Ottawa bound! – Preparing for Change

We are set to go to Ottawa (my old career stomping grounds) for VSO Canada’s Preparing for Change course.

Preparing for Change (PFC) is an introduction to VSO’s approach to international volunteering. During the three day event, we’ll be  exploring a range of factors that will contribute to successful adaptation to our potential new work and living environment overseas. Through a learner-centered approach, we’ll explore  aspects of personal health and wellness and the role of ourr values and behaviors in intercultural settings. We’ll also look at the broader development context – the political and economic constraints affecting people’s lives – and how our volunteer roles and activities within that context can contribute towards achieving VSO’s goals.  Finally, we will also learn about VSO’s fundraising and media outreach programs and about volunteer strategies to contribute to ongoing public engagement activities at home and overseas.


The course includes three themes which, underlie the purpose, the methodology, and the content of PFC. Throughout different sessions, each of these themes is drawn out and displayed:

Tools, Resources, Techniques and Models
The course provides a range of resources, as well as opportunities to practice using them.

Behaviours, Attitudes and Skills
This theme concerns the role of volunteers. The course is designed to support the development of the behaviours, attitudes and skills that you can develop and that will contribute to the success of your placement.

Development Contexts
This theme completes the picture. The course explores the circumstances in which the other two themes must operate. It includes an in-depth analysis of VSO’s approach to development in the context of broader development issues.

At the end of the course, we will be able to:

* Compare our expectations of volunteering with VSO with the expectations VSO has of us.
* Foresee events overseas that might make us feel vulnerable and isolated, and we’ll be able to consider appropriate coping strategies.
* Describe how the links between culture, values and behaviours influence our relationships and overall success of our placement.
* Consider power and empowerment when developing personal and professional relationships, and when problem solving.
* Describe VSO’s programmatic approach to international volunteering.
* Continue to develop our understanding of development work, at various levels, and of the many factors that contribute to it.
* Give examples of issues affecting the lives of disadvantaged people that are linked to global policies and activities.
* Take part in media outreach, public engagement, and community fundraising before, during, and after our placement overseas.
* Identify and plan for continuous learning opportunities pre- and post-departure, within and outside of VSO.

That’s all for now (without cutting and pasting the entire agenda). We’ll keep you posted.