 cycles of 4 months and I’ll be starting the first in May 2016. I’m super excited to get involved with these projects and learn about ways to help the local communities in this area.

Before I went through the application process with VSO, I went straight to google to find any links or helpful reviews and when I was told I got Ghana I immediately did the same – but I didn’t manage to find much in depth info about either…so I’m going to document my journey with VSO and try to give a well rounded insight into what to expect from being a team leader in this program; whilst also sharing my adventures in Ghana!

To give you an idea of what I have done so far:

  1. Initial Application process via online form
  2. Acceptance on the scheme
  3. Assessment day at the Kingston office which involved some team solving problem tasks and a 1-1 interview. I found the day really casual and well organised. Try not to be too nervous for it, it’s not intense. You just need to show that you are capable of looking at a problem and finding a solution collectively. Our first task was to build the tallest giraffe we could out of newspaper and sticky tape!
  4. Acceptance!
  5. DBS & Medical Clearance – arrange these as soon as you can and get the forms sent back to VSO; so as to move your application forward as quickly as possible. All the costs of these things are covered by VSO.
  6. Clearance accepted and details of your placement confirmed!
  7. Start fundraising! As soon as you get your placement you can start the process of fundraising, all VSO volunteers are required to fundraise an amount (£800 usually) to begin the program. Get baking, selling, running and shouting about your placement & cause!

Here’s a snippet of my fundraising page bio which explains a bit more about what VSO ICS is and what my placement will involve when I get to Ghana:

https://www.justgiving.com/Jack-Gunns1

VSO GHANA

“In May 2016 I will volunteer for VSO ICS on a development programme in Asamankese, GHANA.

This is part of International Citizen Service (ICS), which brings young people together to fight poverty and make a difference where it is needed most. I’ll be working alongside volunteers, on projects within the community.

Through this project, VSO seeks to increase cocoa production, provide alternative markets for cocoa and other products and add value through income generating activities by increasing business and marketing knowledge skills among the target group.

VSO ICS teams will help improve livelihood conditions by supporting FLOWER (local NGO partner) to increase their support of community groups, and inspire an interest in agriculture amongst in and out of school youth.

In addition, VSO ICS volunteers will organise seminars for the local people for them to gain skills in bookkeeping and adopt innovative marketing practices to reach new communities not currently working with Cocoa Life.

ICS works with communities that have specifically requested their help. It also aims to inspire young people in the UK and overseas to become active citizens who are passionate about long term community development.

I need to raise £800.00 for VSO who are one of the respected development charities that deliver ICS. This will allow them to continue to bring about positive change in the developing communities where they work. You can check out their amazing work here http://www.vsointernational.org

I’m doing multiple fundraising activities and challenges and you can keep track of how I get on here on my Justgiving page or www.jackgunns.com. Any contribution from you will make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries, so please dig deep!

Thanks for your support!”

My next update will be when I go for a Team Leader training weekend in April which you are required to do before you begin placement as it provides you with the leadership training and details of your role when overseas.

Hopefully you found this useful and keep an eye out for the next step in my VSO ICS adventure!

Keep up to date by following my social media channels as I post regular updates on there!

Travel. Create. Be Nice!

Why I’m Choosing Travel Over A Career

Why I’m Choosing Travel Over A Career

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So, you’ve finished your studies and come to the beginning of your 20’s. You should get a ‘proper’ job now and start building your career right? It’s time to act like an adult… or so society tells us that it should play out like this. Get a job, find a partner, get married, get a mortgage, have a baby and so on. But what If I told you there are other options and paths YOU can take. You don’t have to complete these milestones or do them in the conventional order. I have realised that you don’t have to live your life in what you think is expected of you from what society tells us to do.

Travel over a career…

As a recent graduate I struggled with the idea of conforming to one role, one job and one way of thinking that I thought was expected of me. Ever since I was young I had this idea of life and life’s milestones that you should move towards and complete. Everybody has the same expectations, grading system, steps to take. Not many other options are exposed to you as you grow up. University was pushed heavily on my college and it made me feel like if I didn’t have a degree then it would be harder to go anywhere else further along the line.

I realise now that that could not be more wrong! There are so many other routes you can take that do not fit in with societies expectations and thats a good thing!

I have always loved to travel and experience new ways of thinking and living which is clear by the content on this blog and my ethos of a travel lifestyle. I tried to tame it by taking a few holidays here and there and taking a few months out to satisfy my desire to travel. This did the opposite and further ignited my passion to continue to explore. It made me realise that for me to find happiness in what I do, I need to find something that involves travelling within it.

I learnt way more and gained so much more experience from my travels than I have ever done reading a text book. Yeah studying gave me an in-depth knowledge about a particular field and on paper I can say I can do that but its not until you get into the ‘real’ world that you realise you have a whole lot more to learn, that studying can never teach you; you need that first hand experience with things. And travelling has been my greatest teacher so far.

I tried the corporate lifestyle for only 9 months before I decided that I needed to get out of it. I’d landed a junior design role that offered on the go training. Straight out of uni you’d think that this was the dream! I thought it was but I realised I was just doing what I thought was expected of me. I was stuck in a monotonous cycle of traffic jams, office desks and paperwork. I wasn’t living, just existing until the next pay check. This wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, I wasn’t living up to my full potential slaving away at a desk 5 days a week with no real life at the weekends either.

I started to get really bogged down with it, not depressed, but I know if I had continued on then that’s the way it may have headed.

I decided enough was enough.
I took the leap and quit my job.

I guess I’m having a quarter-life crisis? But in a good way…

I had no back up plan or financial stability to fall back on. yikes. But I remember being so happy that I had escaped it so soon! I had taken control of my ship and I was set on battling the ocean waves. Maybe a little dramatic but the english literature student comes out in me sometimes. I was not about to settle for what was expected of me. I choose to get out find a part time retail job to tide me over for a few months while I concocted a plan. I was starting to feel happier, I got the chance to do some freelance design work and start putting in place the foundations for enabling me to travel and work. I studied a TEFL qualification, I trained for a half marathon to raise funds for my Nepali village, I was taking steps outside of my comfort zone. I was pushing myself.

Fast forward to the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. I couldn’t have been happier to see that clock strike 12 on new years eve! I’d made it through and I am so ready for what this year will bring. I’m choosing travel over a career because I feel that whatever you do should make you happy; for me that is travel, for someone else it may be that corporate lifestyle. Whatever you do, do not settle for the comfortable option, whats expected and the ‘norm’. Grab the bull by the horns and live life. If you don’t do that then your just existing.

Why am I writing this? Because I want to encourage anyone who happens to read this that travel is awesome! I want to inspire you to grab that bag and book that flight because it WILL be one of the best things you ever do. Even if its just a short period of travelling or a lifelong passion like me. You’ll gain so much from the experience and learn so much that you just can’t do if you stay at home in your comfort bubble. I don’t want you to be afraid of travelling solo or put off by what you see in the media because the world is a much less scarier place than what it makes out; just use your common sense.

Travel over a career

So that’s why I’m choosing travel over a career.

More reasons to travel…

Travel for the VIEWS

Travel for the BONDS

Travel for the FESTIVALS

Travel for the GROWTH

 

 

 

 

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!