Since Volunteer World launched in 2015 volunteers can search and compare volunteer programs from all over the world. Hanna and Lukas are just two of them. Together, they will take the adventures of their first volunteer trip abroad and starting from April, they will be blogging from Vietnam for us every week. We interviewed them before their departure so that you can get to know them.
Steffi: Hanna and Lukas, thank you for the opportunity to interview you today. I guess you are quiet busy preparing for your flight to Vietnam. We are excited to be able to have our first bloggers successfully mediated through the Volunteer World network. Can you give a brief introduction of yourself and what you do when you are not volunteering?
Hanna: Thanks for the opportunity to share our experiences. I`m Hanna and 27 years old. I study Textile and Clothing Management and I am currently living in Cologne. Besides my studies I used to work in a fashion store. What I really like is traveling, going to festivals and concerts, music in general, meeting up with friends, cooking, reading, dancing and sewing. Im going abroad with my brother who is two years younger than me.
Lukas: I’m Lukas, and as Hanna already said I am the younger one. I’m 25 years old and currently living in Berlin, where I’m doing my master’s degree in Business Psychology. I enjoy playing football, cooking, going out with friends and listening to music.
Why do you want to be a volunteer?
Lukas: I want to be a volunteer to help people by doing something meaningful. Furthermore, I think it will be a rewarding experience for myself working in a different country with people from a different culture. I look forward to meeting interesting new people.
Hanna: I have always been interested in volunteer work and I´m very curious to experience how it actually is.
I think we live a very privileged life in Germany and I would like to „give something back“. I hope to be even more grateful for the life that I live back here.
Can you tell me more about the organization you will be volunteering with and how you organised your stay abroad?
Lukas: We will be volunteering with ‘Volunteers for Peace Vietnam’ in Ho Chi Minh City. I found out about this organization together with my sister on the website of Volunteer World. We have known Pascal, one of the Co-founders, for a long time, so we got in contact with him and received information about the organization.
Hanna: Pascal and Volunteer World helped me to get in contact with the director of the organization and from there on we had email contact and everything went really well and uncomplicated.
Lukas: We are very excited to go to Vietnam and have decided that we will be in Ho Chi Minh City for a few days before the volunteer job starts. So we have a chance to get accustomed to the new climate and country and experience the city. During the volunteer placement, we will be staying in the organisation’s house and afterwards we plan to travel Vietnam for a few weeks to see more of the country.
That sounds like an amazing trip. But what interested you about this volunteer position in the first place?
Lukas: Besides the fact that I wanted to go to Southeast Asia, I find it very interesting, that my volunteer position allows me to work with disabled children. During my community service I worked with disabled people, which was a very enriching experience for me.
Hanna: I liked the idea of going to Vietnam and the location in Saigon seemed to be just perfect. I choose to work with kids because that is new for me but I imagine it to be fun.
What do you already know about Vietnam, have you been there before?
Lukas: I haven’t been to Vietnam yet, but I know a lot about the country, since one of my best friend’s parents are from Vietnam. From them I know many things about the Vietnamese culture, traditions and food. He travelled Vietnam last year and told me a lot of great things about the county and its people.
Hanna: To be honest I don`t know that much about the country. I have been to Thailand and I imagine it to be a bit similar at least the climate.
I´m very excited to see the country and find out about the culture.
Do you have any concerns about your stay abroad?
Lukas: Of course I am a bit nervous and excited about my stay abroad, but mainly in a positive way. I have lived abroad before and also travel a lot, so I don’t have many concerns.
Hanna: No, not really. My only concerns are about diseases. But I think we will be fine. Hopefully.
What are you most excited about?
Hanna: Both of us are most excited about meeting new people. Whether this are the disabled children we will work with, volunteers, people from the organization or other inhabitants. Of course we are also excited about the beautiful landscape and culture of Vietnam.
I’m sure that with all the challenges we will face during our stay, we will learn a lot, make new experiences and new friends.
Have you had any volunteering experience in the past?
Lukas: Unfortunately neither of us has had the chance to gain volunteering experience yet, but I am really looking forward to my stay in Vietnam. Its never to late to start.
Together you will write a new blog for the Volunteer World community to keep us up to date about your stay in Vietnam. Tell us a bit about what we can expect from your blog. What will you write about?
Lukas: I haven’t decided what I will be writing about, but I am sure that there will be a lot of aspects in my volunteering worth writing about. I will try to give a good impression of my position and daily life in Vietnam, so that more people get interested in volunteer work as well.
Hanna: I`m going to write about the daily challenges and experiences and hopefully about great people, about the project and the kids and what they think and feel. I`m really looking forward to that.