That’s when amusement and development become a survival issue!!!!

As International volunteers live in different new environment, away from our families,  friends and society. We face huge expansion in our free time (after work, weekends and national holidays)

This free time can lead to increased sense of home sickness, isolation and lost sense of meaning. On the other  hand, it can be a great source of amusement and development.  A third option is not an option J

But which type amusement/development and why?  …………. Well, the practical answer is my humble experience in demonstrated in this article.



Let’s begin with Development

Our assignment workload is expected to provide a big source of development, we got relevant work experience to perform the assignment, however it’s expected that we will have some required development for tasks we never handled before (at least to the required extent ) .

In my case , I have expertise in sales and marketing , I am familiar with different social media platforms , but when it comes to development a comprehensive project in social media engagement plan and refine the corporate branding strategy for the purpose of coping with the updated technology and different fundraising strategy, it takes a lot of development and extensive focus and research to provide a proven results or at least a viable comprehensive project plan for the deliverables specified .

I have within the first third of my assignment I got certified for project management and social media marketing, how? Dedicated my free time for study and development

Now I raised my capabilities to provide more quality results , got enduring development in my area of focus , got sense of worth for the time I spent of my assignment , literally I feel time is passing very fast , I am in competition with time . that’s increasing the value of my assignment time .



Now, what about amusement, which type and why?

When it comes to amusement, it’s not of less importance that development!

Actually, don’t expect less motivated person that have less empathy with the society he is supposed to serve to deliver results up to the expectations

When you have amusement in the new society , some type of amusement you may never experienced before , it raises your motivation , makes you relate yourself to the new society , create new special moments that will be everlasting sweet memories throughout your life .


In my case, I am trying to keep the company of Bob Macgarry and Chad Morgan ( PULSE volunteers from US who are supportive good friends and  clever planners as well ) in exploring the special adventurous sites of Vietnam ( Sapa Mountains , Tu Lan cave experience ) hiking in the jungles , swimming in the rivers , climbing the rocks , exploring caves …..etc )

From the right to left ( Robert MacGary , Chad Morgan and Mohamed Tarek )

Also i got quality time with the locals especially with ethnic minorities in the mountainous parts and saw their burden

Now after I seen the beauty of Vietnam as land and as people I feel I love this country and wish to support its growth and development as much as I can . Especially the less fortunate children ( which Save The Children is mainly focusing to support ) .

As you see now, my experiences made me aligned with the NGO values and more motivated and committed to my assignment.


Here are some photos from caving experience (Tu Lan Caving Trip )



There are not gold and silver inside the cave , it’s just some kinds of bacterial colonization ( that’s what we were told )


Swimming inside the cave in absolute darkness



Vietnamese caving experience has no match anywhere else


What’s so special about adventurous trips , you are interested before you go in , thrilled while you are in and so happy when you are out back alive 🙂


Here are the links to Robert MacGary and Chad Morgans blogs for more look in Vietnam with different eyes


Now , I am addressing  mainly my colleagues who feel huge home sickness , and focusing solely on their work and spending the weekend chatting home , you need to go out of that box , have fun , get solid development , have quality time with the locals and embrace the best moments in your life .


Mohamed Tarek


  1. Great article Mohamed. I like the photos and the fact that you have acquired formal skill to enhance your work, Very inspiring. Not to mention your adventures.

  2. Very well said, I couldn’t agree more. PULSE and our assignments bless us with incredible opportunities to expand ourselves, develop and live that sense of worth during our assignments. Thanks for your inspiration.

  3. Moh; Your post is thought provoking. I like the way you relate multiple facets… amusement, cultural immersion, self development, overcoming home sickness, and finally aligning values with those of NGO to deliver the results. Cheers!

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