It has long since been acknowledged that travelling broadens the mind and feeds the soul. While your annual summer break is barely enough to give you respite from the daily grind, many people get to a stage in their careers when they decide that a year’s sabbatical would give them time and space to reflect on where they are, and where they want to go next.
Planning a year abroad can be overwhelming when you consider the wealth of opportunities available. You may already have strong ideas about what you want to do and where you want to go. However, a year is a long time to be wandering aimlessly seeking inspiration for your next move. Volunteering holidays present you with the perfect opportunity to travel to more obscure places in the world, meet like minded people, utilize and share your skills and experience.
Benefits of volunteering overseas
There are a myriad benefits to taking time out and travelling the world through volunteer programs.
- You will discover corners of the world that you may never have considered visiting in the first place. Volunteer programs often take you off the well worn tourist tracks and into more indigenous territories where you’ll get a real flavor of local life.
- You are giving back to the local economy. Your volunteer fees are re-invested back into the organization which helps to boos the local economy through employment and buying supplies.
- Often charities are dealing with issues that are talked about in general terms back in the developed world. Volunteering gives you a deeper insight – and a much mor real understanding – of these issues. Often they can spark a real sea change in how you might be able to further causes and advocate for real change when you return back to your home country.
- You will make friends for life, and your global perspective will be changed for ever.
Using your work skills to give back
Many international charities desperately need the skills and knowledge that developed countries take for granted. Everything from administration, to marketing and media, videography, international law, construction – the contribution from experts and professionals makes a significant impact to the success of ongoing projects.
As a result you can apply to programs encourage volunteers to donate to their charities and spend a week, fortnight, month or longer helping out with the running of the charity itself, or on a particular project.
Whether it is a assisting with the construction of new wells for a water charity, or providing veterinary care for a wildlife charity, if you are keen to pass on your skills and knowledge then participating in an internships abroad program offers create scope and variety.
You can seek out volunteer opportunities which do not require any payment, though this requires you to do the hard work and research. And you will still have to pay for your own food, accommodation and other costs.
Getting close to wildlife
While saving costs is important, it is equally vital to understand that volunteering is a valuable contributor to many charities worldwide, and many smaller organisations rely on their volunteers as a valuable source of income. Imagine running a wildlife sanctuary where you rescue and care for elephants. The income that is generated by animal lovers who would genuinely appreciate the privilege of spending time, and working with this noble creature for days and weeks at a time is put straight back into looking after the animals.