Preparing to volunteer overseas! Part 1

on 6-11-2013 in Daily, Volunteering

hunger gamesI’ve been asked about the selection process and some of the preparations that I needed to take in regards to overseas volunteering.  I hope this series helps answer some of your questions.

In my world, international volunteering has never been included in daily conversation. So this experience is definitely outside of my comfort zone. On top of that, during the selection process – for whatever reason when I thought about volunteering, the scene in the movie ‘The Hunger Games’ came to mind. I don’t relate other than having a slight feeling of anxiety or anxiousness over thoughts of what’s behind the upcoming door. It just happend that I watched the movie around the time I was interviewing. Weird, bizarre, kooky – call it what you like.

The opportunity started with my linkedin profile. The volunteer position was posted, I responded and submitted my application. Soon after I was shortlisted and on my way to Chicago for an interview. The process was a bit surreal. I think this was due to what I considered would be a life changing experience and the associated spontaneity of it all.

I have to say that the interview process was fairly demanding. There were several email exchanges which culminated into a phone interview. After the phone interview was the face to face at an Accenture office in downtown Chicago. The meeting in Chicago took all day and included several other volunteers that were also being evaluated. We did individual interviews, a group panel interview, several group exercises, and finally a brief presentation for the evaluators. Typically in the professional interviews that I have participated in either as the interviewer or interviewee included questions that were mostly about their professional careers.  This was my first interview where my character and personality were what seemed like a major focal point.  My immediate thoughts after the interview were – ‘That was tough.  They aren’t going to pick me.  At least I am able to see Chicago.’

Between the interview and waiting to receive the results was like watching paint dry.  I was worried that after pouring out my soul and offering up myself for volunteer work – that I wouldn’t be selected.  I was actually very relieved when I received the news that I made the cut.

Before completing this interview, I had no idea that volunteer selection would be this demanding. This is of course a good thing! Since there is comfort in knowing that all volunteers experienced the same selection process and were hand picked.

Part 2 soon to come!

~’That Guy’
that eats the last appetizer that everybody else ignores