I did it! I spent almost a month volunteering on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Red Cross, during my last summer as a high school student!
Am I crazy? My mom certainly wasn’t happy about waking up early during vacations, but I was truly excited to try something different and help others.
During my time, I stayed in the area of communications and social media at the IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), but also helped in the American Red Cross (all its branches and subgroups are confusing, I know).
In general, people were nice and the atmosphere relaxed and calm. By the end of my internship, I even got a goodbye party for my friends and I ❤
Here are some of the things I learned:
I don’t want to work in an office
Weird thing to learn from this experience, but I was reassured once again that office work is not my favorite type of work. I prefer interactive work, where I do projects, talk to people, debate, exchange opinions all the time and have to be a little bit active.
It is truly an international experience
Since I worked at the office of the IFRC, I met and had to work with people from all around the world. It was interesting to talk to people focusing on specific places on the globe and their jobs, plus learn interesting things about my home continent too 😛
It’s not all hands on and interactive
When I first started, I was expecting to see the immediate impact of my work. However, there is a lot of planning and work that goes behind-the-scenes that you don’t necessarily realize is there unless you become part of it. Not everyone is out there helping kids or vulnerable people, you have to spend a significant amount of time at the office working on other things and helping others indirectly.
You feel part of something bigger
Until now I don’t think I understand the vastness of the Red Cross and all the people and societies that make it up. It certainly is one of the biggest organizations that exists, and its outreach is incredible. Being part of it seems unreal and cool at the same time.
Is there an organization you would like to work with?