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The Ripple Effects of High School Community Service Reach All the Way Across the Globe

The Ripple Effects of High School Community Service Reach All the Way Across the Globe

This year I’m on a journey traveling from my hometown in New Jersey all the way to Seoul, South Korea, learning about my heritage and origins culture. One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is that I’ve started to gain a whole new perspective on my experiences volunteering back home.

Here are three surprising ways high school volunteering impacted me that I’ve only realized since being abroad:

First, it helped me appreciate the value of community service more deeply. Volunteering at home opened my eyes, but living in a new culture has compounded that impact. I now see even more clearly how acts of service, no matter how small, bind us together as humans.

Second, volunteering equipped me with adaptability. Adjusting to life in Seoul has been a challenge at times since essentially, I didn’t know the language before I got here. But my volunteer work back home, where I constantly encountered new people and situations, prepared me to adapt. I’ve realized how much that flexibility has enabled me to thrive thousands of miles from what I know.

Finally, volunteering shaped me into someone who wants to make a difference globally. I once saw volunteering as merely a local act. But living abroad has shown me how interconnected we all are. I now feel called more than ever to be compassionate and helpful wherever I may be.

So much growth comes from new perspectives. By living in Seoul these few months so far, my eyes have been opened even wider to all that volunteering gave me. I’m grateful for how it’s prepared me to adapt and serve wherever life takes me next. The unexpected gifts of volunteering reach across borders and oceans.

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