Hi, my name is Jennifer.
When did you first get involved with DWC?
I first participated in a Developing World Connections trip in 2007 when I went to Cambodia. It was my first introduction to international volunteer work, and I have never looked back since. I enjoyed working with local community members and really felt like we were partnering together to enhance the living conditions of Chamcar Bei.
When did you decide to become a team leader?
After returning home, I decided to become a team leader and was back in Cambodia a short five months after my feet hit Canadian soil. Being able to share this wonderful experience with DWC participants has been one of the most rewarding opportunities. As a team leader, I had the privilege to watch participants adapt to their new environment, form new friendships, and embrace the opportunity to share in development. I became a team leader because I believe every single individual benefits from an international volunteer experience, and helping anyone achieve this is an absolute privilege.
What did you learn from your volunteer experience?
Participating in a Developing World Connections experience allows you to live in a new part of the world, to work hand in hand with its citizens, and to witness firsthand the impact of development. DWC applies an important perspective in that they work with the local communities to design projects rather than imposing projects from the outside. I have learned that my responsibilities as a global citizen do not end at the Canadian borders. By participating in a DWC experience and working with communities all over the world, we learn that we are responsible to every individual no matter their nationality.
How did your volunteer experience help you with your post-secondary education?
I have chosen to study international development at university. Without my time with Developing World Connections and the opportunities for international travel it has opened up to me, I would never have seen the theories I study come to life. In addition to seeing the impacts of international development in action, I have also learned that this is exactly where my heart will always lie. The two countries I have travelled to with DWC, Cambodia and Rwanda, which are both recovering from tremendous hardship and conflict, have led me down an even more direct path. I now plan on pursuing further studies in conflict resolution and human security. From my time in Rwanda and Cambodia, I learned that without peace and human security, development cannot move forward.
Why should someone go on a DWC trip?
As a student, being a Developing World Connections team leader is a great opportunity to travel and learn all while supporting yourself through university. DWC allows you to see the world, work with local community members, and make lifelong friendships. It is impossible to return from a DWC experience without a greater understanding of the world and how we all live together in it.
Jennifer Farquharson studied international development at the University of Victoria and is currently living overseas.