Former Plymouth University Student Volunteers Overseas

After completing a History and International Relations degree, Plymouth graduate Natasha Gell completed a 3 month voluntary placement with an international development agency, International Service, which works in partnership with human rights groups in West Africa, the Middle East and South America to empower the world’s most marginalised communities. Recently she has returned from a second, 10 month placement with International Service as a Team Leader, overseeing the progress of work conducted by new volunteers, this time in Ghana.

Ghana Natasha Gell

Natasha, aged 21, undertook her first placement in Ouagadougou, the capital of the West African country, Burkina Faso. Natasha was placed with Handicap Solidaire Burkina, a disability focused non-governmental organisation. At the time, the country was ranked amongst the poorest in the world and people with disabilities faced widespread discrimination. After her successful placement she secured a Corporate Relations job in Bangalore, India. The young graduate was then invited back to International Service, this time as a Team Leader, overseeing new volunteers in Ghana. She headed up development projects for a new partnership with local charity The Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities.

Natasha was thrilled to be working in West Africa again and gaining more field experience- “I love working in West Africa, the people are so friendly and I meet interesting people all the time. There are huge challenges here but most people are really supportive of making changes and moving forward. There’s a great mix of tradition and development.”

Whilst in Ghana, Natasha was managing projects such as collecting data on disability issues in northern Ghana, setting up a school for young carers, producing a marketing programme for the centre, fundraising, working on inclusive sports projects and providing training to staff on strategic planning.

Natasha wants to encourage more people to take this opportunity to get invaluable work experience “I can’t stress enough how much I have learnt from these experiences. So many companies work internationally now, increasing your cultural awareness could be really valuable and work experience is a real asset when looking for a job. It so competitive these days. My volunteers come from a range of backgrounds and most of them are fully aware of the opportunity to add value to their CVs.”

International Service offer fully funded overseas placements to 18-25 year olds on behalf of the UK government. If you think you have leadership skills to offer and are 23 or over you might also be interested in a Team Leader position.  Click here to find out more.

Natasha (3rd from left) with her ICS team.

Volunteer with us on the ICS scheme