Volunteering Abroad

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Hey! Want to EXPLORE another country? I have heard great experiences from peers and friends lately. If you already enjoy volunteering and also have a passion for traveling, why not enjoy them both more often? Think of some questions to help you decide if this is something you should look into.

Obviously, finances are an immediate question. But take a moment to imagine yourself somewhere else, anywhere else. What do you see?

My first thoughts were thinking back to my undergraduate study abroad program. I thought of the week I spent in Croatia learning about a college program’s improvements with sustainability practices in their community. These can be short –term opportunities to education and travel more. Below are some reasons volunteering abroad is worth looking into.

  • Volunteers educate vulnerable populations using community outreach. Search for NGOs where you feel passionate on their mission and then assist locally. In graduate school, I worked on a proposal with a nonprofit in India. It was one of the most culturally challenging lessons and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I felt growth and emotions I never had before. I became new and felt more part of the world. Seek project opportunities with NGOs: https://www.volunteerforever.com/article_post/2016-best-volunteer-abroad-programs-organizations-projects#sthash.fye9k6HH.dpuf
  • If you are seeking more language opportunities, volunteer teaching is becoming a popular volunteer project abroad. From helping with ESL conversation classes and running math and science courses to teaching computer skills, you can educate while experiencing a new culture. Whether you’re a recent graduate, a mid-career professional with an in demand skill, or a retiree with years of teaching experience, find a volunteer teaching program abroad and experience a new culture. Check out: GVN, IVHQ, UBELONG.
  • I enjoy environmental volunteering. These are great short term opportunities. Similar to Alternative Spring Break, as a sophomore I remember fondly practicing Service Learning in Costa Rica for a month. Similar to short- one week volunteer projects, environmental volunteers assist in educating the local community about environmental conservation – See more at: https://www.volunteerforever.com/article_post/2016-best-volunteer-abroad-programs-organizations-projects#sthash.fye9k6HH.dpuf
  • Some popular areas with an abundance of volunteering opportunities to teach English are in Eastern Europe. Health Education is popular in Africa, Spanish speaking opportunities are in demand in South America, and in Asia: China and Thailand have had an increase in sports and music opportunities.

As you can start seeing the questions begin to pile up, and the questions and research starts getting more exciting. Since it’s already mid-summer, see if this is a project in the next 6 months? If you decide this is what you want. Knowing you are a valuable contribution to supporting the need for the long-term goals a country you visit gives you a new perspective.

Happy Traveling!

Written by: Candice Torres

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