From June 25th to July 10th, I was in Mongolia to experience something special, ‘Global Volunteering’. At first, I did not expect much outcome from this. Now, however, this program has remained an outstanding and unforgettable memory of my university life. Do you want to know why? Then, hear my story!
● My Volunteer Activity Diary
Our team decided to volunteer at the Hatgal School located in Khovsgol. Before leaving to Mongolia, we had to prepare educational programs and cultural performances. To do that, for about a month before departing, we made one performance team and one education team and prepared the programs in each. I became a member of the Taekwondo team and physical education team.
On June 25th, we left for Mongolia and arrived at Hatgal School. On the first day upon arrival, we presented a welcome ceremony. From the next day, we started educational service activities in earnest. We taught Taekwondo, jump rope, balloon relay, and many other fun physical activities for five days. In order to proceed with the programs, we explained the rules to them with the help of an interpreter. At first, the children were unfamiliar with us but they gradually opened their hearts and minds to us and actively participated in the program. In addition to these educational activities, we also volunteered to paint the school corridor. I tried to do this for the first time, but it was more fun than I expected. After a week of volunteer work and farewell performances, the time came for us to leave. I was so sad to leave because we would not meet again. But we had to go, we said farewell with warm hugs.
For our next volunteering experience, we went to an orphanage in Ulaanbaatar. This orphanage was established by one Korean and ran solely on donations. It was a very short meeting, but I felt that these children would grow up bravely. For about ten days of volunteer activities, I had an unforgettable experience.
● Enjoy Mongolia in Earnest! Cultural Experience
Thankfully, we did not only do volunteer work, but also had various cultural experiences in Mongolia. The most impressive experiences for me were the visit to Khovsgol Lake and the experience of ger. Khovsgol Lake, one of Mongolia’s most famous tourist attractions, was very close to the Hatgal School. We rode a water boat, and a zip-line there. I was so happy to be able to enjoy leisure in the nature of Mongolia. And next, we had an experience of one night in the ger in Ulaanbaatar. Ger is a traditional Mongolian house made of wooden skeleton covered with livestock leather. It was seemingly simple, but comfortable when I came in. At dawn, I went out to see the stars with my teammates. I saw the Milky Way and numerous stars in the sky. I was so happy to see the stars that I would never forget. Through these cultural experiences, I thought that Mongolia is a beautiful place.
● Thank You, Global Volunteering!
There are two things that I felt through this experience. First, I felt that volunteering is not help given from one side and even I can be helped. At first, I thought I should help them and change them. But rather, I felt that my heart was getting deeper and filled because children gave me a warm heart. Second, it was more important to go with whom, rather than where to go. In all of these activities, I would not feel like this without our teammates. I was impressed by their steady positive attitude, active and warm appearances. I decided to become a person like them. The things I felt through these experiences will be a positive driving force of my life in the future.
● Four Useful Pieces of Information for When You Go to Mongolia
-Weather: The weather in Mongolia is also chilly in summer. You must pack some warm outer clothing.
-Money: Mongolia's money is hard to change back into Korean money. It is good to change only as much as necessary and to spend it all!
-Memo: Write your feelings in a diary from time to time! It does not matter whether it is a cell phone note or a paper note. It is really good to remember your feelings later.
-Souvenir: Cashmere items and Chinggis Khan vodka are the most famous souvenirs from Mongolia. These are good for giving to family or friends.
Are you agonizing about whether you should check-out global volunteering? If you have a strong will, I do not doubt that this will be a great gift for you in the lifetime. Youth, let’s travel everywhere full of love!