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Friendships across the Globe

Blog Article: Friendships across the Globe

Lauren and Maja are two close friends from Manchester who both embarked on a life-changing adventure with Project Trust. Separated by thousands of miles, they dedicated a year of their lives to volunteering, one in Asia and the other in Central America. Despite the distance, their friendship has been a support as they have navigated new cultures, faced unique challenges, and made lasting impacts on the communities they have worked in. Join us as they share a little of how their bond has endured across continents.

Lauren: I am in Gracias, Lempira, Honduras. I am teaching at a bi-lingual school in a really beautiful part of the country. Gracias is a decent sized town/city right next to Celaqué National Park (Highest point in Honduras!). I have had different roles during the year and at the moment I am teaching reading and spelling classes to 5th and 6th grade students. I have also been involved with the girls volleyball team and was the ping-pong coach last term 😊

Maja: I have been participating in a cultural immersion programme on Negros Island, Philippines and I’m about to be relocated to a project in Kep, Cambodia to teach English to students aged 3-17.

Did you know that each of you had applied for a year out with Project Trust, and what inspired you to apply?

Lauren: We were in an assembly in year 12 sitting next to each other in a talk from Project Trust. We were both interested in travelling and not enthused about going to University straight away. After the presentation we went up to talk to the speaker and went to another talk the next evening together and were both really set on applying.

Maja: We booked on the same Selection in summer 2019 and travelled up to it together. We both got selected- Loz for Honduras and me for Thailand. We did a big Ceilidh fundraiser together too! But then the plans couldn’t happen because of Covid. I went off to University and got wrapped up in it all and didn’t even think to consider Project Trust as an option as it was so many years away, so I just forgot about it. Then Loz got back in touch with Project Trust which inspired me to do the same and see what options were available and see it through!

How have you kept in touch through the process and has it been nice knowing someone familiar is also going through some of the same new experiences?

Lauren: We’ve kept in touch through online messages and calls. It’s been fun to hear about Maja’s time in a different country, especially because we both thought it wasn’t really going to happen after the pandemic. It’s nice because we had that shared experience on Selection together that we both loved so much. It’s good to talk about our experiences with someone else who understands how Project Trust works and what happens.

Maja: It was really nice to have that shared experience on Selection l and it felt strange going back for Training without Loz (I opted for the shorter programme). It was quite nostalgic and in lots of ways a very different experience doing it alone.

Has there been any situations where you have reached out to each other for support?

Maja: Since I left after Loz on the shorter 8 month programme I definitely reached out a lot in the few weeks leading up to my January departure since she had already experienced all of that in August. It was super helpful to have advice from someone who had experienced all the emotions and preparations involved in such a big change in environment.

Lauren: It’s nice to talk to each other about living in a country with a different culture to the UK for a long period of time because there are definitely  some shared experiences. We also have in each other someone who is part of the Project Trust experience but also a part of life at home. I messaged Maja lots during training and sent her photos of Oban and Coll that brought back nice memories for us both!

How have your experiences differed?

I’ve  had a very unique Project Trust experience as I started out in the Philippines and then was relocated to a project in Cambodia. It has felt a bit tough at times as it felt like I was restarting my experience all over again. In Cambodia it will be my first time teaching English with Project Trust, whereas Loz has been teaching for much longer, so I’m sure I will be asking for lots of guidance in that department!

Volunteer Friends in Asia

How do you think this shared experience will affect you going forward?

Maja: I think we are both forever changed by our experiences and will reminisce together for many years to come. It’s comforting to have each other when we return to Manchester and to be able to support each other in the move back home and in our next steps as adults.

Lauren: I think it’s definitely going to be comforting going home too knowing that Maja has had a similar experience being away for a long time. It’s daunting at the moment the thought of going back to the UK after such a long time getting used to normal life in Honduras. I think Maja and I will always have Project Trust as something we’ve shared together. To have someone I can talk to who understands and will be in Manchester with me is going to be so nice. We are excited to spend time together and hear about each other’s experiences.

Volunteer Friends in Asia

Want to find out more? Visit our Latin America or Asia pages for more information. If you are interested in Volunteering with us you can Apply Here.

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