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Jim’s 10 commandments for international volunteers


Jim is a veteran volunteer, having spent time in Namibia and Honduras working with HIV/AIDS and child nutrition issues respectively. He first volunteered with OMP for the first time around 10 years ago, and liked it so much that he's been back every summer since, and has now settled here permanently!

Here are his ten commandments, and they are well worth heeding:

  1. Do not look for a “home away from home,” but instead look for the other, the different, the unusual. Don’t look to find things as you have left them at home, for you have left home to find them different!
  2. Treat your hosts with respect. You’re a guest in every land that you visit, and those who treat their hosts with respect will be treated with respect in return.
  3. Do not judge the people of a country by the person with whom you have had a bad experience.
  4. Banish all stereotypes from your mind, for they are rarely true.
  5. Take only half the clothes you think you will need.
  6. Eat and sleep regularly and in sufficient quantity, for therein lays the path to a healthy journey.
  7. Do not worry, neither must you grumble. Worry or grumbling do not bring pleasure. Truly, few things are fatal.
  8. Do not make yourself too obviously Western. When in Rome (or Bangkok or Nong Khai or wherever you find yourself), you must do as the Romans (or Thais) do. Do not look for special privileges.
  9. As a member of a group (OpenmindProjects, teachers, volunteers, park staff), act at all times in ways that make that group merry. You must therefore be always tolerant, considerate, and on time.
  10. Practice good global citizenship, with a genuine desire to learn from all your experiences in another culture.

Blog posted from Prajak Sillapakhom Alley, Nai Mueang, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand View larger map

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