1. Cultural exposure.
By volunteering abroad you gain a wider perception of the country you’re in. You are not only interacting with locals, but you are interacting with them on a level that is much more complex and sophisticated rather than the more often superficial interactions you would have with them through other means of travelling. Before you know it, you are returning home with a broader vision of the country and as a result, you are more cultured.
2. Personal Growth.
Volunteering abroad changes a lot within a person. Compassion, knowledge, confidence and independence are just some of the characteristics of someone who volunteers abroad will gain. You learn how to socialize with different people with different ethnicities and cultures. You learn so much about yourself and who you aspire to be.
3. Learn a language.
More often than not, you will be volunteer in a country where English is not its main language. If you are a native English speaking individual, then this opens the doors for the possibility of improving a second or third language. Being able to communicate with people around the world is one of the most beautiful and incredible things, and something to take advantage of when volunteering abroad!
4. Out of your comfort zone.
I’m assuming you’ve heard the quote: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Am I right? Who hasn’t? I love this quote. It is so unequivocally true. Although it is terrifying breaking out of your comfort zone, and your heart will race, and your palms will most likely sweat, it is one of the most important things people need to do in their lives in order to grow as an individual. The further outside our comfort zone we get, the more we learn about the world around us, and about ourselves.
Volunteering abroad is one of the most fun ways to get an education. I could list 100 things you learn when you are travelling and volunteering in another country. You learn about systemic social, economic and historical issues around the world. You learn about a culture or cultures, about yourself, about travelling, about life, about culture shock, etc, etc, etc. Not only is it a fun way to learn, but this kind of knowledge is practical and will benefit you more than you will realize when you return home.
6. Make a difference.
This is probably the main reason why people want to volunteer abroad. To help others!!! Some organizations are more beneficial and substantial than others, however, most are making a positive change in the lives of others, and by volunteering abroad you too can be apart of that movement.
7. Skills and Experience.
The skills and experience you will have gained from volunteering abroad are so useful in almost any future endeavours you might have. Not to mention it will look great on your CV/Resume.
8. Make new international friends.
When you volunteer abroad, you experience a lot of emotional and powerful moments. You will be connecting with the people you are volunteering with on levels you have never connected with anyone before. These relationships and bonds you make with the other volunteers will be so strong after having gone through the ups and downs of volunteering abroad. It’s also really awesome having friends from all corners of the world, people that you can learn from and reconnect with in the future.
9. Great for people travelling solo.
Volunteering abroad is a great way to travel. It’s a perfect way to really see a country and do it solo. If you are one of the many people who find travelling by yourself intimidating and don’t have people to travel with, consider volunteering abroad. You will have a support system there and make tons of friends. It might even break you out of your travel comfort zone enough to book your next trip somewhere as a solo traveller!
10. It’s Affordable.
Depending on the organization you volunteer with, your trip can be quite inexpensive compared to other trips in the same country. It’s also, in my opinion, a great price for what you are getting which is an experience like none other.
Have you volunteered abroad? Where have you been?