Reflections from Bill, 3-time Global Volunteer, on couple volunteering in Portugal.
My wife Karen and I joined a small team of seven Global Volunteers in Beja, Portugal for a 1-week volunteer service experience. This was our first service trip together, but not our first experience with Global Volunteers; I participated alone in a Global Volunteers service trip to Ecuador several years ago, and we both traveled to Cuba with Global Volunteers in 2012 on a people-to-people trip. Traveling and serving as a married couple was a special experience in which we learned new things about each other–even after 40 years of marriage!
In Beja, our mission was to assist school teachers and students (primarily 5th-9th grade) in conversational English. We were placed in different schools, with different teachers, and with slightly different objectives. This allowed us to have unique experiences to share in the evenings and prevented us from “stepping” on each other.
At the same time, the shared community experience enhanced our appreciation of volunteering and provided a deeper understanding of how we each respond to new situations. We enjoyed seeing each other’s engagement with students and teachers, and how our thought processes and problem solving techniques differed. (Karen has a great deal more experience than I do in teaching, and was an asset to me).
Our team was engaging and we talked, laughed, socialized, and enjoyed each other immensely. The comfort of having Karen – my spouse – present as we adjusted to a new environment was important. Overall, we enjoyed our trip, loved Beja, and quickly grew fond of our team. We would be excited to do another trip together!
Take the next step. Volunteer abroad with your partner!
In addition to couple volunteering in Portugal, we also offer opportunities for couples to volunteer in any of our 17 service program locations for one, two or three weeks. This is an opportunity to learn about a new culture and do something meaningful with your better half – all while growing closer. Start here: How to Volunteer Abroad as a Couple. Or, chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators. We’re ready to help you and your significant other take the plunge!