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Batesville native heads abroad to give back to worldPublished October 24, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
BATESVILLE Elizabeth Arnold, who grew up in Batesville, has steadily made her way around the world, whether for a family vacation or her job.
This time when she takes off, she won’t be traveling for business or pleasure — she’s going to do volunteer work with the International Volunteer HQ organization.
According to its website, International Volunteer HQ places volunteers in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Thailand, China, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Bali and Mexico.
Arnold said when she went to college, she thought about becoming a part of the Peace Corps, but it was during the U.S. recession, and she thought she should find a job.
Right out of college, she worked in Little Rock for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, then worked in New York.
When she left New York, she said she wanted to move to Denver to pursue digital marketing but found herself looking back at what she always wanted to do. She heard about IVHQ from one of her sorority sisters.
“[When I found out about this], I was in an ‘in-between’ period with jobs, and I really want to give back,” she said. “I’m going to go to Bali for two months to teach kindergartners in the poor villages near Ubud.”
After teaching in Bali, she will have a three-week break period to go backpacking and traveling around Thailand, then go back to volunteering, but she will be near Delhi.
She will teach children in the slums of India who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get an education.
“There are 100 million street children in India, and they usually have to work,” Arnold said.
She’ll get a one-week orientation period in each country she teaches in so the culture shock will wear off before she has to go to work, Arnold said.
“I’ve never been [to these countries], and I’ve wanted to go all my life,” she said. “The caste system in India is so intense, and I’ve just wanted to give back.”
India’s caste system is a social structure in which classes are determined by heredity.
This will be her first time to teach, but Arnold said she is excited about every aspect of her trip.
“Education is the key to everything,” she said. “People need to be taught.”
While she is in Bali and India, the volunteer organization will provide her meals and housing. She will stay with a host family in Bali, and while in Delhi, she will live with volunteers with the organization and connect with others who want to give back.
Arnold said she knows this trip will be intense, but she is excited about experiencing something new.
“I’ve been traveling all my life, and I like being out of my element,” she said. “It’ll be awesome to make a difference.
“I’m going to come back to America with a new perspective.”
She will fly out on Oct. 31 to start the newest chapter of her life in Bali and India. When she returns, Arnold will move to Denver to continue her career in digital marketing.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zoned Editions Staff Writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-244-4307 or email@example.com.