Are you an introvert? Does living with the same group of people for a semester give you a little bit of anxiety? Don't worry, that's totally normal and something that shouldn't keep you from volunteering abroad. Just use these suggestions...
Many people confuse introverts for all being shy. That is not the case. Being an introvert simply means your energy battery drains when you're around a lot of people (versus an extrovert who gains energy from being around others). A big concern of introverts who are volunteering abroad with ILP is they will not have any alone time to recharge their batteries, but that is not the case!
Go ahead and check out what a day in the life of ILP China volunteers looks like and see for yourself!
Living with the same group of people for a semester can be a challenge for anyone, but being an introvert in your ILP group can be a little more challenging because one aspect of our volunteer program is that you're with your group for just about everything, for support while living abroad. Make it a little easier on yourself and use these suggestions:
- Talk to your ILP head teacher
- Develop personal relationships from the start
- Find a hobby
- Stay in every now and then
- Get up early/stay up a little later
Talk to your head teacher
Your head teacher is there to help you in what ever way you need. Talk to him/her and let them know that you might need some extra alone time on occasion. They can help you out - maybe they'll even let you use their bedroom so that you can escape the room you share with your roommates!
Develop personal relationships from the start
Getting to know the people in your group on a one on one basis can make you feel more comfortable when you're all together in a larger group. If you're comfortable with everyone in your group, you won't lose as much energy when you're all together.
Find a hobby
Finding a hobby like yoga, reading, meditating or drawing can help you break away from the group and give you alone time. Find something you enjoy and that relaxes you, even if it's something new you've never tried.
Stay in every now and then
There's no shame in needing a night in to watch Netflix and eat your favorite snacks while your group heads out to explore the city. Explain to your group that you're just needing some alone time to recharge. Try and only do this when you absolutely need to. After all, you're only living in China or living in Mexico (or our other countries) for a semester and should take advantage of every second you can to see the country!
Get up early/stay up a little later
If you're an early bird, try and get up a little bit earlier than normal, or if you're a night owl, stay up a little later. If you get up earlier or stay up a little later than your group, you will be able to take advantage of your alone time.
Don't let little things like your nerves keep you from volunteering abroad with ILP. There are plenty of ways to overcome them and so many others feel the same way (so you won't be alone in wanting some alone time if you're an introvert!).