Exploring Self through Volunteering


Amy Hsieh is one of the co-leader in TAIndia. She is a junior (third-year in University) from Fu Jen Catholic University. Her major is in Clinical Psychology. Also, this year Amy join her teacher's lab to research about Emotion & Attention Studies. In her free time, she does volunteer work in hospital to learn more and help others.


How did you become interested in volunteering?

Since I was in Junior high school, we had the courses like service learning. Through those courses from high school to University, I learned a lot of experiences and how to do volunteer. However, my mom is the one who inspired me to be interested in volunteering. She goes to do volunteering since I was little, and even now she volunteers for at least one day every week. She is a so kind person that I hope myself can keep doing these good things like her. 

What was the best experience you had whilst volunteering?

I think it was the smile and the hug from one of the patient gave me in Missionaries of Charity. During the days there, I went to Shanti Dan to do the volunteering. I remember that there was an old woman I still clearly can't forget. At first, I saw her sitting on the ground and she was like a little bit uncomfortable. Then I walked to her and tried to understand what she needed. However, we both couldn't understand each other. Then I found her pants was wet and I thought she might wanted to change it. So I took a clean one for her. Because she was quite short so I squatted down, and she put her hands on my shoulders then I helped her to change it. She was so lovely and cute that she even wanted another pattern and color of pant! When I finished, the old woman helped me fix my hair softly and gave me a deep hug and smile like a kind grandma. At that moment, I was so touched although we don't understand each other's language but I felt she was thanking to me. I can feel the warm from her and I really cherish it. 

One of the common challenges faced by volunteers abroad is coping with culture shock. How do you help combat this and deal with it when it comes up?

The most impressed me so much is the horn sounds on the road. I remembered the first day we arrived Kolkata was about 2 a.m. Therefore, I was so tired that I fell asleep soon when I went to bed. However, I think it's about 6 a.m. then I woke up. I didn't wake up by the alarm or others' calling but by the horn sounds outside the window. I found that people in India often honk their horns. After days, I got used to the horns blaring. So, I even don't set any alarm to wake me up in Kolkata cause I know the horn will help me! 

Do you think volunteering in TAINDIA will make a difference in your life?

To me, TAIndia is an amazing team. As I joined TAIndia, I learned a lot from our teachers and members since we had prepared for about half a year. Doing volunteering in TAIndia changed me a lot. We had meeting every week, came up with different ideas and practiced until it was perfect. It's not only about team work or service learning but also what we can do more and how much we can accomplish. It's a very special and unforgettable experience in my life. Therefore, I really thank for joining TAIndia and being one of them.


What would you recommend to other people who are looking for volunteering opportunities?

I will tell just go ahead! Don't hesitate! Sometimes people say doing volunteering is helping others. However, I think sometimes doing volunteering you can gain more from them cause you will introspect yourself and try to make something better. The most important is to have an enthusiastic heart. With your passionate and open mind, you will get lots of different experience in your life!!

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