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Why do you want to volunteer abroad?

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Volunteer Abroad

Think about the last time you’ve donated your time or energy towards a good cause. Perhaps you participated in a charity event for your high school’s honor society, did community service or volunteered somewhere locally, either through a university, religious organization or any other group. How did the experience affect you – did you feel inspired or joyful when you saw how positively your actions affected other people? Most volunteers abroad return from projects with a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and personal fulfilment from having made a difference in the world.

In this article, we will provide you with some basic, tangible, widely shared answers as to why you should volunteer abroad; however, nothing is more powerful than your inner motivation, which is unique to your own personality and life experience. Perhaps you had a great teacher who changed your life, and this is why you are compelled to teach impoverished children in Kenya. Or maybe someone close to you has been affected by an illness, and this is why you want to work on an educational workshop about HIV/AIDS . Your own personal motivation is a powerful tool that will keep you focused, every step of the journey, from taking all the preliminary steps, to planning for the trip, to completing an exciting and challenging volunteer project.

Below are some of the main answers to the question: why do you want to volunteer abroad.

  1. You’ll be giving Something Back: from teaching English to working with disadvantaged children, every single task you perform is a selfless act of love and compassion that creates positive change in the world. Essentially, you are paying forward all the wonderful acts of kindness people have done for you at one point in time, and showing gratitude towards the world for all that you’ve been personally blessed with.
  2. You’ll Have Unique Opportunities for Cultural Immersion Getting involved with a project where you’re directly helping a local community is the best way to bond with people and get familiar with their traditions, art, food and language. If you’re working with children or teens, they’ll be thrilled to share things about their culture and also learn about yours. You will also have the opportunity of a warm and meaningful cultural exchange with your host family. This is what it means to be a traveller, not simply a tourist – you will experience a new culture from the inside.
  3. You will use Your Skills to Benefit Others. Volunteering abroad might involve a job that you have previous training in, such as teaching, medical assistance or construction work. By volunteering your time, talents and efforts, you are giving those less fortunate a chance to benefit from something they don’t have the means to facilitate for themselves. You have your whole life to teach for a pay check, but how absolutely wonderful is it to be able to travel abroad and teach for free to kids who can’t afford a decent education? It’s priceless.
  4. You’ll feel a Sense of Achievement This is not just any simple vacation where you’re taking tours and having local people cater to your needs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, volunteering abroad is making daily contributions towards local communities and helping to enhance their quality of life. You get to walk away with the memories of how much an impact you made, not just photos and souvenirs from a trip – and this great sense of achievement is why volunteer abroad is the right choice for you!
  5. You’ll Experience Personal Growth. Volunteering abroad means spending an extended time in a foreign country to complete a project that involves a level of poverty and crisis intervention unlike anything you’ve likely been exposed to at home. Many volunteers say that after coming back from such experience, they are more personally evolved, independent and courageous, and that they have a heightened sense of awareness to problems in the world.
  6. You’ll Have Opportunities that are Unique to Volunteering Abroad. You will get to do and experience things that are usually off limits to travellers and very difficult to find in an ordinary job. Unless you have a high level biology degree, volunteering for a conservation project is probably the only time you’ll get to be a caregiver to turtles in Costa Rica and Mexico, lions in Kenya or Pandas in China. Volunteering is a VIP pass into the exciting natural world and an act of pure altruism rolled into one memorable and incomparable experience.
  7. You will stand out from the Crowd. Volunteering abroad means taking a break from work or school to fulfil a humanitarian, selfless mission by participating in a grassroot project and helping children and communities. Your friends and family will respect you for doing this – you might even inspire some of them to follow in your footsteps. Lead by example and show the people around you how wonderfully fulfilling it is to volunteer abroad.
  8. You have the opportunity to learn a foreign language. While volunteering abroad, you will be exposed to the local language, which is the fastest way to learn. It’s always advisable to get a dictionary or phrasebook, but you can go one step further and take a class, study online or practice with your host family, new friends and other local people you interact with along your travels.
  9. You will experience life out of your comfort zone. Volunteering abroad entails moving to a country where you don’t know a soul; your host family and their lifestyle will also be new to you. It’s a complete deviation from your normal routine and the comforts you’re likely used to, which could range from fast speed reliable Wi-Fi to central heating or air-conditioning. You’ll become aware of things you take for granted at home, such as getting around easily and communicating without language barriers. Being adaptable to your new surroundings and becoming a good problem solver is all part of your personal growth experience.
  10. You will gain skills and experience. As a volunteer abroad, you will be working on a grassroots project where you’ll play multiple roles. Orphanage work usually requires both childcare and teaching, and animal conservation projects entail a combination of caring for animals and studying their habits. Everything you do will enhance your resume and possibly prepare you for future career opportunities.
  11. You will be more spiritual. Giving selflessly to others promotes spiritual awareness. Time and dedication towards something outside of yourself builds faith in a higher power, even if it’s not tied to a traditional religion. You’ll notice wonderful things happening in your own life that simply cannot be coincidental to your volunteer abroad project, and this will deepen your belief in the universal power of good will or as some like to say, Karma.
  12. You will make a Positive Impact. In the short time you are volunteering, you will see small and heart-warming signs of change, like students developing their English skills or disabled children learning how to function better socially. But most of these projects go on for several years, so even if you don’t personally witness the drastic changes, know that you are making a solid contribution towards a sustainable community, a better school or an orphanage that’s well staffed with proper care. You are part of a collective effort towards a sustainable future.
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