While studying abroad is the most prominent form of student travel promoted by colleges, volunteering abroad is a great way to gain some experience while traveling on a smaller budget. Whether you are interested in learning a language, immersing yourself in a different culture or are simply looking for an international adventure, volunteering abroad can be a great way to meet your needs and interests.
Connect with the world.
Volunteering abroad offers unique opportunities for individuals to become connected with the world, in different ways than studying abroad or tourism. Unlike the latter two examples, by volunteering abroad you are taking an active and supportive role in a community. While you will still get opportunities to see the sights, as a volunteer you will also get to interact with the places you visit. Volunteer abroad experiences come in many different forms, varying in length of stay and type of project. To learn more about volunteering abroad opportunities visit GoAbroad.com.
An affordable way to travel.
Volunteering abroad can be one of the most affordable ways to travel. Most programs will charge you a fee that covers basic expenses such as room and board or program services. Besides the program fee you may have to pay for your plane ticket, visa and any other tourist activities or items you wish to purchase. However, the cost of volunteering abroad can be countered by fundraising for your trip and tax-deductible program fees for some U.S. residents.
Embrace the culture.
As an international volunteer you will have opportunities to build relationships with locals. Instead of travelling from one city to another as a tourist, many volunteer abroad programs place you in one location for the entire duration of your trip. By remaining stationary and working on projects that benefit a community, you are more likely to come into contact with locals who are willing to spend time getting to know you.
Learn about yourself.
Experiencing a new culture is also a good way to learn about who you are as a person. Volunteering abroad puts you in a variety of new experiences with new people, which builds your perspective of who you are and the culture you come from in relation to the world.
Build up your resume.
Volunteer work and international experience are two important additions to your resume that will help you stand out. By going abroad you are showing that you are a flexible individual who is respectful of other cultures and willing to learn. Also, as a volunteer you are showing your compassion, patience and dedication to something greater than yourself.
Gaining and/or improving skills.
Depending upon your interests and career aspirations you may be able to find a volunteer abroad program that may help you gain or improve skills that could help you later in life. Volunteering abroad can give you an opportunity to practice a new language with native speakers or get hands on experience in fields like conversation, public health and teaching.