Would you recommend Hostelling International Boston?
Delivering a presentation for traveling to Japan was an amazing experience. As someone who wants to speak in front of people for a career someday, this opportunity gave me the confidence to know that it was not only a dream to go in front of people, but a reality. I appreciate everything that Paul Kuhne has done to help prepare me in my journey. After delivering that presentation, it has cultivated my interest to volunteer more at Hostelling International.
First of all, the events coordinator, Paige, is awesome. She helps make volunteering fun by making sure you're enjoying what you're doing. What you do and when you do it is very flexible as well, with the Hostel being fairly open to suggestions.
As someone who loves travelling, but can't do so as much, meeting people from around the world is the next best thing. Through stories told and re-told, everyone in your group gets to "travel" vicariously through others. It's really interesting to learn something new about another part of the world each week.
As for the volunteer events, they can range from relaxed to surreal depending on your group. As an event leader, the guests look to you for guidance and as such your actions can really shape everyone's experience. The principal challenge is figuring out what your guests would be interested in, and what you can do to make sure the group has a good time. That being said, some groups pose more of a challenge than others. Overall, fun.
My experience as the HI unofficial Harvard Tour guide:
Not being a Harvard student but touring big groups around Harvard campus on Saturday mornings has been a fantastic experience. Not only do I get to enjoy the vibrant Harvard Square with the lovely hostel guests, they also seem to enjoy my jokes at Harvardians. Depending on the weather and the group spirit each time, our tour lasts from forty minutes to over an hour, and sometimes involves a loving group lunch at a favorite local restaurant. The friendly talks over food always bring out exciting travel stories from different cultures in different languages which are just as exciting as my unofficial introduction to the world's top university. The tour has involved to a rich learning experience rather than just a tourist walk.
I've been volunteering with HI-Boston for the last few months and have enjoyed sharing my travel knowledge with visitors and members of greater Boston! I hosted the World Travel 101 workshop and got to provide my own trip advice to burgeoning and devout travelers. The HI staff is upbeat, helpful, and a blast to work with! Plus the space for hosting the workshops is very inviting, laid back, and is a great mix of locals and visitors. I would highly-recommend attending some of the workshops or if interested, reaching out with your own ideas for a travel-themed workshop. I plan to host several workshops /events in the upcoming months!
I recently volunteered to give a talk at Hosteling International on how to travel cheaply throughout Europe. I met with Paige first to discuss the varying opportunities for volunteer with HI and then met with Paul a couple times to go over which opportunity was of most interest to me and then helping me develop a presentation for it. I wasn't sure what to expect on the actual day of my presentation but although I had prepared a powerpoint, I used it mostly as talking points and the group of folks that came (almost 30!) turned the presentation into a much more enjoyable discussion. I made sure to include everyone and ask what people wanted to get out of the discussion ahead of time. Most folks already have traveled to Europe so they were just looking for tips. It was good because it made them more engaged in the conversation rather than just talking TO them, I talked WITH them.