Overdue Update

A slightly overdue update; thanks to a really generous donation from the Canterbury Rotary Club’s Millennium Scholarship Fund I have reached my ICS fundraising target! In the last few weeks I have also started all my vaccinations (my poor arms… they’re all bruised and feeling a little like pin cushions now) and later on today I am making my way to Wellingborough – don’t worry, I had to Google it too…. – for my pre-placement training weekend. I will finally get to meet the people I will be travelling to Sierra Leone with alongside volunteers going to Senegal!

Honestly, I’m a little nervous. Travelling on my own to somewhere I have never been; meeting loads of new people in such a short space of time. It’s going to be a little hard for me but I’m sure it will  be worth it from what I’ve heard from other volunteers. I’ll let you know how it all went when I get back!

In other news, I am now fully into my exams. This afternoon I reach my half way point which is both a relief and a scare. So far I would say they have been going okay, I just hope that I’ve put enough work in across the year and intensely over the last few weeks to get the grades that I want. I’ll just cross my fingers and pray for the best; it normally works okay.

Aside from the big stresses, life is still very busy! It’s awards season around the university and one of my societies has been nominated for loads of things! Our president and fundraising officer are off to Nottingham today for a national award ceremony that we were nominated for; on Wednesday is the Kent Union awards where we’ve been nominated for another 3 awards and the university RAG awards are coming up too – again we’ve been nominated! Obviously I am very proud of all the work that we have put in as a committee this year to run the society, fundraisers and projects but it is just so busy!!

Then to top it off I’ve got people with birthday bashes going on, the Dicken’s festival is coming up and the university concert band have our summer concert soon too… If I make it to the end of term I’ll certainly deserve the few days break before jetting off to do (hopefully) amazing work in Sierra Leone. I think I’ll just stick to surviving each day as it comes….

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And My Destination Is….

Yesterday I got a very exciting email telling me where I have been provisionally placed for the ICS programme…. With my partner charity, in June, I will be going to…. Sierra Leone! Flag_of_Sierra_Leone.svg

To be honest, before looking it up on Google yesterday I would have been hard pressed to tell you that it was in Africa… But after a quick googling, I found out that whilst the official language is actually English, there are loads of languages spoken there. As a country, it is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant across the planet, which is amazing. It is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world but is still one of the poorest. The average life expectancy is less than 60 for both men and women. 70% of the population lives in poverty.

Over the course of my journey with ICS, I expect to learn an awful lot about this wildly different country and culture – one of the reasons I joined the programme in the first place. In my opinion, we as people can’t learn to work together and won’t be able to make progress in society if we can’t be tolerant and open to other peoples’ ideas. And really, I find it fascinating to see how others live their lives. I know I am lucky here in the UK. It can be easy to forget. I hope that this amazing experience will open my eyes to the kind of thing that we tend to ignore and push me even further along the path to becoming an international citizen of the world.