Learn About the Country Where You Will be Volunteering
Get excited about the country where you will be volunteering abroad. Before leaving to volunteer, research the culture, history and current events. Also, try learning a few important phrases, like “hello” and “I am a volunteer,” in the native language. The more you know before you go, the better you will be able to interact with your new surroundings. Once you have arrived, put this information to use and explore.
As a volunteer you will need to stay open minded in all things. You will be encountering different cultures, new people and unexpected circumstances while volunteering abroad. By staying open minded you will be better able to take advantage of opportunities that can make your experience exceptional.
Focus on the Realistic Differences You Can Make
When planning your volunteer abroad experience, it is easy to idealize the impact you will have as a volunteer. Be realistic in your expectations. You will not be able to save the world overnight. What you will do as a volunteer is impact the lives of the community in which you serve. Know that the small things, like taking time to talk with the locals, will make all the difference.
Build Relationships With Locals and Other Volunteers
Take time to get to know the locals as well as your fellow volunteers by striking up a conversation. Everyone you meet will add their own perspective to your experience. Do not forget to share your contact information. By making connections with people, your volunteer abroad experience will last beyond the time you spent in country.
The most important thing to remember when volunteering abroad is to stay safe. Know where it is safe for you to be. Do not carry items of value around with you, unless necessary. Also, review and follow all safety policies for your program. Being aware of your surroundings is key to keeping yourself safe. For more safety tips while volunteering abroad read these tips by Cross-Continental Solutions.