My experiences with Global Volunteers in Europe, Asia, and Central America have provided me with an awareness of a variety of cultures and beliefs and also the knowledge that all human beings possess similarities in their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The memories I have obtained have enriched my life and perspectives. To give a sense of some of the events that remain in my mind and heart I will mention three:
My first Global Volunteers adventure in service was in Poland where in the morning I worked at a train station practicing conversational English with beginners wanting to expand a tourist industry; we went over basic questions such as “What time does the train leave?” and “How much does a ticket cost?” In the afternoon I went to a car factory with advanced students who of course knew their native Polish but also Russian, German, and English and just wanted to converse with a native English speaker about a number of subjects including politics, economics, and jokes.
A second Global Volunteers experience was in China with Chinese teachers of English who could read and write but had difficulty speaking. One woman said nothing
the first week fearful of making a mistake; I tried something in Chinese and they all laughed, giving me the opportunity to point out that we all make mistakes all the time. She commenced speaking and before the course ended she gave a talk before a full auditorium about what her grandmother said when she was born, which was “Too bad she’s a girl!” Today, at age 95, her grandmother believes girls should have the same
opportunities as boys, demonstrating one is never too old to change. Loud applause at her conclusion, mine perhaps the loudest. I don’t always have such a success story.
A third experience as a Global Volunteer was in the Ukraine where I went in different university classes, one where they were studying nuclear physics. I told them I knew
nothing about their subject but I could talk to them about literature. They said that was okay. They had read all the great Russian writers-Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Pushkin-when they were 14, in Russian of course. Now they were 18 and up and we could talk about some of the stories in English. I realized I was with a select group but it made me
question their educational system versus ours.
John Doty – 14 Time Volunteer