Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Latest developments

In my last blog post two weeks ago, I outlined my plan to raise funds for a trip to Tanzania this summer to teach children English with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS). Ideally, I would have gone to my native homeland of Kenya but CCS does not have a program in that country, despite the fact that the founder Steve Rosenthal apparently had the idea to create CCS after he came from a trip to Kenya in 1995. Anyway, the other two options in Africa are Tanzania and South Africa and I chose  to go teach in Tanzania since it is closer to home for me, although I have not been "home" in a while. The plan for now is to start graduate school in the fall and so I have a few months to raise enough money to go on a volunteer trip and then go on said trip. At this point, at least I will have a solid base of volunteer experience on which to build further experience if or when I incur more debt from my graduate education. So this trip is really a life experiment to see if I fit the volunteer lifestyle and if I can do it long-term after next summer and after graduate school. I believe I can do as much good, if not more, as a volunteer in a needy area than in an American classroom or office where I would work just to make enough to last until the next paycheck. On that note, I have moved ahead in my job search with the aim of making enough to pay for myCCS program fees for this summer and I am happy to say I have made progress. Last week a received a call from I job I had applied to because they thought the background information in my resume matched their qualifications, and they called me in for an interview last Friday. There I met Christine and she interviewed me and said to come back this Friday for a whole work day to see how I fit into the job. And so I have nothing more to report for now except that I took the Jeopardy online test but do not think I did very well; I left a bunch of questions blank, and am really not holding my breath for a call to an audition. Meanwhile,  I have posted a YouTube video of what I want to do until I have another update:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Summer plans

I have been sitting at home and trying to find a job or even a volunteer stint for the past almost nine months without much success. My friends and family have offered numerous suggestions for possible plans of action for me and I have tried some of their ideas, but my fortunes have hardly changed and I am still jobless and mildly daunted. However, I recently found a volunteer program that places people in other countries where they work in native communities that do not have many resources, and the volunteers contribute their time and skills to improve those communities. The program is called Cross-Cultural Solutions and it started in 1995 and has locations in four continents that serve local communities. My goal is to volunteer with them to teach English in Africa over the summer until I start graduate school back here in Jersey. As helpful as everyone has tried to be over the past nine months, I cannot help but observe that in the time it takes to create a whole human life, my own life is as stagnant as it was more than four years ago when I had no idea what I was going to do after I graduate college. Suffice it to say I do not think the likelihood my life will go anywhere is very high unless I do something different than anything else I or anyone else has attempted for me. Job applications and resumes can only take me so far and thus far they have not helped change my employment situation in the least. Perhaps a volunteer stint might not land me a job, either, but at least I am doing something that puts me out in the world more than a constant job search can and I really hope I can go.
Before I can fly abroad, there is a fee I have to pay CCS to cover my expenses while I'm volunteering and so the native community does not have to pay for my room and board. One must wonder how I expect to pay my way there without a single job to provide me income and no other source of revenue. Right now there are several options open to me and I plan to try all of them until I have run out of options and have to quit altogether. The first and probably the most improbable choice is to take the test and go to the audition to be on the television show Jeopardy. I have tried this option before, even before I knew about Cross-Cultural Solutions and just wanted to earn a little cash during my high school and college years. In those days I took the online tests for the teen tournament and the college tournament respectively and failed both each time. This time I'm going to do the adult online test and hope to do infinitely better than I did in the other two tests and proceed oan audition, which will most likely take place in New York City. From the audition I am hoping against hope that I advance to the actual show and go to Los Angeles to participate in the game. Frankly, I am not sure whether the show provides transportation there and back or whether I have to pay for my own plane fare and hotel room, but right now the important thing is that I just do the test and try to land an audition.
If my plan to win Jeopardy does not succeed, then I have several other options courtesy of the Cross-Cultural Solutions website that I hope will bring in some funds for the trip. There is an idea to hold an event like a party, in which attendees can pay an admission fee of any amount of their choice to go towards the cost of the trip and the plane fare. Another idea is to find individual or corporate sponsors who will match the amount I raise or contribute however much they can. My church once helped a girl in my year go on a mission trip abroad to Scotland and may be willing to do the same for me.  I will update on here and on my other blogs as I come up with more ideas or if I decide to put one or more of these plans into action, and I will also update how much money I have raised as it comes in. The party idea seems very appealing right now! Whether I succeed or not, I'm looking forward to my quest to volunteer abroad and hope others will join me on my journey to raise enough funds to go to Africa. If you wish to receive updates as soon as I post them, feel free to follow me on Blogger.