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Everybody should do a gap year

thumbnail Everybody should do a gap year

After graduation from school three years ago I was a member of the Mission House Amstelrank. I enjoyed my stay very much and I still think a lot about my time there.

Alena

Everybody who is thinking of doing a gap year should do it. I never felt that it was the wrong decision to do a voluntary service. You have the opportunity to work in different social projects, live in a foreign country and city and to experience living away from family and friends. A year abroad gives you the chance to grow personally and professionally.

During my year I had the opportunity to think a lot about myself, my character and the goals for my further life. I learnt a lot about the Dutch culture, speaking English and Dutch and living in an intercultural community. I got the chance of extending my horizon and to meet people with whom I would otherwise never get into contact with. The best thing of the year was to meet people from all over the globe. It’s not only that I lived together with six other people from different countries but also that there were a lot of foreign people visiting the projects were I was working. In my opinion the intercultural dialogue is extremely important these days because everybody has daily contact with people who have a different cultural background. In this context it’s important to meet everybody with dignity regardless of origin, education or social status. I think the only way to understand the cultural background of other people is when you deal intensively with them and share everyday’s life. A voluntary service, working and living together with native and other foreign people provide perfect conditions for this.

Such a stay has not only positive experiences and adventures but also a lot of challenges which might put you off a voluntary year. But I can tell you, that you are never alone in the Mission House and you have a lot of other people around you, who support and help you dealing with your challenges and problems.

Alena Volunteer 2009-2010