Do you believe you can’t change the world without seeing it? Or maybe you just stuck in the rut and crave some exotic trip? Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong has got you covered! They offer the exchange programme ‘Global Y Explorers’ with internship and volunteer opportunities for young people from overseas.
This summer I’ve had one of the most appealing experiences in my life – I became an abroad volunteer in Kornhill YMCA center thanks to Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong and YMCA Lviv, where I perform as volunteer and vice-chairman of youth board.
I have been home over a 6 months and still feel heartsick – a welcoming environment and lovely kids have made this 6 weeks unforgettable. Every single day spent with kids was incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun. Though I haven’t worked with kids abroad before, they amazed me with a perfect upbringing. The youngest of Hong Kong were truly ones every volunteer wishes to work with – obedient, creative, fluent in English and joy bringers. A fair share of my overall experience in Hong Kong is shaped by its kids, and I wish they have in life everything they deserve through love and light they give away. Cannot be more grateful to colleagues who supervised me on every step of the way – I’ve learned so much about teamwork and mutual assistance.
We were a team of 9 international volunteers: extraordinary youngsters from USA, South Korea, Taiwan and fist time ever – Ukraine. Our days started and ended together, we tried to share as many meals and outings together as possible and these guys made my time in Hong Kong even more meaningful and truly remarkable. Organizers arranged many fun teambuilding activities for us – Hong Kongers have a very strong sense of friendship and community. And it doesn’t get better than that.
Thanks to my incredible boss Daisy, caring supervisor Cheston and international friends for making my personal experience the most fulfilling and authentic. The opportunities are endless. Mine were: rock climbing, wind sailing, cliff jumping, numerous hikes and bike rides, exploring Macau and dozen outlying islands, visiting sludge recycling factory, crossed of check list all instagramable spots in HK and so on.
I strongly believe my country is the best thing I can identify myself with – that’s why it is so important for me to communicate with kids through prism of Ukrainian culture. I want to express gratitude to my colleagues, who welcomed me to their classrooms so kids could experience all sorts of Ukrainian fun – play games, sing songs, dances, handcraft and cooking. Also it’s amazing how kids at such young age were eager to get cross-cultural insights and it made me feel so fulfilled. One of my favorite times in the center I spent teaching kids how to cook Ukrainian authentic cuisine – and they seemed to enjoy it, although there were a lot of recipes and products they were not familiar with before.
I wish I could stay in the center more than just 6 weeks, because every time I walked through playroom I started noticing those family vibes. So here is my message to upcoming volunteers: cherish every moment spent with kids and colleagues, every laugh you had with your international friends, to hang on every adventure the city offers you, be grateful for every prominent smile a child gave you, every question and curiosity they ask – time flies so unnoticeably.