We Got Accepted!
The subject line of the email said it all. Dave opened the note first and I immediately grabbed my phone to check my email. We had been accepted into the Volunteer Corp program with American Jewish World Service. We had two weeks to decide if we wanted to commit to volunteering for a minimum of 12 weeks in either Thailand or Cambodia.
Neither of us has been to Southeast Asia before – and to be honest – it wasn’t the first place on our list to visit when we started our itinerary planning. Our first question was, “Where is Thailand and Cambodia?”
We grabbed a few Lonely Planet books and started reading. What we found about the countries, the people and the food had us more intrigued. SE Asia is on almost every RTW trip itinerary I had seen so I knew it was an affordable place to spend some time.
When we received the initial email about the volunteer program, there was no turning back. We were going to Thailand or Cambodia. It required some serious map time to wrap our heads around our potential home for three months.
Last week we completed our commitment documents which include a cover letter detailing our experiences and interests along with a short bio, head shot and a signed commitment statement. We now wait for the matching process to begin. It’s likely that Dave and I will be placed with different NGOs, but in the same general location so that we can live together. The work we will do is based on our professional skills and the needs of the NGOs. Some sample assignments are listed on AJWS’s site. We’re really excited to find out where we’re placed and what type of organization we’ll be working with. It feels like the right way for us to start our big trip.
We are responsible for our living expenses while we are there, but AJWS does pay for a round trip ticket to our location. Both will be a great benefit for our travel budget. The living expenses from past participants have been very low so our money will go far here. Australia, New Zealand, Scandanavia and France won’t feel like such a hit to our overall budget anymore.
Orientation for our program begins on January 27 in Thailand and we will be committing through the end of April at minimum. We can now actually start to plan out our itinerary, but it continues to be an overwhelming task!
More to come when we find out our assignment. I won’t be able to talk directly about our organizations or the staff, but will be able to provide general information about our assignments and locations.