Volunteering abroad can become a life-changing experience. However, first, we have to deal with changing our environment and overcome the cultural shock. Many factors shape our volunteering experience and affect its success. One critical factor is EQ or Emotional Intelligence. Research shows that people with high EQ can adapt to new realities much easier. EQ is the ability to understand, interpret, and manage your emotions.
High EQ can have a huge impact on your volunteering experience abroad
- It helps you to connect with your feelings and make better decisions about your life
- It increases your ability to communicate well and have a calmer and clearer mind which is a great asset when living abroad
- It helps to deal better with the daily struggles of living in a foreign country
- It increases your empathy and therefore helps make new friends easier
What are the components of EQ?
Self-awareness – Can recognize your own emotions? Can you understand how they affect your thoughts and behavior? High self-awareness helps you be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
Self-management – After being aware of your feelings, the next step is healthily managing them and taking necessary actions not to let your emotions come on your way. It’s about controlling impulsive feelings and behaviors and adapting easily to changing circumstances.
Social awareness – Can you recognize understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, and feel comfortable in social situations? It shows how empathetic you are with people around you.
Relationship management – Do you know how to make friends, develop and maintain good relationships? Do you communicate efficiently and clearly? It also includes your conflict management and teamwork skills.
All these components can help you enhance your volunteering experience and make it as memorable and joyful as possible. As a result, you’ll have a better understanding of different cultures and communities.
How can you increase your EQ?
Practice active listening – It is important to listen not just to answer but to understand the other person. Taking the time to listen to others also shows that you respect them. You can as well practice picking up not verbal cues that will help you socialize more efficiently and avoid miscommunications.
Listen to feedback – It’s very important to be open to different feedbacks. Whether it’s positive feedback or a negative one, it’ll help you look at various situations from different perspectives and make more informed decisions. It can become the starting point of progress and development of your personal and professional skills.
Practice recognizing your positive and negative emotions – Self-awareness is like a muscle. The more you practice it, the better it works. You can start by trying to be aware of your mild emotions and feelings regularly. As a result, when a strong emotion comes up, it’ll be easier for you to notice it and recognize it. The time spent noticing your emotions is critical so that you are then able to change the state.
Mindfulness and meditation – The benefits of these are endless. If you can make mindfulness a part of your life, it will not only increase EQ but also help in other aspects of your life.