Jordan Carter, one of the 48 participants of the current ICS cohort is close to the end of his stay as a UK volunteer in Lomé, Togo. This week is to finalise reports and participate in the final evaluation workshop before departure. After three months of volunteer work in Togo, Jordan is very proud to be part of this programme and would like to share his experience with us. Please have a look of his story as follows
“My name is Jordan Carter, I am 19 years old and I am a UK volunteer from Y Care International. I finished my A-levels last summer and decided to take a GAP year before going to university this year. I wanted to travel but also help others too, so International Citizen Services was a perfect opportunity for me. I have been a volunteer as part of the ICS programme in Lome for the past 3 months. Having thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of my experience here, I would say that, personally I have developed in many different ways from the programme. Working with my binôme Rose was extremely difficult to begin with, having the challenge of cultural as well as language barriers to cross. This took a lot of patience and time too as her English wasn’t fluent and neither was my French fluent either. Over the 3 months we have greatly improved these difficulties as our communication and language skills have developed with one-another. From initially not being able to have a full conversation at the beginning, to now being able to plan and teach full English lessons together- we’ve come a long way!
Another way I would say that I have developed during ICS is in my own confidence, particularly in talking in-front of lots of people. I remember my first ever lesson, walking into a classroom, feeling terrified, seeing 150 people waiting for me (when I was expecting around 30 students). The lesson went well and I realised that things could only become easier and get better. In hindsight-being thrown into the deep-end was definitely good for me”.
The last thing I would say about the ICS programme is that the cultural exposure has been great for me; being able to experience life here first-hand with a Togolese family has been amazing. It has left me with a real insight into the local foods, languages and customs. I particularly love a food here that we call ‘Puff-Puff or Beignet’ a local doughnut type snack, which has fast become many of the UK’s favourite.
All in all, despite all of the great experiences here, I know that I will definitely miss the people the most-especially my host family, who I have grown so close to. It has been so good seeing how I and the other volunteers around me have developed and co-hanged throughout the programme.
ICS has definitely been an invaluable experience for me and I know that I’ll take away these memories forever.