Hannah Gaunt, Final year student in Sports Coaching, Sheffield Hallam University
“I learnt how to be innovative and my confidence grew so much because of this experience. I believe it makes me stand out and along with my other school experience contributed to succeeding in gaining a teach
er training year.
I have been studying sport since college and will continue my studies when I graduate to train to be a teacher. I have volunteered at many events, including sports days, coaching and giving presentations on my time in Tanzania.
I spent 2 months in Tanzania and I got this opportunity through the University. It was a formal application process and I was selected to go. I was a sports coach to an under 16’s girls’ football team, a teacher in colleges and schools and helped in the community with HIV awareness.
My most memorable experience was turning up to teach at a college. We were never told how many people would be there or what we would be doing until the day. When we arrived and got to class there were 98 students which 4 of us had to teach. They didn’t speak much English and didn’t always want to input so it was very challenging. I learnt how to be innovative and my confidence grew so much because of this experience. The hardest thing for me was the realisation of how much I take for granted. Some of the children I worked with had very little but were still the happiest children I have ever taught or come across. The experience taught me to be thankful for everything I have and to respect and value people a lot more.
The best thing about the experience was seeing the children’s faces every day when we turned up to coach or at school. They were always so happy to see you and never wanted us to leave. The worst thing about the experience was probably being away from my family although at the time I wanted to stay longer and wouldn’t change one minute of the trip.
The experience has given me so much confidence and passion in what I do and what I want to achieve. I learnt how to live in a completely different culture for 2 months and adapted to their way of living. I gathered so many new idea about running lessons, games and how to communicate effectively when you are faced with challenges such as language barrier.
I feel more motivated to achieve the things I want to achieve and I strongly believe that this experience has made me more employable as I have developed a range of skills that are essential in teaching jobs. I believe that this experience makes me stand out and along with my other school experience contributed to succeeding in gaining a teacher training year.
If I were to give advice to anyone who was planning to volunteer, I would say to do as much as you can while you are out there in order to gain the most from the experience. If you go in half-heartedly then you will not develop as a person and learn new skills.”