New blog entry from our volunteer Raj about his experiences as an Urban Planner in Mannar, Sri Lanka.

The experience was extremely worthwhile and was way beyond what I thought would be. The people, culture, norms, and communities were a few aspects that I very much enjoyed being part of. The work itself was extremely fast paced and exhausting! I definitely felt out of my comfort zone with what was brought upon me but I was so motivated to ensure I delivered, especially considering how short the timeframe was.

Being my first visit to Sri Lanka, it was an incredible one. I got to meet amazing people from Australia and Sri Lanka. Meeting people was a huge highlight for me, hearing their stories and living in their shoes for a short bit. Travelling around Sri Lanka was even more rewarding. The country is so enriched with history; I was dumbfounded half the time.

Some lessons I learned from this placement was not everything you plan will go accordingly. Your mindset has to be able to not only adapt to the situation but not feel unhappy or disappointed if it doesn’t go right. These experiences were very significant for me because it tested my abilities and put me out of my comfort zone. I think being cognizant of the timeframe, project framework and delivery puts you in a state of motivation and determination. Once you’re thrown into the position, you need to be able to ride the wave as it goes.

This experience has really motivated me to do more diaspora related work and help out my community in whatever way I can. Being local, understanding its context on the ground, and speaking to people, there is much that is needed to be done. It also has motivated me to further my education to refine my skills and knowledge and utilize it somehow in Sri Lanka. My yearning and natural inclination to helping Sri Lanka has strengthened from this experience and I only see positivity from here.