Alumni Spotlight: Zohar Nigri

Zohar is a 20 year-old girl living in Israel.

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Why did you choose this program?

I’ve always loved kids, and I felt I had a good connection with them. I’ve also always loved traveling and experiencing different cultures.

Two years ago, I had the idea of volunteering. However, due to personal reasons, I couldn’t make it happen back then, but I knew I will do it once I could. And that’s what happened the minute it was possible; I booked everything, and went a few months later.

It was the best experience of my life as I gained so much for myself in so many levels. I learned how to manage myself better, or in a more social level, I learned how to find similarities with other people. Of course, the kids brought so much light to my life; they showed me what true happiness is. I got really close to them, and they will always have a place in my heart forever. This was absolutely a life-changing experience !

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They provided everything that had to do with the program and accommodation. Before you leave, they give you a very helpful pre-departure booklet that covers up most things you can think of in the matter of logistics. They assist you with transport from the airport to where you will be staying. They also give you an orientation of the place and the program. Everything that isn’t directly related to the program such as traveling, sight-seeing, day trips, etc. is on you. But they will definitely give you a hand in anything you will need.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open-minded. Things won’t always be as expected or as planned, and if you would think about it negatively, you will miss out on amazing things. You are going to meet a lot of people.

Don’t be shy. Give yourself the chance to do something crazy. Be in the moment.

A lot of things from your daily life can disturb you don’t let it knock you down.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You wake up every day at 7, have breakfast with all the other volunteers, and then attend to your project. Some go to the project site by car; some others walk their way. You either go to a primary school or a kindergarten. You help the teachers; you play with the kids. At 12 noon or 2PM, you go back to the hostel, and you’re free to go to the beach, hike, or just chill out. Weekends are completely free for you to do whatever you want. You can go on a trip, go partying, or just have a relaxing weekend .

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think the biggest fear for me was to not feel comfortable with the people around me. However, the minute I got there, I was welcomed with open arms, and it helped me feel less anxious. Don’t worry. You just need to let yourself be open, and embrace the people around you.

Do you want to go on the same program again?

Because I had so much fun, I actually decided to go again! The last time I went, I remember being so scared to go for a long period of time so I thought staying for two months is more than enough. However, the minute I got there, I realized that it’s really not enough. If you have the time and opportunity, don’t limit yourself. Go for as long as you want; you can always change your mind if it doesn’t seem right.