Should you be one of those extraordinary people who come to my blog neither through direct familial connections or read it through the importation of posts to Facebook, you will have not heard the most exciting news I have had in a while (Though, if you did know it, that would be pretty mind-blowing. And weird.). My application to volunteer in Indonesia through the International Humanity Foundation was accepted earlier this week. Immediately after classes end at Gonzaga, I will be helping out at an orphanage in Jakarta and teaching a class, probably on English, arithmetic or computers, for a month. It will mark my first foray across the Pacific Ocean and ought to yield one of the most displacing experiences of my twenty years upon this Earth. Yeah, I am in Munich now and will be in this foreign nation for a few months more, but it is still a developed city and Western Europe, nothing like I expect Jakarta will be, especially the part I assume I will end up in. Allow me to reiterate. Last weekend the possibility of going skiing in Austria for three days in December, all costs taken care of by this most generous family, was made available to me. I am still more excited about Indonesia.
This is kind of a big deal, leaving the States for a month this summer, and it may very well ruin my chances for an internship with a newspaper and other interesting jobs. I bloody well better have a good reason for doing it. And I think I do. I have written previously on the topics of volunteering and charity, through my anticipation of Mission: Possible in San Antonio and general experiences with student social justice clubs, and you will find within them my personal motivation for volunteering in the abstract and its expression in the practical.
To avoid redundancy, allow me to skip to my impressions of IHF and their operation thus far. There are months of planning and work to go and I have just barely entered the fringes of the entire operation, but my excitement has only found the most fertile ground in them. When I was searching for an opportunity like this earlier this year, what first attracted me to IHF was their prices. You buy the plane ticket, pay $20 a week for food and promise a month. Kind of stands out against those organizations that are asking for thousands of dollars for a week, all the while promising cultural activities and a chance to get to really know the country and do some good while you are at it which ring false with me, more of a mild upper to make you feel better about spending so much money on yourself than a genuine opportunity to help. But as more e-mails come in from IHF, reminding me of my responsibilities and duties since being accepted, I learn just how much more there is to it. This is not going to be an isolated month-long experience. Before I get on the plane, they request at least eight hours of work from me (I am currently assigned to the Photography and Online Media teams though I have no idea what all that will entail) besides all of the planning and contacting I need to do myself. When I get back to the States, my work will hardly be over. There will be experiences to record and people to share them with, and I suspect that my team membership will continue on and still keep me involved with IHF. They expect me to truly invest myself in this and not just be done after a month. I hold that ideal in the highest regard. If you are going to do something, do it all out and make it matter to yourself.
But there is still more. My memory fails me at the moment, and I cannot remember whether I have mentioned on this blog that I am a Journalism major, though, considering my imagined readership, you probably know that already. Not surprisingly, the industry right now is trash as no one has figured out a good way to make money with online journalism. Over the summer I lived in the same house as an intern for the local paper, and she went to a conference in Miami one weekend. She had just graduated and of course was looking for a job, so she checked out the recruiting area. Absolutely no one was hiring. Now this must have been a major conference as she came from one of the farthest possible points in the continental United States for it, so the likelihood of newspapers not being represented there is slim. Even though I consider myself a lucky person, I do not like those odds. I kind of need a job and may need to expand my outlook. Really, getting a job with an organization like IHF does have a certain appeal to me. This could be a chance to look more consciously consider it.
3 years ago