When will you begin your “Career in Caring”?

by isvolunteers on Thursday, 3 April 2014

Building a community center in the Dominican Republic (c) William Lester

William Lester, an ISV alumni and dedicated volunteer, tells us his story of how ISV inspired him to follow his dream in achieving a career that will make a positive difference to our world.  And here’s how it all began…

In 2008 I was sitting in your average university government class.  Before class started a blonde haired, surfer looking bro in a bright yellow shirt got up in front of class and started his speech off with “who in here wants to make a difference?” His next statement included “who wants to travel the world?”  To put it simply, we were all interested in what the ISV rep had to say. After hearing more about the ISV program I decided that I shouldn’t waste another second! I wanted to fulfill my passion of volunteering – and why not travel the world in the process! I showed up to the Dominican Republic in 2008 bright eyed and bushy tailed.  The next six weeks of summer changed my life for the better and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.  I spent some days teaching at the community center and other days building community centres. It was very fulfilling to know I was making a great impact on the future and to see the difference we were making to people’s lives.

The ISV Adventure Tour – rappelling down a waterfall! (c) William Lester

The last two weeks were spent with fellow volunteers, rappelling from waterfalls, cliff jumping, snorkeling, and soaking up everything that I could about Dominican culture. My time with ISV was so rewarding upon returning home I had a difficult, even life changing decision to make.  I wanted to do what I had done over the summer for the rest of my life.  Traveling, teaching, exploring, and helping others – these were characteristics I now looked for in a career. It was then that I decided to switch from a degree in pharmaceuticals to a degree in education.

Since this first experience in 2008 I have volunteered both locally and abroad. From building schools in Kenya, teaching Math and even  magic in South Korea to instructing Outdoor Education in the Alps. I have been on an invaluable journey, not only aiding others but living my dream.

If you are wondering how you can adjoin your passion for volunteering and turn this into a career, here are a few study options that may help you on your way:

For the traveler/explorer in you: If you simply want a career in exploring, traveling and helping others then look towards a career in Adventure/Outdoor Education.  Adventure/Outdoor Education optimizes your teaching options ranging from a host of subjects including climate change, environmental safety or personal health through recreation.  A degree in Adventure/Outdoor Education is extremely versatile. Possible Programs: Prescott College Adventure Education Degree Possible Careers: Outdoor Education Specialist with Village Camps

For the teacher in you: I was lucky when I came back because I knew that I wanted to teach.  So I got a degree in education.  However, if you already have a degree in an unrelated field or are looking to take a few months to test the waters, there are programs that can be taken online or abroad that allow you to become certified and even see if being an English Second Language (ESL) teacher is something that you want. Possible Programs: Arizona State University Educational College/International TEFL Academy Online or Abroad Certification Possible Careers: Overseas ESL Teacher  

For the volunteer in you:  There are plenty of non-profit organizations out there.  Getting in from the ground floor means that you get to take care of a lot of the hands on work that a lot of us volunteers enjoy doing. There are degrees in organizational leadership that can help you jump up from that ground floor to help put those ideas of yours into movement. Possible Programs: Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership/Master’s in Organizational Leadership Possible Careers: Make a Wish Foundation/Habitat for Humanity

William started his “Career in Caring” in the Dominican Republic with ISV in 2008 (c) William Lester

Only now am I finishing up all of my certifications that are needed to find a full time job in a field that I love. I could have started my career in caring sooner if I knew the relevant study options, so I hope the information I have provided you with sets you on your way.  It’s never too late to do what you love, so why not start exploring your study options now?

William Lester, ISV Alumni from The Dominican Republic

To learn more about ISV’s Volunteer and Adventure Programs please visit our website: www.isvolunteers.org   

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