Angella is a Youth Reporter who has recently finished her placement volunteering with ICS in Uganda. She shares her experiance of the recruitment process.
Being on the ICS program, like any other job, requires a process. First, there is selection and training and then you are ready to go to work in the field. As a former ICS volunteer, I will explain each the process and my amazing time on the program.
You may have had a lot of interview experience, but I am sure you would still be surprised at the format of ICS. After I was invited to the interview, I started doing a lot of research into volunteering and the ICS programme. The ICS interview process was actually really fun and a great chance to socialise and make good friends.
Those are some of the friends I made at the interview day.
At this point of selection, you have to think out of the box, be creative as also have as much fun as you can! It becomes easier if you think of it as a social event. (relax, breathe, and have fun!)
There are two types of training, the in-country training for Nationals which I call the National’s training and the foundation training or pre-placement training for the International and National volunteers together. Both are fun!
In this training, they lay out the rules, your contract and there are a lot of documents you need to sign. This may sound serious but trust me it is still fun! During the first night of our training, I got to know my counterpart. We shared our expectations about what we had heard about the program. We were able to share any worries and encouraged one another. It was emotional but good as it was a first for most of us.
The foundation training is the centre of it all. Listen, Learn, socialise, eat (so much food), Dance you legs off. That was my experience anyway!
First, you meet strangers from another country and you share your cultures and laugh about some cultural beliefs you both have. For example, when I told the UK volunteer’s about the tooth rat which for their version is a tooth fairy, they were so amused! I will never forget the looks on their faces. They found it fascinating asking to explain how parents even tell that lie….. In return, I would joke and say you never question an African parent… It was funny!
In the foundation training, you get a clear overview of the work you will all be doing together on placement. It is a chance to get clarification on any questions you might have so that you don’t mess up once you are working the field.
At the training, they do not give you much detail about what it will be like in the communities we will be work in. It’s more like a movie trailer of what we can expect.
But what is the fun in giving everything away anyway?
The Placement Itself
During my time on placement, every day was different and I liked the way you never knew what tomorrow would bring. Will today’s session be as successful as the previous day? It’s things like that that had me thinking these are the moments that make life worthwhile.
I had a lot of mixed feelings going into the community, will I nail this or am I getting involved with other people’s business when I shouldn’t be? I chose to believe in myself as an agent of change!
Team of kitimbwa trading centre on community clean up day.
Obviously, there are days in the community where everything might not go as planned and you begin to miss home, but in those moments you need to remember that you are a strong person.
Owen Macgovern is a volunteer whose attitude to the program inspired me the most. His energy was never shattered by people not turning up on an event or disagreeing with him. He never got frustrated when some kids in school did not understand his accent no matter how slow he spoke, it didn’t stop him from being enthusiastic about the sessions he had to run the next day and the day after that. His enthusiasm and passion for what he was doing had my housemates and I inspired to never give up when it got hard
I hope you enjoy your process of joining and being on the ICS program. It was an amazing and life changing experiance!