ave you always been curious about what it’s like to volunteer abroad? Maybe you’ve heard stories or seen photos of your friends’ volunteer abroad experiences and wondered if it really is as amazing as they make it out to be? Well, as with many things in life, the only way to know is to try it out for it yourself!
Volunteering abroad is becoming increasingly popular, and even so, the number of those in need of help is still rising. Communities across the globe seek caring individuals who look to help a cause greater than themselves. We have compiled a list that tells you why volunteering abroad is an ideal way to spend your time. If you have never considered going abroad, or if you have but want some reassurance, this list is for you.
1. The opportunity to make a difference
So often in life, it is hard to feel that we are making any real impact. Electing to volunteer abroad is a surefire way to assure that you are making an impact in this world. To volunteer abroad is to change lives for the better. Whether it’s community development, medical care, or education, volunteers help people in need in such a way that could change their lives forever.
As humans of planet earth, it is our duty to help out fellow humans when they are in need. Volunteering abroad will allow you to help others at a fundamental level; you may provide love to those who have been abandoned, you may construct houses for those who have never had one, you may teach English or Math to those in an insufficient school system, and the list goes on. Volunteering with a community abroad will create change both in yourself and in those whom you are lending a helping hand.
2. Become a part of a community
One of the greatest parts about volunteering abroad is getting to know the people and cultures of the community you are there to help. Whether you live with a host family or in a space of your own, you will quickly learn what it’s like to live like the locals do. Additionally, whether the community that you are volunteering in is big or small, you will get to know the names and faces of those you interact with on a daily basis.
Typically, the most vulnerable and struggling communities are often the smallest. After a short time you will know everyone and everyone will know you. These relationships become very close-knit and almost feel like extended family.
3. Gain a new perspective
Many of those who choose to volunteer abroad experience the many privileges of living in a first-world country. As is life, it is easy to slip into autopilot and forget to be grateful for all that we have. It is very important to accumulate experiences that provide us with some perspective to both remind ourselves that we have a lot to be thankful for and to help those who are at a lesser advantage.
Many underprivileged communities do not have sufficient medical care, educational resources, community structures and shelter, child care, and food. Becoming a part of these communities for a somewhat extended amount of time will give you a new understanding and appreciation for your own life. Distance from your home not only allows us to see things clearly, but brings home a newfound love for the lives we sometimes take for granted.
4. See new and exciting places
Volunteering abroad enables not only personal growth, but adventure as well. Half of the experience of volunteering abroad is simply being abroad. Being abroad, rather, living in a foreign and incredible place that is completely new to you, is an indescribable experience. You will be in a constant mode of learning everything from a new language, to new cultures, religions, traditions, places, and activities. Depending on your situation, you may, be able to travel around the country and to surrounding countries to thoroughly explore your surroundings. If you volunteer abroad, the beauty of the world is at your fingertips.
5. Find the project that is right for YOU
Volunteering abroad is very fulfilling no matter what project you undertake, but if the project speaks to you on a personal and emotional level, you are more likely to get more out of it. You may intentionally seek a volunteer project that aligns with your passions, giving you both meaningful personal and professional experience in that field. On the other hand, you may simply want to experience volunteering abroad and happen to discover a passion while undertaking a certain project.
It may be that you want to give back in a way that is personal to you. For example, maybe you have endured a medical condition and want to help others get through a similar experience, or maybe you had a difficult childhood and want to bring a glimmer of happiness into the lives of children who have already endured too much. You don’t have to select a program this way, but if it means something to you on a personal level, your experience will not only be memorable but a process of healing as well.
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