Alumni Spotlight: Kath McGuire


Kath McGuire is an Australian originally who has lived in Cambridge, England for about 12 years. She is passionate about education (both teaching and learning) and loves to travel. She is 36 years old and doesn’t think she’ll ever settle down.

Why did you decide to volunteer with VESL?

I chose VESL because they offered the sorts of projects I was looking for (teaching English for about 3 months staying with a host family) and they were affordable. I was really impressed that VESL run an information and selection day, which is as much about the volunteer choosing VESL as it is about VESL choosing the volunteer. They are a very friendly, relaxed charity and yet they provide a very professional service. I felt very comfortable with the people who run it. Plus, the photos of Sri Lanka on their website looked amazing!

What made this experience unique and special?

The mix of independence and support was fantastic. There was always someone at the end of the phone/email if I needed anything. Yet I was very much able to make the project my own and do what I wanted to do with it. I loved living with host families. I’ve learnt so much about Sri Lankan, Indian and Thai cultures and seen some incredible places.

How has this experience impacted your future?

My volunteering with VESL has completely changed my life. I am much more confident now than I was before. My comfort zone is much bigger (and I didn’t even notice it expanding). I am a better communicator. I am more tolerant of differences. I chose to do a teaching qualification as a result of volunteering with VESL. I’ve changed the direction of my professional life too. I’m now hoping to find a career in international development with a focus on education. VESL has opened my eyes to the world and opened my heart to some truly wonderful people.