Wow, how did that happen - only one week of my placement left! I leave Galle 1 week today for 4 weeks of holiday (hurrah).
A few people have asked me recently if I've enjoyed my time here and if I'd recommend volunteering to other people. Here's what I've said (it's all very cliched, I warn you now!)
I've had an amazing time and feel really privileged to have had the chance to spend time living and working in such a beautiful country, meeting some fabulous people and generally getting so much out of experiencing a different culture first-hand.
The work side of things has been more difficult than I expected, mainly in terms of not having enough work to fill a normal working week for me - that's been really frustrating and although some of it has been about our particular NGO, some of it is just the way things are here. Although I've managed to do other things to fill my time and have ended up adjusting quite a bit to the way/pace of life, it's been a big lesson for me as I think about whether I'd like to do similar work in the future.
Having said that, the very fact of working in a 'real' organisation is a great insight into life here that you would never get from other types of volunteering or travelling - and that I'm glad of. And I've definitely developed my skills by being here - maybe not the ones I expected to, but still!
The non-work side of things has been absolutely fantastic and it's been wonderful to get to know the country in a way that wouldn't be possible without being here for a while. I'm painfully aware of how lucky I am, in many ways, to be white, British and educated. The way in which people live their lives here is very humbling at points although there are definitely advantages to the UK that I hadn't appreciated fully before (like a free press!)
So, would I recommend doing this to someone else? Definitely. But I would caution against having unrealistic expectations and I would stress that you have to come with an open mind, be as flexible as you can be, and make the most of the opportunity to learn as much as you can about other people and yourself.
I told you it was cliche-ridden!!
Love to all