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(First broadcast in 2004)

Between 1962 and 1974 Volunteer Service Abroad ran a  school-leaver programme, sending seventeen to eighteen-year-olds fresh out of school off into remote corners of South East Asia and the Pacific.

Over 300 students took up assignments involving teaching, working in agriculture and similar projects.

For many, the experience of living and working in a developing nation had a profound effect on their world-view and, for some, it shaped their careers.

At a tender age, young people were launched into sometimes dangerous and hostile environments, and often required to put their deepest beliefs on the line; to challenge their relationships with people, their own cultural identity, and moral attitudes. It was a journey into the unknown.

In 2004, Spectrum’s Deborah Nation met a handful of VSA veterans at a reunion, and discovered what the experience had meant for them and how it affected their lives.