Career Q – Narrowing

photo of palm trees

One of your posts said that interest in community development is too general, and I agree, but how do I figure out what I’m interested in? Especially without direct experience? The honest truth is I care about all aspects of community development, from sustainable agriculture to the development of mental health awareness. I’m not quite sure where my skills shine because I’m not financially able to just hop on a plane and arrive in Thailand.

Along with my first question, do you have any suggestions on getting field experience? I’ve heard from many sources that volunteer abroad organizations that you have to pay for are not looked upon as beneficial field experience when looking for a job. However, I’m not really sure where else to look for experience.

Both of your questions here go together, and they have a shared answer – you should start by doing some volunteer work closer to home. The core principles of community development hold wherever you are. If you start volunteering in your hometown, or your college town, you’ll get a sense of what you’re good at doing and what you kind of work you enjoy. That will help point your way to the best fit for your career, whether it’s a specific international development specialty or something else entirely. It will also provide experience that will help with your job hunt.