Voluntary Service Overseas Exit Interview

Part 1 – Placement and reference

  1. What are your future plans after returning home? What type of work are you likely to need this reference for?

I am retired. I may work part-time, volunteer…

The reference surely is to help understand this experience.

  1. What do you feel you have learned in your time as a volunteer; both personally and professionally?

I now have a working knowledge of the complexities of international relations.

  1. What has been your most significant achievement over the past two years?

To have been accepted by CUSO and, I trust, to have to have fulfilled my placement obligations.

  1. How has the job changed over the period you’ve been here?

I don’t think the job has changed.  Has much changed for my contribution? Uncertain.

The Oxford definition of ‘imperceptible’ is ‘too slight or gradual to be seen or felt’.

  1. Are there particular areas of work that have challenged you more than others?
  • what was your most difficult challenge?

There was no intercultural effectiveness training to assist with volunteering with a large United Nations agency.

  • have there been failures; what would you have done differently?

No, I don’ think there have been failures. I’ve tried to contribute where I could.

  1. Is there any particular area of professional expertise that you would like emphasised in the reference VSO will be completing and signing off for you?


  1. What amount of detail will you need in a reference? Is there any professional or technical language that a prospective employer might expect to see in your reference?

I would like to know the reasons I was selected for this post and I would like an assessment of my contribution.

Simple language.

  1. Outside the job, what else have you done that is noteworthy?

I am helping three men go to the Arusha College of Tourism to take short certificate courses in Food Preparation, Cake and Pastry and Food and Beverage Service.  The college is impressive and it is a joy to watch these men participate. They will be competing for jobs with full time two year diploma students who are high school graduates but I think they will at least find more creative and meaningful employment with better pay.  They will have a future beyond opening the gate as watchmen.

  1. Do you have comments about the role of a future VSO volunteer in your job, or one similar?

I would like an East Afrikan to volunteer for two years.

1) There are plenty of capable candidates 2) Speaking Kiswahili is very important 3) This position offers an excellent opportunity to learn and to contribute, especially for an agricultural or commerce graduate with a farming background.   4) The volunteer per diem, accommodation and transportation allowance makes this a golden opportunity. For a young Afrikan this would be a real job with better remuneration than most entry level positions 5) A two year position will help the farmers as it will provide some consistency and this is lacking at the moment.

National staff prefer to have international participation.  Likely an international offers a different perspective and may add fresh insight and a slightly exotic flavor.  Ideally an international volunteer could join the national for the first year. The two could learn from each other and the national would gain credibility.

This is a volunteer position, and the volunteer is not an employee.  VSO has a role to play here and can influence the job description and exercise a greater role in placement autonomy.

  1. If you were to re-volunteer in the next 5 years, which aspects of your placement would you chose to repeat/not to repeat and why?

I’d like a short extension but I do not think the World Food Programme is able to adapt without VSO leadership.

Part 2 – Getting ready to leave

  1. Do you have comments on the service you have received from VSO in country you would like noted?

VSO went the distance when we arrived in country.  Too many lectures but a huge effort to assist us.  However, since arriving at my placement there has been no contact. Fortunately I have not encountered any problems.

  1. Any final comments….?

I appreciate the opportunity offered me this year by The World Food Programme, Voluntary Service Overseas and CUSO.

  1. What contact would you envisage wanting with VSO and global education when you get home? (information on staying involved will be in resettlement packs and RVs can also access RV Zone on VSO’s website)

I don’t know.

  1. Do you wish to have your EoS grant waiting in your bank account upon your return? (NB EoS grant will only be paid by VSO UK/IRB on receipt of a claim form completed by the RV).

What is an EoS ?   (Just got it: End of Service -why use words when letters will do…)

  1. Are your travel arrangements in place? (flights, travel to and from the airport etc?)

Is there anything else the programme office can help you with before you leave?

No, I have not made any travel arrangements. I plan to stay overseas for a while longer.  Cash in Lieu is probably the way to go.

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