At Challenges Abroad we are always striving to grow our community of global citizens. It is so important to us to continue our connection with volunteers even after they have returned home. This year we started our then and now initiative as a way to do just that. We want to celebrate the achievements of our alumni and the experiences that helped them get to where they are. It is also a great chance for future volunteers to hear of past experiences and how a Challenges Abroad program can help them achieve their goals
Like any new adventure, it is normal to feel a little nervous, but we want our volunteers to be fully prepared and hear of the benefits others have gained from their journey as a Challenges Abroad volunteer!
We asked Evie Jennings, a 2018 Challenges Abroad Alumni, a few questions and this was her response:
What have you been up to? How has volunteering contributed to where you are today?
Since visiting Cambodia in 2018 with Challenges Abroad and volunteering at a local school in Battambang, I have completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education. I am now in my graduate year of primary teaching and am lucky enough to teach 21 beautiful grade 1/2 students in regional Victoria. My experience with Challenges Abroad consolidated my love for teaching young children and also helped set me apart from the crowd when gaining employment as my experience had demonstrated my teaching experience, willingness to work in a team environment and growing cultural perspectives
What did you gain from volunteering with Challenges Abroad AU?
Volunteering with Challenges Abroad sparked my understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity and the importance of integrating this in the classroom. The community challenge aspect of my time in Cambodia enhanced my communication and problem-solving skills as I worked closely with a group of people to not only teach, but redevelop the school playground and immerse ourselves in the local culture.
How do you feel your experience impacts your work?
Professionally, my time in Battambang helped shaped me into the teacher I am today. Spending time in the community got me out of comfort zone and made me a more competent and confident teacher. Part of my role was to team teach children from a range of age groups who spoke English as an Additional Language. Although this was challenging, it was extremely rewarding and the problem-solving skills I adopted from this experience is something I reflect on a lot in my classroom. My time in Cambodia is something that I will forever cherish and I couldn’t recommend it enough
We loved hearing from Evie and seeing the amazing impact she is having as a primary teacher! We love celebrating our community and are grateful to have people like Evie a part of our growing community. Thanks Evie for your amazing work with us and for continuing to support us!
If you’d like to see more of our then and now stories, then check out our Instagram.