Besides ticking a country off your travel list and getting to explore, what are the other benefits of volunteer work abroad? We’re glad you asked!
As a volunteer abroad, you'll do more than just travel to another country and explore a different culture. It's more than just helping communities, sharing knowledge, and becoming part of a global network. As you might experience for yourself, volunteering abroad is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a transformative experience that contributes to positive change within you and the world.
How volunteering benefits you on a personal or professional level differs from person to person. It all depends on what you want from the volunteering expedition, and what you put in! For example, some people prioritise giving back to the community, while others focus on gaining skills from volunteering. Both are equally good motivations as to why you should volunteer.
Keen to find out more? Here are a few of the personal and professional advantages of volunteering abroad:
- You can contribute to changing the world little by little
- Gain new skills and work experience while volunteering abroad
- Experience new cultures and perspectives while creating lasting bonds
- Helping others provides fulfilment
- Get a better idea of your personal and professional path
#1 You can contribute to changing the world little by little
Our goal with volunteering abroad is to have a positive, lasting impact. The volunteer work you do should always benefit the community or the environment you work in.
Sometimes your impact will be tangible, for example when you help build a classroom or participate in a beach clean-up. Other times, your efforts will only pay off in the long run. For instance, collecting marine data that influences decisions on conservation policies. In both cases, we have a long-term goal and a sustainable solution in mind.
Our projects allow you to work closely with communities in reaching these goals. When each of our volunteers do a little work, we can achieve a lot!
It is our aim is to change individuals and communities for the better by providing sustainable, long-term solutions. It’s one of the reasons why volunteer work is important. As the saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
#2 Gain new skills and work experience while volunteering abroad
On most of our projects, you'll get to learn new skills or put the skills you have into practice. For example, volunteers who do marine conservation will complete their PADI Diving Certificate. If you already have your diving certificate, you can complete your Advanced PADI Course. Another example is a Nursing internship. Your supervisors will show you crucial skills that you’ll use almost daily as a nurse. These include taking blood pressure and checking blood sugar levels.
The skills learned while volunteering is an amazing addition to your CV and could improve your employability. It also gives you valuable life and work experience. Volunteering offers the opportunity to realise your potential and improve your professional and personal traits like:
- Time management
- Ability to assess situations
- People skills
- Team work
#3 Experience new cultures while creating lasting bonds
The first thing you’ll realise about volunteering in a different country is how vastly different everything is compared to back home. You’ll get to explore different traditions and meet new people. It can be a bit of a culture shock, but our country-specific cultural training helps you adapt quickly. Volunteering teaches you to accept all these differences and embrace the traditions and lifestyle of others.
Sometimes there may be a language barrier, but you'll build relationships while working together. Volunteering is a great way to create meaningful connections Whether your goal is to make the world a better place, or learn new skills, you’ll always remember the people you bonded with while abroad, long after you’ve gotten home.
“As well as some of the incredible interactions with wildlife, a lot of my favourite memories from the trip were simply relaxing with the rest of the volunteers. Over my four weeks I met over 30 different people of all ages and nationalities, and I am certain that despite the distance that we all live from each other, I will know a lot of them for a long time!”
- Caitlin S, African Bushveld Conservation volunteer in Botswana
#4 Helping others provides fulfilment
Volunteering abroad means you are actively fighting pressing issues like climate change, wildlife poaching, or access to healthcare. The fact that you’re making a tangible contribution is fulfilling. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger. An average day at the office, or spending your school holidays at home might not be able to provide you with this.
This experience will open your eyes to the challenges that many face around the world. With our goals in mind, you'll work towards long-term sustainable growth and improvement in communities. This improvement is what you gain from volunteering. Knowing you're making an impact is often all the reward you need.
#5 You have a better idea of your personal and professional path
When you volunteer abroad you’ll get a better idea of what your passions are and what certain jobs entail. That’s one of the benefits of volunteer work for students. If you want to be a zoologist, volunteering on a Conservation Project where you care for endangered animals would be perfect for you. You’d get to see what kind of work you’d be doing, talk to professionals about the field, and eliminate any misconceptions you’ve had about it.
It could even be the opposite, where you find that your passion lies in something completely different to what you first thought. That’s the incredible part of all of it. You discover what you’re capable of through experience and making a positive impact while volunteering abroad. That’s why it’s never too late to volunteer. You could realise your passion at 10 years old or over 50. The only way to discover it is through experience.
Never stop learning; keep moving forward
The benefits of volunteer work for students are diverse. You get to learn professional and personal skills, as well as explore a different country and parts of yourself. You’ll find out more about your passion, and what areas you can help improve. Volunteering is not just for students, it’s for everyone. One of the best ways to grow is to put yourself in new situations and experience new things. That’s when you discover what you’re truly capable of.