The Lowdown On Volunteering Abroad

Image Credit: Canva

Image Credit: Canva

If you are looking for an opportunity to experience a new culture and broaden your horizons, while also contributing to a new community in a positive way, then perhaps volunteering abroad is the right option for you. I’m sure that you’ve already heard of volunteering abroad before and wanted to find out more about it. However, there is such an overwhelming amount of information available, that it makes it hard to sift through all of it to find the information that is relevant to you. Chiefly: What exactly is volunteering abroad? What are the different programs offered? And, how do I get involved? This article makes learning about volunteering abroad easy, as it covers these three main questions that you need to know in order to make a decision. 

So, What Exactly Is Volunteering Abroad?

Volunteering abroad is a lot like normal volunteering, in that you are spending your time trying to make a positive difference in a community.  Volunteering can range from offering healthcare, caring for the animals, or even teaching children. With volunteering, you are not being paid, so it is important that you find something that you are passionate about.

The major differences between volunteering abroad and normal volunteering starts with the word abroad. This means that you are going to be traveling to a different country, leaving behind your family and friends and that you will be expected to adapt to a foreign environment. Also, volunteering abroad differs from normal volunteering, as you are expected to devote a fair amount of money towards funding it. For instance, you will be expected to pay for your own flights, and to pay a fee to the organization, which should typically cover your accommodation and meals (depending on the organization).

What Kind Of Volunteer Programs Are Offered?

Now that you know what volunteering programs are, you will probably want to know whether they offer the right kind of volunteering options for you. Luckily, there is a ton of diversity offered among the volunteering programs abroad. For the animal lovers, there are conservation projects for elephants in Thailand, sea turtles in Costa Rica, orangutans in Indonesia, and big cats in South Africa. If you love kids, then you can volunteer for community work, and teach English to the impoverished children of countries like Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Ecuador, and Zanzibar.

If you want to make a practical difference in the lives of underprivileged families and are not afraid of getting your hands dirty, then sign up for any of the building projects in countries like Nepal, Kenya, and Costa Rica. If environmental conservation is high on your list of priorities, then conservation projects are rife in Australia, New Zealand, and the Amazon. This is just a brief breakdown of the different categories of volunteering programs available.  But whatever your volunteering choice is, make sure that it is something that you are truly passionate and interested in. 

How To Get Involved In Volunteering Abroad

If there are volunteering abroad options available at your school, university, or within your community than I fully encourage you to take advantage of those. However, if there are no volunteering abroad options that are close to home for you, then you should sign up via one of the many online volunteer abroad organizations. Some of the most popular and well-trusted organizations include i-to-i, GoEco, Global Volunteers, Volunteer HQ, and Go Overseas.

Take a browse among the many different volunteering abroad options they have to offer and decide which you feel most passionate about, and best fits into your vision, and career plan if you have one. Make sure to take cost, (will fluctuate depending on the organization and other factors) time length, and destination into account when making decisions. When choosing an organization, remember that their main role is to offer you a joint travel and volunteer experience, and to make sure that you are both safe and supported while you are carrying out your adventure.

No matter what your skills, experience or interests are, volunteering abroad programs are designed with you in mind. They offer a lot of freedom to pick and choose and keep in mind that you still have your own life back at home. The decision to volunteer abroad is a big one, but one that will hopefully give you a personal insight into how other cultures live, and a new perspective on the world and its inhabitants.