Trying to make a difference
My ICS journey began after several months of hunting for things to do during my year abroad. As a student of Spanish and History at the University of Edinburgh, I was required to spend my third year in a Spanish-speaking country. I knew that I didn't really want to spend my entire year at another university writing the same sort of essays I'd been writing for years; I wanted to experience the world and try to make a difference. And that's exactly what I found with ICS.
Through it, I found the Progressio ICS Empower programme which would enable me to go to Peru and volunteer with some of world's poorest communities – something I had never even dreamed that I would be able to do before, since South America was pretty far out of my student price range.
Work, rest and play: schoolchildren in Peru. Picture: mirmurr.blogspot.com/Flickr
The contribution element of ICS is a really important part of the programme as it gives people opportunities that they would never otherwise have the chance to participate in. I jumped at the opportunity and applied nearly a whole year before the start date of my chosen programme! I had already done some volunteering with other organisations and had seen the difference that volunteering can make to people's lives, so I knew that working in international development was something that I really wanted to experience.
After finding out more about the programme and meeting other volunteers at my interview, I was even more excited to take part. I will be working with children's organisations aiming to improve their education, which, to me, is one the most important foundations for development. Something I really like about the programme is how we will be working specifically towards some of the Millennium Development Goals – in my case, the goal of universal primary education - which makes me feel like I am taking part in something much greater than simply the project I will be working on.
The months since I found out that I had been given a place on my chosen ICS programme have flown by and I am now feeling fully prepared and seriously excited to be starting my project in just a couple of weeks!