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Volunteering Abroad

If you’re up for a little adventure, there are many fulfilling volunteer experiences to be had abroad. Volunteering abroad is a great way to experience another country, make new friends, and learn the basics of a foreign language. If you want to help other people in a completely new setting, then you might want to look into it.

You should first decide on your destination and the duration of your stay, as well as the time of year you’d like to go, local weather conditions and the logistics of getting there. Many volunteer opportunities provide accommodations, but not all do, so it’s another factor to consider if cost is a potentially limiting factor.

Next, figure out what you want to do on your trip. There are experiences for all passions. Many educational opportunities allow you to teach English or other subjects to children just about anywhere in the world. If conservation is your passion, you could volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka. There are more options than you can imagine. If you’ve had a global issue on your mind for years, sites like Go Abroad, Go Overseas, and Projects Abroad are good places to look for programs that may fit the bill.

Another way to approach volunteering abroad is to participate in a program that provides lodging in exchange for work. This may entail harvesting grapes at an Italian vineyard, preparing vegetables for market in Iceland, or working on a cocoa farm in Jamaica. These opportunities are best for individuals who are in generally good physical shape and enjoy spending time outdoors. Curiosity and a love of gardening doesn’t hurt, either. A good place to explore such options is WWOOF.

An alternative is to us a specialized skill to improve the lives of others. This type of arrangement doesn’t have to be through another agency. Many bed and breakfast owners will happily barter a stay at their accommodations in exchange for services, whether that means assistance with their web page, interior decorating, or language skills. Get creative and think of a skill you have to offer. Of course, you need to prepare yourself for rejection and make an offer to several candidates.

When everything is arranged and you’re off to volunteer abroad, consider keeping a journal of your adventure. An online blog is a great way to do this. Setting up a blog is easy, and it’s a great way to keep your family and friends informed as you’re having these wonderful experiences.  If you’d rather go old school and keep a paper diary, that’s great. When you come home, you can have everyone over to tell your stories in person.

You may find that volunteering in another country opens your eyes to a world of possibilities.

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