Hi, my name is Nicholas and I just recently completed an eight-week project in Morogoro, Tanzania.
My university allows Social Work students to apply for an international placement in their third or four year and I have always wanted to go overseas to another country and see what it’s like. So when I heard about this opportunity from my school, I totally jumped on the chance and applied.
However, I had to find my own organization to go with and although I contacted some groups, none were able to follow through. It wasn’t until my placement coordinator recommended YCI that I got in touch with them. I hadn’t heard of YCI before and wasn’t sure what they did, but I was running out of options and it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. It turned out that I had made a really good decision as the staff at YCI were really organized and they gave me an experience in Africa that I won’t forget.
Through YCI, I was able to learn a lot about the different ways of life in Tanzania compared to Canada. I had to learn about the different cultural customs and values that people had towards things and each other. I had to make adjustments in my own comfort level towards the changes in living conditions in Tanzania—all the while trying to build meaningful relationships with my students. I also learned a lot about myself—how I work with others, deal with pressure situations, facilitate, plan, and teach classes—and to accept difficult challenges and obstacles in front of me and continue on. These lessons are the things that I believe are some of the important things I have taken with me back to Canada.
However, I’m still learning. In fact, I’m in the YCI office right now to finish the rest of my placement and get a better understanding of how the administrative side of things works. Overall, I think that this experience was great and will help me in my future studies in Social Work. It’s shown me what development work in other countries might be like and has contributed a lot to my own development. There’s a lot that I’ll miss in Tanzania and my YCI experience, and I don’t regret any of it.
-Nicholas Chang, YCI Alumnus, Tanzania 2010. In order to complete his 10-week international Social Work placement, Nicholas spent eight weeks in Tanzania and will be spending an additional two weeks in the YCI office supporting our volunteer programs team.