How I Became an Experteer – Dipa Sharif

June 7, 2016
Alumni Stories


The First Step
About a year ago, I decided to quit my job and pursue my dream of traveling, volunteering internationally, and learning Spanish. Since then, I’ve traveled across Europe, India, and Bangladesh, and I lived in Lima, Peru in the quest to learn Spanish. I’ve been living in Colombia for more than a month and a half now, working as a Partnership Development Fellow at a social impact organization called MovingWorlds. What drew me to MovingWorlds was their philosophy: social enterprises that are looking to scale need professional skillsets while professionals are looking to volunteer these skillsets and it shouldn’t cost a lot of money to volunteer your time. Folks who have searched for volunteer abroad opportunities may already know that a lot of organizations charge a lot of money to volunteer.

At MovingWorlds, I am on a two-month assignment to develop and implement an outreach and engagement plan for new and current partners like Hyla Soft. The goal is to establish partnerships with organizations such as Agora Partnerships or Village Capital that have social enterprises and entrepreneurs that they support and those that can use the help of an “Experteer.”

Experteering = Volunteering + Expertise (a skilled professional who is volunteering his/her expertise is an Experteer)


Medellin, where I am working with MovingWorlds


About MovingWorlds
MovingWorlds connects professional talent with social impact organizations around the world based on the alignment of skills, interest, and career level. MovingWorlds also vets and trains the professionals in order to ensure the successful completion of a project. As social enterprises are the main drivers of positive social and environmental change, providing them with early stage strategic support is the best way to accelerate their impact. MovingWorlds’ Experteers are looking to donate their time and skills to these organizations, as part of a career change, as part of a meaningful sabbatical, or simply to give back and grow as a person. Since its launch in 2011, MovingWorlds has helped unleash over 2 million dollars’ worth of professional skills to social enterprises and is founder of the term Experteering. Read this post or watch the video below to find out how one Experteer helped accelerate impact for a local organization in Guatemala.

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Medellin – a modern city with the friendliest people
Having heard all sorts of stories about Colombia, I came with an open mind and was very pleasantly surprised. The city sits in a valley surrounded by beautiful views of the Andes Mountains. The transportation infrastructure for the roughly 2.5 million people is very modern and clean. The MetroCable is a unique cable car system which was implemented by the City Council of Medellin to provide complementary transportation service to Medellin’s Metro system. It was designed to reach some of the least developed areas of Medellin (families who live high up in the mountains). Before the implementation of the MetroCable, residents of the Santo Domingo area used to spend more than two and half hours commuting to work each way. (See Wikipedia for more.)


Metro Cable in Medellin


Taking Chances
Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so terrified of leaving my job in New York – perhaps because I’ve never done anything like this before or perhaps because I was leaving everything and everyone I knew behind – but this has been the most rewarding journey of my life. A strong support system of family and friends, including CSIS connections, has given me the courage to pursue my passions and take chances – and continue to do so!

Written by Dipa Sharif; Edited by Ashton Yount; Photography by Dipa Sharif; Video by MovingWorlds