Qualities that make a good volunteer
- Full of initiative but willing to accept input from others who live in the country and are used to the way it works (or doesn’t!) and who know the best way to approach things in Sri Lanka – which will not be as direct as it may be in developed countries.
- …but also not easily deterred by that little word no because most things can be overcome!
- Able to accept when things don’t always go according to plan
- Self motivating
- Able to accept cultural differences empathetically and without becoming condemnatory or critical or showing surprise which may cause hurt. Remember that most people are doing their best – as they do in your own culture.
- Accepting and respectful of cultural and religious differences which may differ from those in other countries with which volunteers are familiar
- Able to work with other volunteers without imposing methods and views
- Able to provide balanced feedback to the project manager
- Able to live harmoniously in close proximity to the project manager and his extended family of adults and four children and respect their need for a certain amount of ‘space’
Whilst it’s good for volunteers to plan prior to coming, they need to be prepared to fit in with the curriculum or workplace needs where they will be volunteering.
Try to plan and review what you have covered during your teaching or work sessions with staff at your placement so that they have an opportunity to retain on what you have done and build on it in the future.