In today’s date, only classroom education is not enough – and a lot of importance is given on experiential learning. High school and college students are, thus, opting to travel and volunteer abroad for a meaningful program, in order to gain first-hand international work experience and also, to understand what actually tickles their interest.
Just deciding to volunteer isn’t enough, and we understand that there will be certain obstacles on the way – before you can finally make it to your destination and work for your desired project. One of those hurdles is to convince your parents to let you travel abroad – that too, solo!
Well, we can’t blame them – they have always cared for and protected you, and it’s generally out of concern that parents hesitate to send their kids for volunteering abroad. They are concerned about your well-being, thinking about how you’ll manage in a faraway country, worried about the safety issues, so on and so forth!
There can be no better way to convince your parents, other than having a sorted verbal communication with them. Sit down with them, tell them why exactly you want to volunteer abroad, discuss with them your plans – where you are planning to go, which project you wish to work for, how you think this will help you in your career ahead – everything! Seek their inputs as well, so that they feel that you’re also giving importance to their ideas.
Tell your parents about the organization with whom you wish to volunteer. When you choose to volunteer with a reputed international organization, half the worries related to safety and security ends there. Volunteering Solutions, for example, provides 24/7 in-country support for all the volunteers in all destinations, and the accommodations provided in each country has been well inspected by the team, so that nobody faces any trouble. You can also share our contact details with your parents, and they can get in touch with our Travel Experts whenever they want to.
In this 21st Century, when WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc are taking over, there’s no reason to not stay in touch with your dear ones. When you travel abroad, you can easily get a local sim card and activate data facilities, otherwise, WiFi would be available in all the accommodations – so you can call your parents anytime, or have a video chat with them, sharing your experiences. Assure them that you’ll always stay in touch and keep them updated about everything, while you are on your volunteer trip. You can also share our in-country coordinator’s phone number with your parents, so that they can reach out to him/her, in case you are not available.
Your parents will be super proud when you’ll tell them that you’re going to help some underprivileged people while living in the host country, and focus on making their lives better. No matter whether you choose to be a volunteer for the Childcare Program in India or be a Volunteer Teacher in Tanzania, or maybe work for a Healthcare Program in Peru (if you’re a medical student) – your contributions will be immensely valued. And for those who are animal lovers – you can spend adequate time volunteering with animals and serving Mother Nature! By the end of this volunteering trip – you’ll definitely make a difference to the society, and your parents will be glad.
As they say, “Not all classrooms have four walls” – and it’s time that you tell your parents about the same. While you’ve learned quite a bit from your school (and college, maybe), it’s time that you step out of the comfort zone, and use those lessons in practical life, as well as learn some valuable things from your experiences! It’s only when you travel to a new land, will you get to know that there’s so much the geography books never told you about! You will get to know about the history, cultural and heritage; immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and savor the authentic food. You’ll get to explore the popular tourist places in that particular destination, as well as walk down the hidden trails.
Of course, a journey abroad has certain costs associated with it, and your parents will be thinking about the expenses for sure. The best move that you make is to convince them that they need not bother about it, as you’ll save and manage it all by yourself. You can share your saving ideas with them, and maybe discuss the fundraising ideas that you have in mind. If you’ve already saved a considerable amount, then tell them how you did it. Your parents will definitely be proud to know that you are sorting your finances by yourself, and maybe, they agree to add something more to your existing savings!
Your parents might not know that volunteering abroad will boost your career and add some brownie points to your Resume! It’s time that you tell them how this journey is going to help you learn new things, polish your skills, provide you with immense exposure as you’ll work with a bunch of people from different backgrounds, boost your self-confidence and guide you to choose the best career path in the days ahead. Once they understand that what you’re opting for, is not just for fun but has some values associated with it – they’ll definitely agree and give you permission to travel.
This is the last resort! If none of the above works and they still refuse to grant you permission – then you should ask them to come along with you. ‘Something is better than nothing’ and family volunteering is becoming extremely popular these days when people are ditching luxury trips and opting to travel responsibly. It’ll be a different experience for you and your parents, as you’ll work together for a meaningful program abroad. You’ll get to know about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, help each other whenever needed. And maybe, after they experience this, they’ll let you travel solo the next time, for volunteering!
Now that the convincing is done, go ahead and book your volunteering program. We would suggest you to apply well in advance so that you have enough time to prepare yourself, get the flight tickets and apply for the visa, find out the vaccinations needed, and maybe, work on your checklist to cover all that you wish to do during your volunteer trip abroad!
In case you need any help or guidance, you can write to us at [email protected] and our Program Advisors will get back to you!
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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