“I’ve been with VolTra for over 7 years - the longest serving employee so far! We create voluntary service journeys abroad and in Hong Kong. My role involves organising overseas projects and also curating virtual programmes to encourage participants to step outside of their comfort zone and engage with the community. I still remember my first solo trip abroad with VolTra as a first year university student. I travelled with a group of students from all over the world to Korea on a volunteering trip. That experience was truly life changing. Not only was I exposed to people from so many different cultures, the trip opened my eyes to how big the world is and just how much there is to see - and that’s when I caught the travelling bug! Through VolTra’s service projects, we aim to inspire young people to solve global and local problems by seeing things from different perspectives; and this is where I experienced the value of compassion. Sometimes when we’re in a foreign environment we see issues that may seem like ‘problems’ for us, but which are not necessarily issues for the local community. True compassion is being able to see from the eyes of the people you are trying to help what the problem actually is for them, and providing valuable support through those lenses.”
“After graduation, I travelled around Europe for a month to visit the friends I made on my first volunteer trip; to Austra, Germany, the Czech Republic...I stayed with a local family at the foothills of the Alps and really immersed myself in the local culture. Then I lived in France for a while and worked as an au pair, without speaking a word of French back then! This taste of authentically experiencing other cultures planted a seed for me, and when the VolTra opportunity came up it just seemed like the perfect fit. I’m an explorer, a spontaneous traveller and I love to connect with new people. I also knew that I wanted to do something active, hands on and meaningful. At VolTra, we always encourage our participants to focus on three things: curiosity, empathy, change. You need to have the openness to learn and the empathy to understand, before making positive change. The most satisfying part of my work is seeing the participants grow through our programmes. These experiences broaden their horizons and enable them to see the endless possibilities to learn, connect and engage through travelling. I experienced just how wonderful that is, which is why I’m so passionate about sharing it with others!”
「大學畢業之後，我去咗歐洲旅行一個月, 探我第一次義遊認識嘅朋友，去過奧地利、德國、捷克……我同一個本地家庭住喺阿爾卑斯山嘅山腳，完全投入喺當地文化入面。之後我以互惠生嘅身份喺法國住咗一段時間，嗰時一句法文都唔識講㗎 ！我心入面一直記掛住呢啲貼近當地文化嘅體驗，所以當我見到義遊請人，我就知道呢個崗位會好適合我。我係一個鍾意探險嘅人，又鍾意認識新朋友。我亦都想做一啲活躍、實幹同埋有意義嘅工作。喺義遊呢度，我哋經常鼓勵參加者去發掘三樣嘢：好奇心、同理心同埋求變心。你首先要願意學習，對他人有同理心，先會做到積極嘅改變。工作最有滿足感嘅部份，就係見到參加者因為我哋嘅計劃而有所成長。呢啲經歷可以擴闊佢哋嘅眼界，透過旅行，令佢哋發現有無窮無盡嘅可能性去學習、認識同埋同其他人交流。我自己親身經歷過有幾正，所以好想將呢樣嘢同其他人分享！」
“ Before the pandemic, my job would allow me to travel every couple of months but now a lot of VolTra activities are based in Hong Kong. Back then, I would work closely with local partners to create the best experiences and I made such great friends over the years in different corners of the world. It can be quite emotionally taxing as we would build close bonds over a few weeks but there would always be the inevitable goodbyes. Through these interactions, I’ve learned that there is always a way to engage and communicate with others despite language barriers - my recipe is a big smile, body language and Google Translate. I became such good friends with one of the local partners in Cambodia that she invited me to be her bridesmaid at her wedding! When I’m not travelling, I’m actually a bit of a homebody and like to relax at home but I also enjoy hiking, camping, reading and watching films. I’ve also recently made a pledge to myself to learn a new skill every month - last month it was thangka painting, this month - flower arranging. Living a colourful life is all about having new experiences!”
「喺疫情之前，我每隔幾個月就要去外地出差, 不過依家義遊嘅活動都係本地為主。以前我要同當地嘅合作夥伴一齊策劃最好嘅體驗俾參加者，所以咁多年來，我喺世界唔同角落都識咗好多好朋友。有時都幾難受㗎，因為我哋會喺短短幾星期建立咗好深刻嘅感情，但最終都係要同對方講再見。透過呢啲合作，我發現就算大家語言不通都好，總會有方法可以同對方交流同埋溝通。我自己嘅配方就會係一個大大嘅笑容、身體語言同埋Google翻譯。有一個柬埔寨嘅合作夥伴同我成為咗好朋友，佢甚至搵我做佢婚禮嘅伴娘添呀！當我唔係去緊旅行嘅時候，我其實有啲宅，鍾意喺屋企休息，不過我都鍾意行吓山、露營、睇書同埋睇電影㗎。我最近同自己有個約定，要每個月學習一樣新嘅技能，上個月學咗畫唐卡畫，今個月會學插花。 一個多姿多彩嘅人生就係要不斷有新嘅體驗嘛！」
Want to know more about VolTra ?
Check out our field trip report and learn more about the organisation and how you can help