Volunteering abroad – The why, how and what of volunteering abroad
Everything you need to know about volunteering abroad!
Are you – like us – dreaming of an opportunity to live and work in another country for some time? And are you looking for ways to make this dream become reality? It might be easier than you think: consider volunteering abroad for a while! It is a perfect, cheap and uncomplicated way to make your dream possible. In this article we created an overview of the benefits of volunteering abroad and tools of how to create the perfect volunteering abroad experience yourself!
We also created a test which helps you in finding out what is important to you, what are your reasons of volunteering abroad.
You can start right away with the free ‘Volunteering Abroad Test’, but you can also read our blog and then do the Volunteering Abroad Test.
Why volunteering abroad?
It’s cheap. It’s fun. It’s satisfying. It’s adventurious. There are numerous reasons to go volunteering abroad! But in case you still need to convince yourself, your parents, your friends or your dog that you want to do this, here is a number of benefits that proof volunteering abroad is an excellent idea.
Benefits of volunteering abroad
- Make the world a better place – Cheesy, but true. There are many non profit organizations in need of some helping hands to impact people’s lives. Use your time to make a difference!
- Grow in self-knowledge – Through working in a different context, you gain more understanding of who you are, why you do the things you do and what your gifts, strengths and weaknesses are.
- Get international experience – Volunteering in an international team will help you to learn more about intercultural interaction, about your own culture and how to relate to people from other cultures, backgrounds and mindsets.
- Grow your talents – Choosing the right type of volunteering work could help you to grow in your talents and gifts or will help you to learn new things (a new language, lead a team etc.).
- Spice up your resume or cv – Sustainability is becoming a core value for most companies worldwide. Extra-curricular activities like volunteering abroad show your future employer that you care about other people and the world you live in.
- Improve your communication skills – Learn to speak in front of groups, learn or improve new languages and daily interacting with people from all over the globe. By meeting people from all around the world, you will learn the importance of listening to understand.
- Explore a foreign country in a deeper way – Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to experience a country in a deeper way. By using your time off wisely you can explore the country off the beaten track and gain more understanding of the culture, people, history etc.
Is volunteering abroad something for you?
Volunteering abroad is not just for a specific type of person: everyone could (and should) do it! There are so many volunteering opportunities and volunteering organizations, that there are perfect options for everyone who is interested in volunteering abroad. Whether you should go volunteering abroad is out of question. Rather ask yourself: where to go and what to do? There are so many options!
How to choose the right volunteering opportunity?
You might wonder: “If there are so many options, how can I choose the right volunteering opportunity?” Finding a perfect and affordable volunteering opportunity can feel like a tough exercise, especially because there are so many agencies and intermediaries. These agencies often ask high fees, without any guarantee for better quality. While there are numerous volunteer organizations who offer excellent cheap volunteering opportunities, for example in exchange for accommodation and small food fees. So, avoid high expenses and find the perfect volunteering abroad opportunities yourselves. How? No stress! We created a step-by-step checklist, to help you finding the perfect and cheap volunteering abroad opportunity.
Step-by-step guide to find a perfect and cheap volunteering opportunity
Step 1: select your favorite type of volunteering
Before you start searching for volunteering opportunities, ask yourself in what type of volunteering work are you interested. For what good cause would you like to work? To what kind of charity or volunteering organization would you like to donate your time and talents?
It is an important question. Volunteering in a work field that is close to your heart will be a first step to finding a successful volunteering opportunity. If you feel like you don’t have any idea what to answer to this question, maybe the global Sustainable Development Goals can help you (see picture below). It is a list of areas global issues we need to invest in to create a better and more sustainable future. Of course this list doesn’t contain all possible options, but it might lead to valuable ideas. You can use it as inspiration to create your own list. Make a top 3 of your favorite goals, to see which topics interest you the most. Write down your ideas of how you could contribute to solving this problem.
An example of how you could translate the sustainable development goals into volunteering topics:
|Favorite goals||Peace, justice||Good health||Climate action|
|Ideas to contribute while volunteering abroad||– Local church or ministry
– Human trafficking
|– Work in a local hospital
– Join a sports program for children in slums
|– Beach waste clean up
– Volunteer in wildlife conservation
Step 2: create your top 3 of countries
This might be an obvious step, but it will help you to specify your search in the next step. Make a shortlist of three countries you would like to go to. If you really don’t have a clue, start with making a list of requirements for the country that you want to visit (f.e. climate, continent, specific language, developing nation or not etc.). Or use simply a map of the world and choose three countries that seem the most appealing to you. Important: don’t forget to check if you are able to get a visa for this country with your nationality! If you like to come to Amsterdam, click here to find out if you would be able to get a visa.
Step 3: write down your talents and passions
Are you good in photography? Would you like to work with children or animals? Write down some of your passions and talents! When selecting volunteering options, it will help you to see what suits you best!
Step 4: start your search for opportunities
There are a lot of volunteering opportunities out there, and choosing one can become overwhelming if you don’t specify your search. When using Google to find the perfect volunteering abroad opportunity, use the input of step 1, 2 and possibly 3 to be as specific as possible. Use different search queries and write down the opportunities that caught your eye.
Step 5: Choose, apply and go!
If you used our template, you now have one overview of your favorite opportunities. Based on your requirements (costs, type of work) you can decide which opportunities suits you best. Check out the application procedure and make sure you apply in time. And before you know it, you are ready to go!
Interested in volunteer opportunities?
One thing is sure: volunteering abroad is an experience of a lifetime. If you love to meet new people, experience different cultures, live in an international community and make the world a better place, volunteering abroad is an experience you shouldn’t miss out! We hope that our step-by-step guide will help you finding the perfect volunteering opportunity.
If you love to work with people from all over the world and are looking for volunteering work in Amsterdam, join our international volunteering team! Meet new people, live in an international community, experience various cultures and make a difference. Check out our volunteer opportunities here.