Top 6 things you wish you knew about volunteering abroad
1. Young people don’t volunteer abroad?
4 out of 10 people went on volunteering during 2017/18 and it would be a bit surprising but they were not in their golden young age.
Sadly, only 15% were aged 25-34 years old. It is not a surprise this is the period when each of us wants to succeed in their career the most. But does it really mean that we have no spare hours to dedicate it to those in need? Or maybe Netflix and Spotify take all our free minutes and captivate with their new-released piece of art?
So maybe we rather invest our hard earned money than the time? True, only UK citizens spent over £22.6bn in charities and that is 1.2% of GDP!!! It deserves respect!
2. Is it all about giving?
Funny but volunteering is not about only Give! Give! Give! It is not about how much money you can spend on that NGO, it is not about how much food you can bring. Volunteering is meant to be something deeper and a bit braver. It is about commitment. 24/7 every single day you have to put all your heart in helping others. The good things should not stop the very first day you receive your certificate and smiles from your colleagues. It is a way of living. It is a way of 24/7 commitment.
3. Can everyone be a volunteer?
Yes! But choose your volunteering area wisely. It is not a school where everyone will try to make you stay and be satisfied. It is a place with opened doors. You are sick and tired of it? Please, we are not pushing anyone.
But I ensure you if you find proper volunteering for yourself, you won’t want to leave.
This year you can either be a small kinds teacher, a cleaning ocean diver, a hospital helper, a mountains rescuer, an elephant best friend, or zookeeper in jungles. You can help people build a house out of palm trees, or teach students colors in English and tell them about your cuisine. You can talk about tigers while giving a safari ride or you can clean a pond in Asia.
It is up to you, my dear friend!
4. It might be not easy to communicate
Depending on your country of choice, you might not understand the local language. And the locals most probably won’t speak English. Is it the end of the world? No!
We, human being, are programmed in a way to understand the unknown things and create logical chains. Volunteering will teach you how to say you are hungry and thirsty with 20 different gestures. Locals will invite you for a car ride, or will take you on a birthday celebration, or will show you the magnificent waterfall using mimics, body language and the fire in their eyes. You might not know what exactly is going to happen, but trust me, you will definitely go for it.
So relax and say Yes!
5. Don’t do it just for your CV or to impress friends/family
Volunteering could be a pretty tough thing. It might be cold, exhausting, confusing. So the motivation of adding one more line in your CV or to post 5 more cool photos on Facebook won’t be enough. You will break the very next day.
You have to enjoy the whole process of pushing the limits, of getting out of the bubble, of becoming stronger together with those new made friends.
If your career is the only motivating factor – go complete some online courses, participate in local events organization, network with people on LinkedIn. There is no must to become a volunteer abroad if you don’t feel so.
6. Is volunteering a life-changing experience?
I hope it will be for you! It is definitely time that you will never regret of – young, teenagers, mid-age, or even elderly come to one place to impact and to inspire. You are going to face so many cultural differences, languages, and life attitudes. So just absorb all the kind vibes and make your best to become one big family. Those weeks spent on a new bed or couch, walking unknown streets, and picking up exotic fruits, or nuts, or vegetables and mixing it all with delicious coconut milk, or goat milk, or alpaca milk. It will be an overwhelming experience full of new ideas, new perspectives, and people who will share your will to travel.
So, remember, we are all capable of sharing and giving. It is a skill that must be learned and then developed.
It is like a vibrating muscle that must be trained regularly and adapted depending on the exercises.
Volunteering abroad is nothing but breaking out of your bubble and getting one more step closer to all those nations.