Why Your International Volunteering Trip Needs More Intention, and How to Set It

Mark Horoszowski

Picture of Jerome in Southeast Asia

You can easily turn any international trip into a transformational learning experience in three easy steps:
1. Set an intention with clear goals
2. Go on your trip
3. Reflect on your experience

By setting goals and your personal intention, you’ll prepare yourself for a transformative experience. And, when your trip is over, the simple act of reflection is proven to help you internalize the things you learned and even make you happier.

In our resources and training, we emphasize these concepts, but sometimes we hear the story of one of our Experteers who is taking our best practices to a whole new level.

This past week, we got to speak with Axle, an accomplished User Experience Research and Design professional. He’s starting a 1.5 year international Experteering trip as part of this Open Master’s program, and he’s doing an inspiring job of setting some lofty objectives for his journey. Even though most Experteering trips are shorter, we can all learn from the care and intention he has put into planning and starting his trip.

Check out our brief podcast-style interview with Axle.

Here are a few takeaways from my conversation with him that you can use to set your own intention for your trip

1. Use your international trip as a learning experience. You’ll be able to learn a lot by working with other people, exposing yourself to new cultures, and seeing new things… if you’re open to it! In addition to your actual trip, engage in supplemental learning projects like Open Masters, online courses, or the TED Talk MBA.

2. Set a clear goals for what you hope to learn, experience, and do. Don’t just think about this… actually write them down and hold yourself accountable. You can do this by publishing your intention on a blog, by telling all your friends, or by finding an accountability-buddy.

3. Be aware that you can’t plan everything perfectly. Things will change, including your goals. That’s OK. Embrace the changes and keep a positive attitude!

We consistently hear that Experteering trips are transformational, and we’re confident that if you take the time to set clear goals, you can maximize their transformative potential!

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