11 Surprising Things That Will Happen To You When Volunteering Abroad
You may have always thought that volunteering abroad has a meaningful, positive impact on the host community and it does, but did you know there are many benefits for the volunteer as well?
If you don’t believe us, here are our top 11 things that volunteers learn while volunteering abroad.
1. You’ll gain a new skill or develop an existing one.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”.
Don’t stop learning just because you have left formal education. Now you have the opportunity to choose what you want to learn about!
2. Your career options will be boosted.
Volunteering abroad gives you the option to try out new fields of work and gain valuable life experience in the process. Hey, better than sitting in an office in an unpaid internship, surely?
3. You acquire a whole range of new hobbies and interests.
Explore new opportunities and expand your horizons whilst volunteering. Get stuck in with something you enjoy, pass on your knowledge and inspire someone else or be inspired by the people you meet on the way. Who knows maybe you’ll impress the organisation so much that they offer you a paid, full-time job.
4. You meet a diverse range of people.
Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all walks of life. Working together you get to develop your interpersonal skills and make friends from all over the world. Perfect for those moments when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and remember you have a friend of a friend you met volunteering abroad who lives round the corner.
5. You practice important employability skills.
You know all those buzzwords that teachers go on about all the time; ‘teamwork, problem solving, communication’? You get the opportunity to put these into practice while volunteering abroad and have some great examples up your sleeve at your first, second or third job interview. And no, helping your tipsy friend to the next bar does not count as ‘teamwork’, no matter how many of you it took.
6. You realise you have a number of hidden talents.
You learn a lot about yourself while volunteering abroad; confidence, resilience, self-reliance, the ability to find yourself in tricky situations and then find a way out again.
7. You’ll discover what kind of leader you are.
You may not think of yourself as the charging-into-battle kind of leader but volunteering abroad can give you that confidence boost to step up – a great benefit for that first job or heading off to university.
8. You figure out how to successfully work in a team and build relationships.
No, not that kind of relationship. Working relationships, with other volunteers and project partners. Showing the ability to work as a close knit team over the course of a project is definitely a big plus to your CV, and something that can (and should) be talked about in interviews.
9. You learn a lot about how to manage yourself.
Grow as a person and learn to look after yourself. Not in a mushy ‘Gap-Yah’ kinda way but in a grown-up, mature kind of way. You know, learning to be independent and self-reliant and all that. You don’t want to be the one stood in a shared kitchen at uni asking how to cook Super Noodles, do you?
10. You learn to adapt and will become a pro at problem solving.
Another one of those skills that ALWAYS gets asked about at interviews, and what better way to show your prospective employer how brilliant you are by telling them about that time you had to think up a maths lesson in Spanish at the last minute because the teacher called in sick.
11. At the end of it, your communication skills will be unrivalled.
As a volunteer abroad your communication skills will be in high demand, both by those around you and yourself as you battle the complexities of working in a multicultural team in another country. No matter what you are doing, there is guaranteed to be at least one occasion where you need to resort to charades or mime. In fact, you should be disappointed if there isn’t!
Lattitude Global Volunteering is an international youth development charity, and is currently recruiting for placements in each of our 16 host countries for 2016 and 2017.
Find out more by clicking the button below.
No matter what you are going to do on your year out, just don’t waste it! Take the opportunity to do something amazing and volunteer abroad for a week, a month or an entire year. Gain new skills, create lasting friendships and make some incredible memories.