Calibre gifts overseas volunteering opportunity to engineering undergraduate
As part of Calibre’s University Career Fair Program, Calibre offered one lucky engineering undergraduate an overseas volunteering experience. This is Marnie Stollznow’s story…
I’m one of those people who never wins anything, but last year my luck changed when I won an all-expenses paid trip to volunteer on a GVI construction project in India courtesy of Calibre.
Come November, I was jet setting off to India where I and fellow volunteers were tasked with redesigning degenerating vegetable garden beds at Auxilium, a Girls’ Secondary School, located in Agartala India
The garden beds needed redesigning to be more accessible for the caretaker and students. The project involved intensive labour that I had not done before (especially in the Indian heat), and required me to learn many new skills – and fast!
My jobs ranged from planning the layout, mixing concrete, laying, levelling, plastering bricks to mixing soil and planting vegetables.
The students were very appreciative, spoiling myself and the other volunteers daily with delicious treats and food – which made the work that little bit easier!
During my time in India, the volunteer group were also able to spend each Friday morning at a homeless shelter for people with disabilities. Here we could interact with the residents and bring some enjoyment to their day by playing soccer and cricket. Interacting with the residents was a real eye opener and a great learning experience.
On the weekends we were given free time, providing the perfect opportunity for us to set out exploring. From sightseeing, to boat trips to wild elephants, I didn’t waste a second!
What really made this experience so special was being able to experience the Indian culture and interact with the local people on a much more personal level than would have been possible as a tourist.
By working in a volunteer capacity, I was able to contribute to making the students’ everyday just a little brighter. Not only was my work a personal accomplishment, but also a legacy l for the people living in the local community.
Although I still have much to learn before I can call myself a Civil Engineer, I left India with a great understanding of what real sustainability means, as well as the very real positive impact we can all have on the communities around us.
I am very grateful to Calibre for providing me with this opportunity and look forward to joining GVI again. For now, I am continuing my aspiration in Civil Engineering by study at the University of Queensland and hope to one day be able to make an even bigger contribution.