Mar 5, 2016



For these past two days I have been volunteering myself in a backpacker's studio. Let me share how these two days have been for me.

It all started last November 2015, when I was Ipoh with my friends. We came to know that this backpacker studio accepts volunteers from different countries. This is how the volunteering works: You work for a minimum few hours in the studio and in return they provide you a couch or a bed for your accommodation. This usually requires a minimum of a week of your stay in order to volunteer. Some even volunteered for months.

I was very much fascinated by this whole concept so I gave it a shot by requesting to volunteer by corresponding with the owner of the studio. To my surprise they were glad to accept us as volunteers! I was aware of this volunteering job: you might not have the time to travel much when you are volunteering, most of the time spent will be in the studio. Because after all, you are partly working there for your free accommodation.

The first day was okay maybe because we arrived at the studio by late evening. There wasn't much work to do as well. New volunteers were given a short briefing about the whole job scope. It was pretty simple: Register new guest and keep the place clean. The second day however, it took its toll on me. I was almost bored to wits end. We were in the studio for a very long time as we have to wait for the arrival of guests that was informed by the host. Yes, I know I shouldn't be complaining because after all I am doing a volunteering work.

Here comes the best part of volunteering. The reason why I sign up for this volunteering job (apart from going on a budget trip) was because I'll get to meet so many types of people coming from different parts of the world. On the first day itself, welcoming our arrival was a guy from Bangladesh who is taking his Master program in Malaysia. He shared about his country. And I was in awe to travel to Bangladesh someday. 

Next was a guest from Hong Kong, Vinca. We shared many conversations together and even had dinner together. She is going on a 1 year backpacking trip. She going to get her law license after she's done with her backpacking. Then there was Mark who came from Scotland. He is a social worker. He travelled from the northern part of Asia and he's working his way to the south. Then we met Yuka Liya from Japan who is going to take her Masters in tourism. We shared dinner and even went for desserts together. Then there's Lea and Klara from Germany. Then Yumi who is from Japan as well. Klara has been to Nepal where she shared her experiences, of what was it like in Nepal and it just warms my heart to hear about her story.

I was able to learn a lot from the backpackers that came to the studio. Even for a night of stay, if you take the initiative to talk to them, you'll be able to listen to many amazing stories. You might not be capable financially to travel around the world, but if you take the chance to talk to them, it's as if you are on the journey with them by hearing to their stories and experiences that they've been through. You get to encounter different people with different background, people from all walks of life. Everyone have a story to tell. I might never been to Nepal or Bangladesh, but I am very much familiar with my own country Malaysia. I was able to share about my country delicacies and the must-go places to the backpackers and even help them get around Malaysia.

It is definitely a very good opportunity not to be missed. Thank you very much for having us.

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