Seb from Spain volunteering with Fundacja CAT in Poland
Studying is boring, learning is fun
Since I can remember I’ve been told that the more I know and the more I study the better. History, geography, maths, etc. It didn’t matter which subject, the whole idea was to accumulate knowledge and then pour it into the exam. That’s how many of us understand learning. Sad, isn’t it? We are living the XXI century with an education system of the XIX century.
Nevertheless, there is hope. It was thanks to the Scout Movement that I realised there is much more than classrooms and books. In your case it might have been sports, social movement or even your uncle. The numbers of possibilities of different ways of learning are endless.
Someone once said: “a brain open to new ideas never goes back to its original size”. Have you ever had one of those moments when suddenly something click everything is clear? Today, I want to talk about that. Volunteering goes beyond its definition providing all the participants with benefits never imagined; learning is one of them.
It is when one starts investigating on its own when true learning comes to light. And I’m not just referring to knowledge of the outside world, but also of the inner self. This is how volunteering influenced me.
Imagine you need to create a workshop about recycling but you have no idea what or how to do it, where would you start? Probably in the beginning, “what is recycling?” and most likely from that point on, the paths you may take are infinite. You could do a plastic recycling workshop because you have too many bottles or you could create bags out of old clothes. Throughout the process of searching you realised that Pinterest is quite useful or that having an urban garden is easier than you though. Additionally, you could also speak about the plastic patch in the middle of the ocean or how fast fashion is leading to deforestation and climate change. By the end of the process, not only do you have the workshop ready but also have extended your knowledge about current issues. And the best thing is, you have learnt without even realised it. What’s more, maybe next time you go shopping you use a recycled bag or decide to buy the sustainable product.
Equally important is the perception and knowledge of ourselves. Taking part in different activities and dealing and living with other cultures will change you in ways you cannot even imagine. Volunteering is one of the doors to the secret path that is our soul. At this point I’m not just refereeing to coaching or active activities related to this topic but to the passive income that we received through daily activities. Diversity is a treasure and those who experienced it become richer.
For instance, I’ve never understood why foreigners when they go to Spain love to sit under the sun. Until I came to Poland and spent the whole winter with minus fifteen degrees, then I realised how lucky Spanish people are. Obviously I could also mention how stereotypes disappear the more you know a culture or the beauty of celebrating foreign traditions such as Georgian Christmas or a fancy French dinner. Even though it might sound selfish, the more you know about others the more you know yourself and, since knowing yourself is a lifelong process, the best you can do is keep learning.
Finally I would like to finish with a metaphor; imagine your life as a library. As in libraries, there are multiple sections and themes. The libraries of those who don’t explore and learn remain empty, with little amount of books, barely covering a few sections. However, those who are curious, those who are hungry of knowledge have their libraries full and can go back to their books not only for professional matters but also for memories. Now ask yourself, how do you want your library to be?