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How volunteering abroad helps with personal development

Raleigh Expedition – A Journey of Personal Growth and Skill

After graduating in Geography from the University of Exeter, I was still determining what direction to take; I needed more clarity about what I wanted to do. I saw Raleigh online and thought it would be a great way to experience a country and culture while cementing my plans.

I reside in the Tori Suwara, where our team has been working to construct household taps, distribution lines, toilets, and hand washing stations to serve the 79 households in the village. The electrical pump scheme that brings water from the valley to the community must be fixed, so we have prioritized improving this.

We are a mixed team with both international and Nepali volunteers. This is important because the Nepali volunteers help you settle in. My roommate Darwin has been a massive help explaining the Nepalese culture and helping me communicate with my host family.

Learning and Challenges on the Expedition

a group of people standing on top of a hill

Hamish and the expedition team in Tori Suwara

So far, I have dug pipelines, directed by the Head of the Water Committee, and cut and threaded pipes provided by our Project Partners that will be used to make the taps for the stands. Digging for the pipelines is an essential first step because they are used for a gravity-fed system, directing water to individual households. The community and Project Partners have helped by providing tools and materials and showing us how to use them.

I have faced challenges since I’ve been here. When I first arrived, I found it difficult to communicate with the community members as I didn’t speak the local language. I found it challenging to be culturally aware and ensure I didn’t offend them by mistake.

a group of men standing next to each other

I have learned how to communicate and get along with people from different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. I now better understand social dynamics within a group and can get the best work out of individuals in a team.

My future was uncertain before the Expedition, but I now have a more precise direction and thoughts about what I want to achieve. I was addicted to social media and didn’t focus on myself but on other people. I feel a Raleigh Expedition is a detox for modern life. I now have a broader perspective and am much more grateful for what I’ve got. I think I’m more relaxed and less anxious about the direction of my life. Coming on, Raleigh Expedition had cemented my plans before I lacked clarity of what I wanted to do with my life.

The Role of Young People in Development

Young people have the creativity to engage with people. We bring energy. We are the future and the best people to combat development issues worldwide.

To answer the question, ‘How does volunteering impact your personal growth?’ Personal growth comes from going outside your comfort zone and overcoming new challenges. This helped me to understand myself better, including my strengths and weaknesses.

For information on why you should join Raleigh International, check out our Why Volunteer page.

Need more information about Expedition?

Consultation call

Whether you have a specific question or want to discuss which Expedition is right for you, schedule a call with a member of the team at a time convenient to you. 

Join an info event

On our monthly online info events, we’ll tell you all about Expedition. Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.