Each year thousands of people make the decision to volunteer abroad and many of these people are students. It is a great way to help others and get to see the world. Volunteering is also becoming a more popular option for students during winter and spring break and summer vacation. Many are also opting to volunteer as a great gap year program either between high school and college or between college and grad school. While every student will have different reasons they choose to lend a hand abroad, there are some overarching reasons that greatly influence many students’ decisions. Here are some of the top reasons you should consider volunteering abroad.
Many of us have been very lucky in life, always having a roof over our heads, enough food to eat and the ability to get an education but that is not true for everyone in the world. While there are significant problems in our country, the issues associated with poverty can get even worse in other countries. By choosing to volunteer you will be able to help those who need it most. You might be able to change someone’s life significantly and help them get an education or simply have the basic needs of food and shelter.
Feel Good About Yourself
The great thing about helping others is that when you do so, you feel like you are actually helping yourself. That is because there is a great sense of accomplishment and purpose that comes with knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life. Compare how you would feel about spending your break volunteering as opposed to sitting on a beach somewhere or even worse, just sitting at home and watching TV. If you spend the time on a beach, sure you will end up with a great tan but you won’t have accomplished anything. When you volunteer, you know you made a difference.
One of the biggest reasons that students opt to volunteer abroad instead of in their own country is the opportunity to travel. Simply by volunteering in a new place you will be able to see a country you may not have otherwise seen. Chances are although you will be volunteering, you will still have time off that you can use to explore the local area or even travel to other parts of the country. Best of all, you won’t feel as guilty about the travel costs because you won’t be doing it just for fun; you will be doing it to make a difference.
Learn Language And Culture
When you go to a new country, they will always have at least a slightly different culture than what you are used to and in most cases they will speak another language. This means that you will have plenty of learning opportunities, both to learn a new language and to explore a new culture. You can try to make a conscious effort to learn the language but even if you don’t take classes, you will still absorb it to some extent. It is impossible to travel abroad without learning and extending your world view, making you a better-rounded person.
Plenty Of Options
The great thing about volunteering is that there are plenty of options in terms of where you want to go, what you want to do and how long you want to spend. You can go for anywhere from one week (perfect for spring break) to a few months (summer vacation) or even for a gap year. Volunteers are needed in every country in the world so there is almost no limit to where you will go. Best of all, no matter what you like to do you will be able to find an opportunity to do it. Some of the most popular options include working with kids, the elderly or disabled, teaching, building homes and organizing food distribution. There are also locations where you can do environmental work or social work. It all depends on what you want to do.
The great thing about volunteering is that there are actually many organizations that will pay for you to go. In many cases this will include some of the following: flights, visa, insurance, food, a place to stay, transportation. Some programs may even be able to give you these. However, it is important to keep in mind that usually the programs that pay for everything will be more intensive and much harder to get accepted into. There are also plenty of options where you pay a set fee that will cover all of those expenses during the length of your stay and in most cases, this is still cheaper than what you would pay for the same length of time in your own country. If you are up to the challenge, you also have the option to organize the trip yourself which can be fairly inexpensive depending on where you are planning to go.
Another plus of volunteering abroad is that it is a great way to get some work experience. This is especially important in today’s difficult job market as having a few weeks of experience in a particular field may give you an edge. If you are going for a gap year, it will be even better, because then your experience will truly count and impress potential employers. It can also help you decide if a given field is right for you and help give you valuable connections that can help you get your foot in the door.
Great On Your Resume
If you think about after graduation when it is time to apply for jobs, you will quickly realize that you need something to make you stand out from the other applicants. Volunteering abroad is that thing because not only will it give you work experience, but it will show that you care about others. Most employers will think more highly of an applicant who has opted to help others instead of simply relaxing on a beach or doing nothing. The experience reflects on your great personality which will make you stand out to any possible employers.