12 Apr Starting your once in a lifetime journey overseas

Martin shares his experiences from his first week volunteering in Cambodia


Taking the leap to volunteer or intern abroad can be intimidating – you will be leaving your comfort zone to live overseas and immerse yourself in a new culture. Although, that is also what makes it so exhilarating. It’s a new beginning, a chance to experience the unknown and gain new perspectives. It is your opportunity to seize a unique learning experience, develop new skills and build your global network. A few hurdles are expected along the way in any international travel, but it wouldn’t be a once in a lifetime journey without them.

Martin Wong has joined Youth Challenge International as a Knowledge Management Coordinator for the EMBRACE Project with ADRA in Cambodia. Martin shared on his blog some of the challenges that he encountered after landing in a new country – one with a familiar culture too.

“From the moment I stepped outside of the airport, the humid and hot climate instantly reminded me of the fact that I was still far away from being completely comfortable within this new environment (in both a figurative and literal sense). Yet, training my body to acclimate is far less challenging than what my ears and brain need to conquer. Khmer, the language of Cambodia, sets itself apart from all the languages I had previously learned.” 


Martin has taken the first step to overcoming this hurdle by acknowledging that adjusting to a new language and surroundings will take time. He is embracing this unique opportunity, looking towards his future career and discovering ways that he can make an impact in the lives of others.

“As exciting as it is to be in a new country, I feel even more so to make a career pivot into the field of public health and community development. Having focused on ecology and environmental conservation all through my studies and early career, I am now getting my foot in the door of this new field of work where I hope to learn what local communities lack and need.”

Seize your once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteer or intern overseas, develop a career you love and make a difference.

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EMBRACE is a four-year project designed to improve the maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) of vulnerable women, girls and boys in Cambodia, Myanmar the Philippines and Rwanda through improving access to essential health services, building the capacity of local health workers, and providing community education programs. Funded in part by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), EMBRACE is a project led by ADRA Canada and implemented in partnership Youth Challenge International (YCI) and the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre (HDC).