Posted in Extracurricular, Written by Katie

Summer Abroad

So you may be super organised and trying to figure out what to do with your summer or maybe you just want to develop your skills. This summer I went to Ghana with ICS and here is why you should do it too.


Leave your comfort zone!

Surprisingly, being in the middle of a foreign country and not knowing where you are going is probably going to be taking you out of your comfort zone. It isn’t the easiest experience but you learn how to deal with difficult situations (which is fab for your CV).

comfort zone

Get a free holiday (sort of)

You do have to work and there are some fundraising events you will need to do but essentially the government pay most of it. It’s not all work and no play though; I saw crocodiles, learned about the slave trade, learned African dance skills and spent some time relaxing on the beach.


Create some really cool events

Fundraising sounds difficult but the majority of people only need to raise £800 as it is funded by the governments Department for International Development. You can create really fun events for your community. I fundraised on my year abroad and took St Patricks Day, Pancake Day and pub quizzes to Slovenia. You can meet new people and have lots of fun.


Do something new

International Citizenship Service (ICS) partners with a range of charities working in a range of countries on a range of projects. You can do almost anything. I did Business Consulting with Challenges Worldwide but you can raise awareness of AIDS and HIV in South Africa, improve access to water in Nicaragua or improve gender education in India.


Develop cross-cultural working skills

You will be working with an ICV (In Country Volunteer) and they may have very different views to you on the role of women, homosexuality, race and religion. This can be a challenge but you can use it as a chance to develop your skills. This was the first time I had ever worked with someone who openly had very Conservative views but I learnt to deal with that. Inevitably, there were conflicts (especially when my ICV said he hates white people, women, the British and  that people without a religion shouldn’t have a life (he knew each of those applies to me)) but I developed conflict resolution strategies.


It will be the best experience of your life

You will be there with plenty of other volunteers who you will meet at pre-departure training. They will become your best friends and be there for you when times get tough. You will laugh, dance and play games with them. The memories are unforgettable!


You will be helping one of the poorest countries in the world

The best reward is knowing you made a difference! More info on ICS is here:



We are 301 Academic Skills Centre and we give academic skills advice to our students at the University of Sheffield. We offer workshops and 1:1 appointments.

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