Volunteer Tips: What Is Bad About Expectations

by Yaryna Kobryn –

Well, it is equally bad to have them and not to have them at all.


You might have already imagined your perfect workcamp. You might have googled breathtaking pictures of the whereabouts and built a vision of it based on the searched photos and the impressions of others. Well, hold your imagination. The real image might be quite different from what you expect. 

Here comes expectations dilemma: set wrong expectations – and you will find yourself disappointed. Set no expectations at all – and you might fail to find the reason of your project, again, disappointed and demotivated.


So what to do? How not to fall victim to the false perceptions or wrong ideas about certain experience? How to set the expectations right no matter what?

Base Your Expectations on What is Certain

What is written in the project description is what you (most probably) will get. 

If you hope to have a chance to communicate with people from different countries while the project is centered on local youth, you might as well not get what you expect.
If you expect to spend a lot of time outdoors during the project while the project requires your presence at the office, or youth centre, or school – there is noone to blame of your false expectations than yourself.

Do a Profound Research

The more information you succeed to get about your project, hosting organization, the organizers themselves, the way of living etc. – the more clear and precise your expectations will be. Thereby do not feel lazy to look for additional info about your project apart from its description. You might surf the main website of the organization, look up its pages in social media, watch the videos of the city you gonna live in or even ask for the information that bothers you from the contact person or previous volunteers.

Let Empowerment of Your Expectations Depend On You

Set the goals which you can achieve yourself, the ones which depend mainly on you, your efforts and motivation. For instance, going for a project to France, you might set a goal of learning French. As you travel abroad, you can resolve to learn photography, set up your own blog, deepen your knowledge in certain culture or history. Thereby what you expect and what you seek for will be achieved if you really want it.

Beware of Stereotypes

The disillusionment often takes place based on common stereotypes regarding certain country and people. The stereotypes might not be the most veritable fact for you to rely on. Touristic places might be far too overestimated, the quality – overrated, the experiences – far too romanticized. Therefore before setting a label on a particular place and project try to do a reality check and cast away the stereotypes which your expectations may be based on.

Keep Your Mind Open Regarding Expectations

Sometimes, life sends us such amazing gifts and discoveries in the form of impressions and experiences which go beyond our expectations. Life situations often shows us how limited our imagination might be. Who knows – maybe the person you met  by a pure accident (as it might seem), will be your life-ling friend / a soulmate / the one you start up the company with. Maybe you will find yourself in the place you will want to move permanently. Maybe you will rediscover your passion or find your life mission. None of this cannot be planned or expected – therefore it is important not to let your expectations limit your opportunities. Who knows -maybe getting off track might lead you exactly where you are supposed to be.


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