Want to volunteer abroad but have no idea where to go? Today, there are several NGOs and volunteer placement organizations set up across various parts of the globe that it is hard to zero in one a specific location. Choosing a destination for your holidays and for overseas volunteering are two completely different things. Choosing your volunteer destination is also crucial because you want to achieve the goal behind your volunteer efforts.
To choose a volunteer abroad program that fits into your expectations and goals, you can narrow down your options according to a few factors.
If you are interested in learning a new language, you can choose to volunteer in Fiji, or countries in South America or Asia. When you volunteer in these countries, you must learn their language to be able to communicate with the locals more effectively. As a volunteer, you must immerse yourself into the local culture and live like a local. Speaking their language is the most basic step to that immersion.
On the flip side, if you have trouble learning a new language, you can start your volunteer efforts in countries that speak English.
Grassroots or Developed
This is another important factor you have to take into account and it does have a link to the factor above. One of the things that individuals volunteering in Fiji, Thailand, Cambodia or some other third world countries is the culture shock. The shift from one type of society to another is difficult but even more so when you have to do volunteer work. Choosing to volunteer your efforts in a slightly developed country first might allow you to gradually adjust to your volunteer life. When you get more experience and you know what to expect, you would be able to delve into volunteering for third world countries.
This is a practical factor to consider because not everyone can adapt to a dramatic shift in climate. Make sure you research important details before your Fiji travel, or before you volunteer in some other destination abroad. Look at the season and your expected date of travel. The physical condition (such as climate) has a huge impact on a person’s psychological state. Hence, you want to know ahead of time if you would be able to cope with the climate difference. It is also crucial in forging a positive experience during your volunteer stint.
Many experts suggest looking at your skill set when you are planning to volunteer abroad. For example, if you have background in teaching, you could teach during your volunteer stint. You should also base the opportunities you choose from on your own personal interest. When you are working on something that you are passionate about, or a cause that is in line with your philosophy and beliefs in life, you will become more effective at it. Is it dancing, teaching, or cooking? No matter how difficult your life as a volunteer is, when it’s something you enjoy, you will stick to it.
Becoming a volunteer is no easy task. But when you choose the right destination, you will not only help other people in need but also enjoy yourself while doing it.