Meet Jodie! A Philosophy Graduate from London who is just back from a 12 week business volunteering placement in Accra, Ghana, with Challenges Worldwide. After her placement we caught up with Jodie to hear about her ICS experience.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you applied to volunteer with Challenges Worldwide:
Before I came on placement I was in a temporary admin job (3 months), this was just whilst I waited for the right opportunity to come along! Prior to this I was travelling for eight months around South East Asia and Australasia, which I began after I graduated in Philosophy.
I wanted to take part in ICS because I am very keen to make an impact and help improve the economy of those developing countries, and secondly because I felt it would help me gain the experience needed to achieve my career goal. I particularly chose the ISC programme because I felt that it was providing valuable and sustainable support to the communities it was working in. I also felt that I would gain more skills through an ICS programme, skills that would be beneficial to me in my professional life. I’ve essentially had a crash-course in business!
What have you learn from your placement with Challenges?
I have gained an understanding about Ghanaian culture that it is impossible to achieve by simply travelling through a country. By living and working amongst locals I really feel like I understand the culture – the good and the bad! I have also learnt a lot about business and have gained many useful skills that I can take back to the UK. Having had no experience in business at all, being thrown in the deep end was quite a shock but I feel like I have come a long way. One thing that I think I really have learnt from my experience is that it is ok to ask for help. I have relied on my fellow volunteers a lot during my placement and could not have done it without them. I reached out for help with designing and developing a website and accounting system – without this help I would have been very stuck. I think this is a very useful skill (if you can call it a skill) for future life because it is ok to ask for help and its often beneficial for everyone in the long run, sharing ideas and working together is a great way to make progress and I will definitely incorporate this in my everyday life – both professional and personal.
I don’t feel like I have changed significantly from before the programme and now. I have a stronger understanding of another culture which I think helps my understanding of the world and an ability not to take things for granted. As I was saying above, I now am more inclined to reach out for help and ICS most definitely contributed to this.
I think I am definitely more employable now. I now have experience in many aspects of business – marketing, accounting and sales – all of which will increase employability. Equally I think experience working within a different culture indicates good communication skills to future employers.
I have learnt a great deal about international development through my placement. I have investigated the different situations where development can work and how I can play a role in improving the lives of others. I was very passionate about going into the charity sector before my placement; I now wish to focus on international development.
I think the placement helped to cement my goal of attaining a career with charitable aims. My time in Ghana has helped to focus this to international development in particular. It has really helped to open my eyes to the ways in which charitable organisations can work to aid those poorer communities and through this experience I think I have been able to form opinions on the ways I feel are the most effective.
Please provide a personal quote that represents and summarises your volunteer story:
“Laughter, sweat and tears. Friendships for life and a whole lot of memories”
We asked the business owner of Happy Art Academy to say a few words about hosting the volunteers:
“I found Jodie and Francis to be a young and dynamic pair of volunteers devoted to achieving their targets and adding freshness to our business” (Happy Art Academy Owner)