For my personal pursuit, I went to Zambia to work as a volunteer on a building project. At the end of my second semester in ATLAS, I spent five weeks in Livingston. With a group of other volunteers. Every morning we worked on building a classroom, and in the afternoon we gave extra lessons to the students or cleaned up plastic from the streets. Afterwards, I wrote an article reflecting on ‘voluntourism’, which was also published in the Geografie magazine.
I heard about these volunteer projects from friends, and felt like it would be a great opportunity to expand my horizons while also helping other people. There are a lot of different offers to do these kinds of projects, depending on the destination, your budget, and the effect that you think you can have through the project. Based on these considerations, Zambia was the best fit for me.
From my Personal Pursuit I wanted to gain insight into third-world development, but also to develop my independence and self-sufficiency. I ended up gaining even more from it: I met inspiring people, saw impressive nature and animals, and most importantly saw that I made a difference. Even though I had to miss quite some things back home, the experience I got from it was definitely worth it!
If I were to do this kind of Personal Pursuit again, I would probably talk to even more people about the topics I ended up writing about. This would hopefully lead to even more different viewpoints on ‘voluntourism’, which is quite a complex phenomenon in itself.
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