Do you need to get more out of life? Feeling a little unfulfilled? Well why not take time out to do something a bit different? And what if that time out meant you’d be doing something that not only benefits you, but complete strangers as well? I’m talking about learning new skills, meeting new people and visiting new places – I’m talking about doing some voluntary work abroad.
Working abroad on community projects isn’t just about helping people in need or assisting countries in poverty, although that is an obvious benefit to signing up. These trips can help you grow as an individual and teach you a range of life skills you probably never even knew you needed. If you’ve toyed with the idea of heading off to impoverished Swaziland to flex your muscles building wells, or had a hankering for providing education in a remote village in South America, then what’s stopping you from signing up?
Travelling to a foreign country can sometimes be a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re an inexperienced traveller heading off without your family and friends, so signing up with a company, like a Gap Year travel provider, can offer that safety blanket you might need. And if you’re just not sure whether volunteering abroad is right for you, or don’t know what to expect, then here are five excellent reasons for giving up your time.
Enhance Your CV
If you’re planning on working abroad during a gap year, then a volunteer work can be an excellent way to improve that all-important CV. These days, universities as well as prospective employers are crying out for people with life experience. They’ve come to realise that academic qualifications alone aren’t enough, and that people with a broader range of experiences often become the most well-rounded students and employees. Not only that, but it demonstrates a commitment to work that employers will find attractive.
Leaving the comforts of your suburban semi and your mum’s Sunday roast in exchange for a mud hut, a mosquito net and an evening meal of largely unidentifiable foodstuffs may seem concerning at first, but there’s no better way to step out on your own and break away from familiarity for the first time. Volunteer holidays abroad are guided trips so you won’t have to fend entirely for yourself, but you will have the opportunity to deal with all the challenges your new environment will bring you without the safety net of your friends and family to help.
Learn New Skills
Yes, you might find yourself learning skills that have no direct application to life back at home, like how to build a hut from mud and grass or how to dig irrigation channels into a barren field. But activities like these teach you a set of skills that are desirable no matter where in the world you come from. They teach you how to be resilient and self-reliant, how to problem solve effectively, and how to communicate under difficult circumstances, all of which will help you out in the long run.
It’s likely that wherever you end up working will involve you interacting with people who speak different languages, or who have a different cultural background from yourself. Volunteering abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, learn to speak some of the lingo and gain an understanding of how people in different countries live. Living and working in an environment where you’re surrounded by natural speakers is one of the best ways to learn a new language accurately, and instead of repetitive textbook drills, you’ll pick up colloquialisms and regional accents with ease.
Generally, doing voluntary work abroad means paying an upfront fee for your travel, accommodation, food and other essentials. But once this is paid you rarely have to fork out for anything else, except maybe a little spending money. A few months without spending your allowance, means that by the time you head back and get ready for university you could have saved yourself a little bit of emergency cash. Very useful for rent, books, or the bar in the student union!