Learning Curves

In life, we all find challenges in new situations.The bigger the leap, the bigger the chance youll fall flat on your face (at least temporarily). The biggest of leaps are almost always the most rewarding.

These things we know, but our comfort and happiness is frequently eclipsed by the challenges that confront us. Maybe theyre logistical difficulties, cultural differences, communication problems.. any number of things  an put a damper on what would otherwise be an amazing experience.

Sometimes were in love with the new situations off the bat, and sometimes finding our groove is a little more difficult. For those who find themselves experiencing the latter, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Where volunteer projects and community service activity is involved, especially abroad, here are some tips on how to see the silver lining until you overcome the learning curve:

1. Find something that makes you happy every day. If its not the work youre doing, seek out other things to make you happy. Maybe there are really interesting ice cream flavors, or a street vendor that sells the best fruit juices you’ve ever had. It can be something little, but be sure to enjoy yourself every day, no matter what else has gotten you down.

2. Don’t feel obligated to live the experience the same way as your partners. Do you find churches boring? Don’t force yourself to go on every church tour that youre invited on. Maybe the night life isn’t for you, ad that’s fine! Frequently we feel like in order to make our experience worth while, its necessary to GO GO GO, or its a waste. Be who you are, and be where you are, and do it your way.

3. That being said, don’t be afraid to try the new things. If you know youre not into one thing, that’s fine, but if its possible that youll discover something amazing, jump at the opportunity.

4.Create something to look forward to. If the everyday doesn’t make you jump out of your shoes with excitement, plan something that will keep you enthusiastic about whats to come.

5. Last most certainly not least, don’t forget what youre there for. If youre building an orphanage, remind yourself of your real purpose of being involved with the project, If youre teaching a language, keep in mind that youre there to improve methods of communication! Don’t let the outside things get you down, because ultimately, if youre contributing to the greater good, why should a couple of shitty circumstance ruin things for you?






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