I saw the subway ad right when I needed it. The travel abroad fair was going to be happening in Toronto and I was searching for an organization to volunteer overseas with.
That weekend, I wandered through the exhibition room alone, filled with uncertainty. I only walked around the expo for an hour, but by the time I left my bag was stuffed with pamphlets and my head was stuffed with information. It was becoming clear that volunteering abroad wasn’t just another harebrained fantasy (of which, trust me, I have a lot)— it was going to become a reality. Later that day, I sorted through the brochures and settled on a green and blue one. The rest is history—I submitted my application and in the summer of 2006 volunteered with YCI.
But the story doesn’t end there. Like many volunteers returning home, I wanted to remain engaged. So when there was a call-out for volunteers, I jumped at the opportunity to represent YCI at that year’s fair. After all, I figured that there was really no point in attending as just a spectator. I had already travelled overseas and as a journalism student, the networking opportunities would be limited—or so I thought. But that’s the weekend I met the good folks at Verge Magazine.
Five years later and that connection led to my current position as Verge Magazine’s Promotions Manager. But it gets better. Because what am I promoting exactly? The 2011 Go Global Expos—the same kind of event that sparked my career in international development, allowed me the opportunity to volunteer in Vanuatu and to work in Guyana and the Dominican Republic, and led to my current contract.
Needless to say, I truly believe that just one hour of anyone’s life can change a career path.
Want to build your own connections, start a career or explore opportunities to work, study or volunteer overseas? Here’s how you can do it:
Get Ready to Go Global!
Cost: FREE! Pre-register online for the expo and receive a FREE digital subscription to Verge Magazine.
For more information, please visit www.letsgoglobal.ca.
-Jessica Lockhart has been a long-time member of the YCI family. In addition to being a YCI alumna (Vanuatu, 2006), Jessica worked in the Toronto office as a member of the Volunteer and International Programs Teams for more than two years. In addition to working as a freelance writer (www.jesslockhart.com), Jess blogs about her travel adventures (paid, volunteer and otherwise) at Go A Little Further.