Reflections by Emily, an India Global Volunteer, on the cumulative positive volunteer impact on students in Chennai.
Before I made the decision to come to Chennai, India, I debated with myself over what my true volunteer impact would be in such a short period of time. I didn’t know if my time and effort volunteering in Chennai would be worth it. But what I decided and eventually learned after working with the students for a few days is that they want to learn fluent English. Their college and future jobs will require English, and for me to lend my help of my native language is priceless. Even if my class gets distracted with the picture books or drawing on the board, I make sure to go up to the students and ask them what they’re drawing or looking at, and we have a conversation in English about relevant topics. This type of interaction will help their conversational English significantly.
One personal connection I think of when analyzing the impact of short-term volunteers is my own experience learning Spanish. I improved my Spanish significantly at a year of school in England where I had several friends from Spanish speaking countries. They’d speak to me in Spanish, and I would hang around them in a group and listen and sometimes jump into the conversation. I felt I had improved my Spanish by hearing and speaking with natives. That applies in India as well. Even though it might be hard to see improvement from children as a short-term volunteer, I know that in the long run, our conversational English help – and the lessons of those who follow – will benefit the students.
Interested in volunteering in Chennai, India?
Visit Global Volunteers’ Volunteer in India website page to learn more about service opportunities in Chennai. Or, chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators. We’re ready to assist you with project descriptions, travel questions, registration guidance and other program details.