‘You Have the Chance to Be Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself’ — Veronika Tadross Reflects on Serve to Learn

Veronika T
Nikki Tadross and a student demonstrate the Serve to Learn smile.

Tomorrow (Nov. 15) is the last day to submit your application for the Jan. 16-Feb. 7 Serve to Learn trip!

If you don’t already know, Serve to Learn is a three-week trip to Egypt where you have the opportunity to really find yourself in the service of others. Your days there are filled with teaching English through fun activities, playing with the world’s greatest kids, and learning what it really means to “live in the service of others.” Arabic and teaching skills are helpful but not the most important things. Just come with an open heart and an open mind, and I promise you, you will be transformed.

Serve to Learn has been around for over a decade, and this summer, nearly 20 volunteers took part. Today, I wanted to share the thoughts of one of those volunteers, Veronika “Nikki” Tadross from Virginia.

These days, Nikki is a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. She’s studying English education with the aim of becoming an English as a Second Language teacher.

If you want to know more about how Serve to Learn changes lives, I invite you to check out these interviews with DavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle.

Here’s what Nikki had to say about Serve to Learn:

What was your favorite thing about the people and the kids you lived with while you were in Egypt? 

My favorite thing about the people and the kids was their ability to slow down, listen, and spend time with each other.

Have you brought a little bit of that back home?

I try my best to. Listening and getting to know people on a deeper level is highly underrated.

For many of us, going back to Egypt helps us connect to our roots; do you feel that you better understand where you come from after Serve To Learn?

Absolutely! There’s something really cool about seeing where my family came from.

What is a story that you tell all your friends when you talk about your summer with Serve to Learn? 

One of my favorite stories is about Marina. After doing Serve to Learn for three years, and having her in my class from the very beginning, I saw a difference between her and her siblings in her attitude towards higher education. Her older sister dropped out and decided that she just wanted to get married, while Marina, who is a few years younger than her, decided that this life was not what she wanted. When I asked her why, she said: “You told me two years ago I’m really bright, and that I should go to college… I took that very seriously.” This was cool, because I didn’t fully understand the impact of my words until this moment.

What do you feel are the three most important reasons someone should come on a Serve to Learn trip?

1. You have the chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
2. These kids are valuable, and worth your investment of time.
3. You’ll learn more about life, and the value of our relationship with Christ, through observing these kids.

What are some things you wish you had done differently, done more of, or not done at all this summer during the trip?

Wish I could have spent more one-on-one time with some of my students.

The moment has arrived to apply for Serve to Learn; the November 15 deadline is here! Don’t forget that applications for the July 3-25 session are also available! If you still have questions, you can learn more by reading the Serve to Learn FAQ, or by writing to us directly at info@copticorphans.org.

Also, you can watch His Holiness encourage young people to serve the children in Egypt in this video made at one of Coptic Orphans’ recent 25th Anniversary Galas. Lastly, you can check out  the “Top 5 Myths Why You Can’t Take Part in Serve to Learn Debunked.” 

PS  Please go to the top of this post and hit the “Like” button, then share the post, tweet it, email it to everyone you know, print it out and pass it out to five of your friends, and finally, stand in the middle of a busy intersection with a megaphone and shout it out!

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn't afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don't have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.