International Sports Education Volunteers Take Soccer Development Program to a Whole New Level
Recent International Volunteers through Cross-Continental Solutions Receive Humanitarian Award to Cover Flight Costs and Successfully Fundraise Over 75 Soccer Balls and Other Athletic Equipment for Their Sports Education Project Abroad.
In many developing areas of the world, where poverty and social conflict have negatively impacted so many, organized sports serve to alleviate stress and channel fear and frustration into a positive outlet. International sports education programs teach cooperation, conflict resolution, teamwork, and leadership skills, making them an ideal choice for those interested in adding a little light to a less fortunate person’s life. On a recent voyage to Africa, Canadian students Andrew Kocicka and Dean Tsatouhas from Langara College ran a month-long soccer development program with the help of the international volunteer organization Cross-Continental Solutions.
Their life-changing volunteer abroad experience can be viewed in the attached video where they express their thoughts about Africa and the organization that got them there. “It has been an amazing experience. We just want to thank again Cross-Continental. All the amazing time we’ve had here has been awesome. Kenyan people are the friendliest people we’ve ever met. It has been amazing. We couldn’t be here without you. Thanks.”
Being a long term partner with Langara College, Cross-Continental Solutions helps many students with award applications and volunteer abroad project arrangements. With the help of Cross-Continental Solutions, Andrew and Dean were able to get their flight expenses covered though a student awards program, which utilizes donated travel points to facilitate humanitarian aid aboard. Additionally, they were able to fundraise over 75 soccer balls, as well as many jerseys, soccer shoes, and other equipment, for local schools, orphanages, and soccer clubs.
While teaching the local communities about fair play, teamwork, and respect, the international volunteers developed their own skills in communication, leadership, and problem solving, which are attractive qualities to both future employers and post secondary institutions alike. Such programs also provide participants with intercultural experience and global awareness, giving them a definite advantage over their peers.
After an exciting first day, Andrew recounts some details of their trip, “What an experience it was! We walked for about an hour up this little mountain to a village to meet with a football club Geteni FC. They had their team meet us there to play a soccer match with us, along with about 100 little children. When we took 4 soccer balls out of the bag they absolutely went insane! They had so much fun, but I think Dean and I had a lot more fun!”
Andrew continued, “We played a soccer game on a very poor field. Afterwards we sat down with the team to learn more about the club and to speak to them about what we wanted to do there. This was a truly life changing day for me as I was able to see firsthand the challenges the Kenyan soccer club faced.”
While the universal language of sport often makes cultural differences seem smaller, cultural exchange opportunities may still occur in many unexpected ways. Andrew quickly learned to expect the unexpected during his time abroad, even becoming an impromptu part of a Kenyan funeral service!
“One experience to note is the fact that I went to my very first funeral and got the surprising task of speaking in front of 3000 people from the village. I felt like a celebrity and just talked about why I was there and how welcoming everybody was. It was truly an unforgettable experience. I learned about the ways their people are remembered, and got a chance to see a dead body which was kinda weird but cool at the same time.”
Andrew’s teammate Dean Tsatouhas also had many great things to say about their journey. “I would definitely recommend Cross-Continental to others,” Dean continued, “Volunteering abroad with Cross-Continental was an amazing experience for me. It was affordable and my local coordinator and host family were very welcoming. I was provided with safe and comfortable conditions during my stay, and the soccer development program I was a part of was flexible and allowed for a rich cultural experience.”
The two enjoyed their time in Africa so much that they have decided to keep in touch with their local coordinator, aiding in the continued development of the program for future volunteers.
International internships and volunteer abroad programs in sports education provide an amazing opportunity to invest in a community and oneself, with unforgettable learning and life experiences available to anyone who wants to share their time and talents with those in need. Explore the options or plan a life-changing trip at http://www.CrossContinental.org.
About Cross-Continental Solutions:
Cross-Continental Solutions provides unique yet affordable intern abroad, volunteer abroad, cultural immersion, language study, and gap year programs. By living and working side by side with the local people, participants gain an exceptional cross-cultural experience and the opportunity to make a difference. Covering a wide range of needs, opportunities are available in areas such as: Teaching, Healthcare, Community Development, Business Coaching, HIV work, Care-giving, Orphanage Work, Journalism, Photography, Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Microfinance, Tourism, Marketing, and more. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.