Alumni Spotlight: John Griffith


John T. Griffith, Sep-Dec 2008. I spent 6 years in the Air Force. I am from the Boston suburbs, studied engineering at Northeastern University and worked at a handful of companies before changing my career to follow my passion. I am now a personal coach and yoga instructor and give people the tools to transform their lives.

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Youth International?

Because rather than stay in just one area of Asia, they travelled all over and the Youth International program spanned across different countries and many cities. I also wanted to go to the meditation retreat in India. I loved the element of home-stays and really being embedded in the culture, rather than simply staying in hostels.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

We did a lot of teaching English to children, which was really fun because we could play games with them. We also built walls and structures and gardened.

What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

The thing that made it most special was the opportunity to stay in the homes of locals. I met some of the kindest and happiest people in the world. And they didn't speak a word of English! Yet somehow we were able to effectively communicate with gestures and grunts and smiles. I learned so much about what's truly important in life and the experience of being so deep in a culture is something you simply cannot get when travelling alone.

How has this experience impacted your future?

I decided to leave my career as an engineer and start a business following my passion. I am now a personal coach and also teach yoga and meditation. After seeing people who were so happy, and yet had no money or possessions, I realized that money really doesn't make you happy and it's more important to help people and make an impact in the world.