Ondrej, a 2015 Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar from the Czech Republic, shares his thoughts on how volunteering is a great source of motivation for him to help others.

By: Ondrej Svatos, Summer 2015 Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar

I don’t agree with the opinion that one must help others at all costs. If someone helps another because she/he was forced to do it by society – or because it’s popular – it does not help anyone, as much as it hurts him or herself.

Help that comes from altruism, subconsciously increases empathy to one’s surroundings, and to all those they interact with. Man is in the world primarily because of helping himself, his family, and his nation. That is my opinion of helping others.

I went through a period where I gave my money to charity, just because my mind told me “This is correct.” However, if a person doesn’t want to help, essentially the good feeling (or empathy) will not be genuine.

I came to think about the meaning of life, about how to achieve life’s satisfaction, and how to be happy. I realized I am not happy when I’m surrounded by all the things I see in commercials, but when I’m surrounded by people who are happy as well, and with whom I can share the happiness. I realized that the greatest source of my vital forces is to make the beings around me happy. The world is prettier when more people are smiling at it.

This year I didn’t volunteer in the U.S. because my mind told me how noble it is, but because I like to make people around me happy, more “cool,” so to speak. It was a great source of life, force, and motivation for me. I realized how little is needed to make people more happy and more secure. How little money was enough to organize a four-hour meeting of working students from all over the world with free dinner, where these people could get to know each other, evoke friendship and share the most valuable parts of their cultures. Only four people were needed to make the hundreds of others feel safe on the beach in Myrtle Beach. For me, that is proof that anyone can help, and that’s the point.

And what is your motivation for helping others around you?

Learn more about Ambassador Scholars.