Global Citizen volunteering program – what was I doing?

 Global Volunteer (before: Global Citizen) in a program providing volunteering opportunities all around the world. It is organized by AIESEC student organization. Potential volunteers get access to the database of projects and choose the best one for them in their dream country.

There is plenty of offers from numerous branches and in many countries. I picked Russia and it made my local AIESEC committee freak out. It was the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 when the conflict in Ukraine started, Russia was all over media and everybody was saying it’s getting dangerous there.

Except for this our local committee hasn’t worked with Russian AIESEC before so they couldn’t guarantee that the cooperation is going to be smooth. But I was stubborn 🙂 After a few years of learning Russian I wanted to challenge myself and check if I can easily communicate with the natives. I also wanted to get to know Russian culture and find out if Russia really is a state of mind, not a country… 🙂

All concerns of my local committee luckily were wrong. The cooperation with Russia went very well. Everything was well organized and I felt safe.

Global Volunteer – what was I doing?

I had very clear requirements regarding the project I was looking for. It had to be in Russia and I wanted it to be connected with my economic studies. And I found one!

The project was called FLY – Financial Literacy of Youth and took place in Saint Petersburg. My task was to prepare and conduct classes in Russian high school about basics of finance. When I got there it turned out there will be four volunteers and we’ll be divided in pairs. We worked in two schools. I worked with Davide from Italy.

Global Volunteer program – work organization

Russian AIESEC provided us with general requirements which topics should we cover during the classes. We had to prepare and conduct them by ourselves. The course was organized for students of the last year of high school.

Our second duty was to participate in AIESEC events but to be honest, I can’t really call it a duty. It was just fun 🙂

Global Volunteer progam – how much did I work?

My classes took place three times a week – on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. On two of these days we had just one class (45 minutes) and on Saturday – two classes.

The rest of the time was at our disposal. As you can see – I can’t call it a busy schedule 🙂 From what I’ve heard from other volunteers taking part in Global Volunteer (Global Citizen) the amount of work they had was similar.

Global Volunteer program – challenges at work

Even though I didn’t have too much work, it was very challenging. The students’ level of English wasn’t high enough to understand us easily and my level of Russian wasn’t high enough to explain financial issues. Davide’s Russian didn’t go beyond “priviet” and “spasiba”.

Sometimes I prepared the financial words in Russian before the class. Good I know how to communicate during travelling so I managed at work too… 🙂

What is more, two teachers of English were taking part in our classes as well – and it was sometimes difficult to communicate with them as well! In easy words! Well, we had to be quite creative not to let the below situation happen… 🙂

Sum up

During  Global Volunteer program I used my economic knowledge in practice (finally!). I shared it with other young people who were just about to choose their studies. The classes broadened students’ financial knowledge and they could help them understand if economics is something interesting for them.

We managed to encourage the students to speak English.  I shared my culture with them, told them stories about Poland, our traditions and history. And simultaneously I had a lot of time to discover Saint Petersburg, Russian traditions and culture, to meet people. The best time of my life 🙂

If you think whether to go or not, check this practical post: Global Volunteer program with AIESEC – opinions and hints. But remember AIESEC is not the only option. Check also how WWOOF works and what was my day like WWOOFing in the USA.

In case you still aren’t fully convinced, there is another post in which I asked Polish travel bloggers if it’s worth volunteering abroad 🙂

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