The guidance from IVHQ was incredibly good. I had never undertaken a long and distant journey before this international volunteering experience, which caused some stress in terms of arranging a passport, visa, insurance, and so on. However, I could turn to the organization with all my questions, and I received prompt responses. This made the preparation process very smooth, significantly enhancing the overall experience. The itinerary and checklist available on the IVHQ website were also valuable resources, providing excellent guidance.
The local team in Tanzania provided us with excellent support. They gave us necessary explanations, guided us for as long as we needed, and checked in on our well-being at regular intervals. They were always in good spirits and created a warm atmosphere, making me feel at home.
I love that the local mothers prepare traditional dishes for us. It enhances the overall experience, and despite being different from Western cuisine, I enjoyed most of the meals. They put in a tremendous effort for the volunteers.
It is not easy to make a contribution. On the one hand, there is the language barrier, and on the other hand, it takes some time to gain the trust of the healthcare professionals in the hospital. However, this improved after some time. I feel that I made a meaningful contribution and this gave me a sense of fulfilment.
Through this experience, I have gained various skills on a personal level, such as increased independence, appreciation, the ability to put things into perspective, and much more. On a professional level, I have learned to think critically and clinically. It was an incredible experience for which I am very grateful. I was regularly confronted with poverty and other distressing situations, which has increased my appreciation and gratitude for my home. I have immense respect for the people and culture in Tanzania; it is an incredibly beautiful country. To those who are hesitant about doing this, I would say, "just do it." It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that contributes to your personal growth.