Tys is a high- school graduate from Sydney, Australia. He is no stranger to volunteering or Asia. Back in 2011 he spent a month renovating a village school in the Indian Himalayas. It was there that his desire to volunteer and travel was born, “this trip was a big reason I wanted to do more when I left school” says Tys.
Tys came across GVI and our National Scholarship Program (NSP) via our partner in Australia, Young People Without Borders. He had been planning on taking a year off after high school to explore the world, “I was keen for a new adventure after the rigors of study, whilst helping in what little way I could. When this opportunity came to me I took it with no hesitation, and it turned out to be a program exceeding all expectations for my simply planned gap year.”
Did the NSP offer you opportunities for personal and career development?
Without the NSP I would never have had the financial means to have participated in the project. I was always keen on journalism, but after taking part in the project, seeing the things I did and being pushed out of my comfort zone on such a personal level, I feel much more focused on my future studies and career.
What projects did you participate in?
I was very thankful to have been a part of almost every project the Pokhara base was running. I started on the childcare program which initially was a massive challenge, but as I grew used to it I became interested in the new women’s development project, which I found incredibly rewarding and inspiring in what I came to find a fairly misogynistic society. Around two months into my time there I was transferred to the health project which was certainly my favourite of them all. The relationships I formed with the students of the school and the lessons I learned from my time there will be something I treasure for a very long time.
What was the highlight of your trip?
A bit of a spontaneous highlight was having a day off with my health project team, sometime towards the end of my stay. We spent some time looking back on photos which included the complete five months I had worked. It couldn’t possibly have been obvious to the others but to me, seeing how far I’d grown and matured over that time, was an incredibly precious moment and it encapsulated what this program has really meant to me.
So, what’s next?
I want to complete my journalism degree combined with either international studies or law. My time in Nepal certainly made me think about the professions of journalism or human rights law. I hope there will be plenty more volunteering in between!
Any last thoughts you would like to share?
I’ve learned how to cook dal bhat, momos and the world famous Nepali masala tea blend, but the lessons went so much further than that. I was let into the hearts and lives of so many people I would never otherwise have met – I taught them, they taught me, and together we endured a disaster that destroyed so much of the country, but never its spirit. This time has irreversibly changed me as a person and I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity that was given to me. Dhanyabad!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, Tys! We wish you all the best and hope to see you back on one of our projects in the near future!