Volunteering Abroad 101: 7 Mistakes You Should Avoid Doing
People learn a lot from making mistakes, but sometimes, they are simply too costly. For instance, when you volunteer abroad, some mistakes can ruin your experience and may offend others.
If you want to ensure that you do volunteering right, here are some mistakes you should stay away from.
1. Being Culturally Insensitive
Being culturally insensitive is one of the most common mistakes people make when volunteering abroad. If you are not careful, you will find yourself saying something callous and ignorant.
It can be an insult, a social faux pas, or even a moral fault. As a result, it can have a negative impact on your relationship with the locals. To prevent such a scenario, you have to do some research beforehand.
A good way to do this is by learning about the traditions and the culture of the places you are visiting. This is important because the locals are concerned about their dignity, and you don’t want to offend them personally.
2. Ignoring Your Coordinator’s Advice
No matter how much you want to see the culture and experience the local life, you have to remember that you are not in your own country, and you have a coordinator who should be your guide.
Your coordinator is there to ensure that you and the locals in the community get along well. If you are being told not to do something, remember that it’s for your own good and the good of the community.
3. Doing Everything on Your Own
One of the many benefits of volunteering abroad is the fact that you will be given opportunities to make new friends and expand your social circle. However, it is still essential that you make an effort to connect with the locals.
If you want to make new friends, you should be willing to mingle with the kind locals, the coordinators, and other volunteers and explore the community with them.
If you are heading out to a cultural destination, you might get excited about bringing your wardrobe. However, you should know that you can’t possibly bring all of the items you have at home.
While some things are to be expected, such as your clothing, toiletries and medical kit, you shouldn’t take something you’re not going to use.
5. Running Out of Cash
It is easy to experience many unexpected events when you are volunteering abroad. While travelling, you might get sick and need money to purchase medication. Aside from that, you have to consider additional transportation and food. To prevent situations like these, you should have a budget that you can rely on.
6. Getting Too Inebriated
Getting too drunk is another common mistake that volunteers make. You might arrive at the destination, and you want to go out for a night of fun. However, you have to remember that the environment is not your own.
You have to consider the effect that alcohol can have on you in your current environment. You must also remember to be safe when you are drinking alcohol. If you are not thinking clearly, you might do something you will regret, or you might risk your health.
7. Ignoring Possible Health Risks
Undergoing the volunteer program is a great experience, and you should get the most out of it. However, remember that there are health risks, so you have to be ready for them.
For instance, there’s the risk of contracting diseases, especially if you are going to a remote area. If you are determined to volunteer in a developing country, you must be ready to face the risks.
If you’re interested in volunteering abroad and you want to avoid mistakes, we hope that this guide has given you some valuable insights. Remember that volunteering abroad is an experience of a lifetime, and by following these tips, you can make the most out of it.
If you are interested in a volunteer-in-another-country program? Check out Volunteering Solutions today. We offer international internships and volunteer opportunities in over 40 countries in different program types, from teaching and childcare to medical and wildlife conservation. Contact us today to discuss what you’re interested in