Harry Kawanda

International Assistant - The National Volunteer Center


What is your favorite travel memory?

I was a volunteer with the program prior to becoming part of the team at English Opens Doors, and was placed in Punta Arenas, Magallanes (the southern most region of the country) for one semester, and Easter Island for another semester.

That in itself is an unforgettable experience for me. From the beauty of Torres del Paine to one of the most remote islands in the world.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

It's great to hear when our return volunteers say that they'd like to continue their service because they want to make a bigger impact, help the students (and also the community) and how they had such a fantastic experience with the program

It's also nice to hear when they say that the support given by the program is one of the main reasons why they'd like to continue their service.

I know it's not about us (the program) but more about the students, but also nice to hear that we do the right things to support this good cause. Everybody's happy!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Here with the National Volunteer Center, all staff members are ex-volunteers. Being that said, we know how it feels to be in the volunteers' shoes. We know the challenges, we know the rewards, we know the ups, we know the downs.

From there, we all really give our best to make this experience worthwhile, not only for the schools and students but also for the volunteers.

We give support in every possible way and what I really like about it is that we all are very passionate about it. We work hard (and smart, of course) without complaining because we know we're on the right path, doing the right thing, for the right cause. My experience working here wouldn't be the same without this team!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Being passionate about your work in a way that you wouldn't even call it 'work'. You wake up in the morning, knowing that you're going to see your 'friends' instead of 'colleagues'. That's when you know you're doing the right thing.

When the only thing on your mind is how to make this program better and better - for the students, the schools, the host families, the volunteers. It's not a work. It's a calling.