A way of travel that many consider, but only a minority undertake, is international volunteering. It can be a breath taking and life changing experience and because of this, the number of travellers choosing to volunteer abroad is on the rise. For anyone who has considered volunteering abroad, here are some reasons why you should:
You will Learn New Skills
Books can only teach you so much before you need to learn from hands on experience. Volunteering involves a great mix of different activities. You will learn a handful of new skills, from how to make bricks and build a school, to captivating students attention and teaching. As well as enhancing transferable skills like team work, leadership and problem solving.
Finding opportunities at home to gain leadership experience and lead people first hand is difficult. Even on internships related to a specific industry, little industry-based skill or transferable skills are gained, instead interns are busy fetching coffee and low level admin jobs. Volunteering boosts a CV tenfold, employers are looking for applicants who are dedicated and have a broader outlook on life. Be sure to highlight any volunteering experience you have on your CV, detailing results you are responsible for.
You will Meet New People
Volunteering overseas attracts people from all over the world and from different walks of life. You will meet the most amazing people, from fellow volunteers to locals in the community you choose to visit. It is not uncommon to be invited to weddings, meet the village elder and local government officials. Often there is not the chance to meet these amazing people back home, only sometimes if involved in local politics.
You Will Make Lasting Friendships
When living, working and socialising in a group, it is hard not to bond and make deep connections. The shared experiences of volunteering can be the basis of friendships which last the rest of your life.
In this day of the internet, it has never been easier to stay in touch with people from all over the world. Making meeting up again or volunteering together on another project effortless.
You Will Have Fun
No two days of volunteering are the same. Experience new and exciting activities that you may have never done in your every-day life. Notwithstanding volunteering abroad has its challenging moments, both physically on the body and mentally. The feeling of achievement and fulfilment outweigh any difficulties. You can see the difference you make with your own eyes. In a group of like-minded fellow volunteers, you all enjoy the ups and downs together!
You Will Change the Way You See the World
Spending time with some of the poorest communities in the world and witnessing the struggles in their lives, can affect the way volunteers view their lives. Wi-Fi taking its time to stream a show, buffering at 75%, no longer seems like the end of the world. It certainly makes you realise how many opportunities are available at home. Some children’s education abroad stops at only twelve years old because their family simply cannot afford to continue sending them.
You Will Make A Real Difference
Projects rely on the help provided from volunteers, the communities may not have the time or funding to complete the jobs the volunteers do. Whether volunteers help by feeding the needy, supplying medicine care or digging wells for water access, you are changing the community’s long-term prospects. Helping more specifically in one area is feasible but be sure to check with an organisation before finalising anything as some projects may not offer this.
You Don’t Know What’s Around The Corner
Twenty-nineteen could bring anything, saving for a deposit, studying on a course or tied into a long-term job. Waiting for the correct time to travel to potentially never come, there are always reasons to not step outside your comfort zone and get away.
Even young mums shouldn’t be afraid to volunteer. Many organisations welcome mothers and children on projects, it is typically easier when children are under seven than later in their lives when they’re in the middle of their GCSEs. Even if you can’t take the children, go for a week. A week is better than nothing!
Resources For Volunteering Abroad:
Original Volunteers – affordable volunteer sending organisation based in the UK
Trip Advisor – for information and advice on local tours at your destination
Sky Scanner – probably the easiest site to find cheap flights worldwide
FCO – government travel safety information with country-specific updates
Fit For Travel – NHS site lists immunisations needed before travel
This is a collaborative post.