Beth volunteered with Project Trust in Thailand in 2013/14. Since returning to the UK and starting a degree at the University of Liverpool, Beth has remained an active Global Citizen through her involvement with several charitable organisations. Beth will speak about her voluntary work at Project Trust’s Youth and the Global Goals event, taking place in Edinburgh on March 19.

Find out more about Youth and the Global Goals.

Beth during her gap year in Thailand

Beth during her gap year in Thailand

“My desire to explore, experience new things and help others led me to Project Trust. Leaving my family and friends behind at 18 years old was the most courageous and best decision I ever could have made. The year I had volunteering as an English teacher in Thailand was something that has shaped the person I am today and my future path in life; providing me with unforgettable memories that I will forever hold close to my heart.

“In just one 13 hour flight to Thailand, my life had been changed forever. Moving from a small industrial town in Lancashire, to a vibrant, energetic city called Nakhon Sawan was a massive transition for me to make – yet from day one it felt like home. My project was special: teaching children aged 3-18 in the inner-city schools, and also teaching novice monks aged 13-18, was a truly enriching experience. In addition, working closely with a charity called the Students Educational Trust cemented in my mind what I wanted to do in life: humanitarian work.

“This realisation half way through the year only strengthened as my time in Thailand progressed and before I had touched down on English soil I had ideas of what I wanted to achieve at university in terms of charity work. I had decided that I wanted to dedicate time over the next three years to helping the homeless in society, something I had always felt very strongly about.

Beth volunteering in Liverpool

Beth volunteering in Liverpool

“One of the most important lessons I learnt from Thailand was to never say no, an attitude I’ve continued at university. The opportunities I’ve said yes to have been quite varied: from taking up new hobbies like Bhangra dancing, to writing for student magazine The Tab, volunteering for the elderly befriending service Silver Line, leading homelessness charity The Whitechapel Centre and becoming President of the University of Liverpool’s Help the Homeless Society.

“The Help the Homeless Society is a student run society that has a wide range of projects to help the vulnerable people of Liverpool, such as rough sleepers and refugees. We deliver breakfast and clothing three times a week (alongside AMURT UK) to refugees, and take left over sandwiches from the university to homeless shelters. One of our integral aims is to challenge the stigmas attached to the homeless, therefore we provide training from the Whitechapel Centre to our members to educate them about the issue, for example teaching them how best to approach a rough sleeper. We also host guest speakers on topics like addiction and mental health, which are essential when dealing with homelessness.

“Fundraising is a skill any Project Trust Volunteer has to learn to master before they even depart, so I applied this knowledge to the society – we have raised £1,120 from September over two fundraisers for the Whitechapel Centre and the Human Relief Foundation’s Refugee Appeal. My year away taught me that anything is within your capacity if you are determined, passionate and willing. I can honestly say none of my achievements with the Help the Homeless Society would have been possible without my year in Thailand, teaching me what I am capable of and motivating me to live outside of my comfort zone.”