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Global Citizenship: what is it and how can you be a Global Citizen?

All of our challenges are aimed at creating global citizens. In an ever-increasingly globalised world, the becoming a global citizen is essential. We think travelling and immersing yourself into other cultures is such a great way to start your journey in becoming a global citizen.

 

Part of accepting this lifestyle is realising the interconnectedness of the world and how we all share similarities. Moreover, it is acting on the realisation that we have a responsibility to each other to uphold a certain quality of life for all of those who live on the Earth. In idealistic terms, creating a generation of global citizens should help to tackle sustainability problems, sociocultural issues and much more. Being aware of global problems and wanting to solve them, in a broad sense, should have a positive impact on the world.

 

But what is a global citizen?

According to OxFam:

“A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world - and their place in it. They take an active role in their community, and work with others to make our planet more equal, fair and sustainable.”

 

Global citizens are more empathetic, socially and culturally aware, and act in a manner which considers their impact on an international level. This might also seem very fantastical, but it’s quite simple. A global citizen is someone who thinks about how their actions may impact others, and vice versa. They take steps to mitigate any subconscious harm they may do to others, and counter that by contributing to their global community in a positive way. 

 

According to one of our challenge leaders Hannah:

“Global citizenship is about having an awareness of other people, other communities around the world and what I can do actively to help those communities share resources and build skills that will unite us for the greater good, building a better world that we live in together.”

 

A global citizen isn’t just about giving to charity or volunteering some of your time. It is also about understanding the challenges that people in different cultures and communities face. It is about educating yourself on global challenges and how this affects people’s lifestyles, perspectives and relationships. If you can understand why people act the way they act, you are much more likely to be empathetic and develop a stronger relationship.  

 

OxFam tells us that being a global citizen helps young people to:

  • Build their own understanding of world events.

  • Think about their values and what's important to them.

  • Take learning into the real world.

  • Challenge ignorance and intolerance.

  • Get involved in their local, national and global communities.

  • Develop an argument and voice their opinions.

  • See that they have power to act and influence the world around them.

 

But these benefits do not simply relate to young people. They extend to individuals of all generations. In fact, some would say that many people of older generations need to experience becoming a global citizen. This helps people to overcome biases, stereotypes and challenge preconceptions.

 

Not only is being a global citizen good for your own character, but also for your employment prospects. The economy is becoming globalised, and employers are looking for someone with a globalised mindset. Someone who can interact with people from all walks of life and be comfortable in that situation. These so called ‘soft skills’ are becoming more and more essential in the professional world.

 

How can you be a global citizen?

Our volunteering trips are a perfect way to kickstart your experience with being a global citizen. You will be exposed to issues and hardships that locals face, and you will work together to ameliorate these challenges. In doing so, you will get to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the locals. You will see the ins and outs of their lives, as opposed to just gaining a tourist’s perspective. By going more rural and working side-by-side with the local people, you will be able to enhance your global mindset and perspective.

 

By taking part in one of our challenges, you will without a doubt be on the journey to becoming a global citizen. But it is not a two-week course and then you become qualified as a global citizen. It is a lifestyle choice that will become ingrained in your character. We often find that our volunteers will come home from their trip and feel an inclination to act as more of a global citizen. This is because their experience illustrated to them the need for global citizens within the world. For many, they will come home and encourage those around them to think globally.

 

However, not only does going on these challenges help you to become a global citizen, but it also helps the local people. It broadens the perspectives and experiences of the local children and their families who can gain insight into what your lifestyle is like. Just as you will learn about their culture, they will learn about yours, and together you can build each other’s cultural awareness. Through interactions such as these, we can help to minimise stereotypes and generalised assumptions. Instead, we can encourage conversation and sensibilities around cultures.

 

Ultimately, we want to encourage everyone to become a global citizen. We think volunteering abroad helps to broaden your perspective and allows you to meet a whole range of different people. With this experience, you can become a much more open-minded, empathetic and globally minded individual.  

 

Take the first step towards becoming a global citizen here.