Global Leadership Curriculum – Post-Program Activities

Activity 4: Learning Before Serving

How It Works

In this engaging video, Daniela Papi tells her story to explain how volunteering can go wrong if it’s not done the right way. We know that even good intentions in service abroad, or in any community, can be ineffective or even cause harm. Daniela inspires the next generation of leaders (you!) to learn, first and foremost, before trying to serve and solve problems.

How You Do It

  • Read the following questions and reflect on both your experience abroad and the video:
    • What do you think Daniela’s most important message is related to volunteering, especially when traveling abroad?
    • Why is it important to learn from cultures and understand systems before trying to help them?
    • What did you learn about the culture you visited that helps you understand the needs in their community? In there more that you wish you could have learned?
    • How can this approach also help you make a positive impact in your own community?

Take Away Points

  • Volunteerism requires thought, planning and intentionality. It should benefit the host culture and community first, and the students or volunteers second.
  • Local communities should be the ones to teach us about their needs for development and capacity for change, whether at home or abroad.
  • We cannot assume we know the best way to help someone without learning about the unique culture, systems, and resources involved.