Are you planning on volunteering in 2019 and want to explore a new destination while engaging yourself in some kind of social work abroad?
Or have you just finished your high school and still haven’t decided what next to do in life and looking for some alternate career options?
Then this is the time when you should choose to volunteer abroad to gain some life-changing experience.
Yes, volunteering abroad during gap year is a common practice amongst students from high schools and colleges. Such volunteer trips are considered to be highly liberating, transformational, and full of learning. This is mostly because of the kind of destinations that volunteers get to visit and also the kind of work that they do.
Volunteer placements are offered mostly in underdeveloped or developing countries, providing a different kind of travel experience altogether.
These are not your leisurely travel destinations, nor is a volunteer travel similar to any regular holiday vacation. These are a set of affordable destinations, providing rich heritage, diverse culture, and extreme adventure activities along with some meaningful contribution that is to be made towards the host community.
In this article, we shall try and provide you with all the necessary information regarding High School Volunteering Abroad – Where to go, which program to join, benefits of high school volunteering and more. So, let’s get started!
In case you thinking what qualifications you need to have in order to be a volunteer, here’s a list of the necessary requirements:
Of course, this question must be popping up on your mind several times, and you are thinking – “What will I get by volunteering abroad?” So, now it’s time to find out the answer. Here are 7 unbeatable benefits of volunteering as a high school student.
1. Volunteering will make you more compassionate and empathetic
Living the life of comfort and care, we often forget the fact that not everyone on this planet is as lucky as we are. There are many who shivers in the cold, sleeps with half-filled stomach, lives under the sky and has never felt the love of parents. Once you join a cause to volunteer and spend time with the less fortunate ones, you will become more compassionate and empathetic – which will help you to be a better person.
2. Volunteering will help you to acquire new skills
Volunteering wouldn’t only help you to polish your skills, but while working with others you’ll acquire several new skills. For example, you might be a good painter, and you can volunteer to teach kids how to draw and also help in making a shelter house more colorful and vibrant. But you aren’t a good orator and feel shy to join a discussion. Your peers might be good at it and can help you overcome your barriers and help you to be more outspoken and confident while putting your points. According to a survey by TimeBank, there’s an incredible statistic that 73% of top employers are more likely to hire a candidate with volunteer experience than someone who has none.
3. Volunteering is the best way of networking
If you volunteer abroad as a high school student, you’ll get to meet a lot of people which would enhance your network. People of all ages and from different backgrounds come to volunteer and therefore, it’s the best way to interact with others and knows about their fields of interest. You can make your mind about what you find valuable for yourself, and be in touch with people who you think can help you in the future.
4. Volunteering would help you to be a team worker
This is your chance to be a part of a team comprising of people from all over the world. Being a part of a volunteering project, you’ll learn to adjust according to the needs of the team and also focus more on the work than on your personal goals. Being a good team worker requires a lot of endurance and it’s not easy at all. While working alone, you have all the space of your own – but as a part of the team, you need to think of all your mates. You will learn a great deal about how to get along with disparate personalities, which will make you a better employee in the future.
5. Volunteering would polish your leadership skills
Volunteering would give you the scope to have a larger voice than a traditional workplace, so you can take lead on projects that suit your interests and brush up your leadership skills. You’ll get to work with others to get creative with solutions and ideas. You can then figure out how to implement those ideas. This would be naturally beneficial for you in building your career.
6. Volunteering abroad is a golden opportunity to travel and explore a new country
You must have traveled to so many places with your family, and seen the most touristy places. But volunteering abroad would be a great chance to kick-start your solo traveling experience, and you will get to explore along with the locals, who can give you more insights about the place. Mostly, while volunteering, you’ll get to stay with the natives, and know more about their history, culture and traditions, lifestyle and everything that perhaps any other tourist would never get to know! A volunteering trip is an exclusive traveling experience.
7. Volunteering would enhance your self-esteem and make you more confident
When you join a philanthropic project and work for making a difference to someone else’s life, there would be a feel-good factor working within you. No matter what kind of volunteering project you join, it will bring a sense of accomplishment and make you feel more confident about yourself. You’ll realize that you are a step ahead of your friends and your parents would be proud of you. Volunteering will have a win-win’ effect – while you learn something, you get the chance to give back a lot to your host community.
Volunteering Solutions has compiled a list of 7 cost-friendly, extraordinary volunteering destinations that are perfect for High School students and recent graduates.
From the historical ruins to astonishing examples of nature’s creations, Peru has a plethora of such places that will leave you in awe.
The expert team of Volunteering Solutions has crafted programs in a way that every participant gets to explore Peru differently, unlike any other tourist. From Medical Internship in Peru to English Teaching Projects and 2-Week Special Program – you can choose whichever suits your interest best, and contribute effectively towards the Peruvian society.
Jordon, from Scotland: “I stayed in Cusco with a lovely Peruvian family. My placement involved traveling to the outskirts of the city to help at a kindergarten. The kindergarten itself was a very small room having as much as 30 children, ages 3-5. My duties included marking and preparing homework, helping the children with their work, playing games with the children and generally helping the teacher take care of the class. While I was volunteering at the kindergarten, the class was also preparing for a parade so I was also involved in leading the class through a marching routine outside and supervising the children.
While volunteering in Peru I was also given the opportunity to see some of the sights in my spare time along with some of the other volunteers. I went to see many of the Inca ruins – Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Pukapukara and Machu Picchu, to name a few. I also rode a pony up Rainbow Mountain. My programme also included a visit to a bakery to see how some of the local bread was made. Overall I had an amazing time in Cusco, had many wonderful experiences and met many wonderful people.”
One of the most favorite tourist destinations in Latin America, Costa Rica has a perfect blend of everything that nature has to offer – from dense forests to pristine beaches.
For all those High School students looking for a perfect alternative spring break option, what can be better than volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica? Spend your time taking care of these marine creatures and also indulge yourself in exploring the underwater life through snorkeling and scuba diving.
Jasjap, from University of Guelph: “Me and 2 of my friends went to Costa Rica for 1 week and we absolutely loved it! We lived with a great host family that was very funny and very nice to us, not to mention the food was amazing. Personally, I would recommend this trip to everyone but I feel like if you go with a friend or two it makes things much better. Overall great experience!”
Africa is arguably one of the most popular travel regions, especially, when it comes to adventure tours.
Jungle safaris, tribal communities, extensive wildlife, all these, and more, have become a trademark of a typical African travel experience. Volunteering in Morocco, on the other hand, provides a unique proposition when it comes to experience Africa.
Volunteering Solutions provides several projects in the capital city of Rabat ranging from NGO Support Project to English or French Teaching, and witnesses participants joining in these projects in huge numbers every year.
Naoka, from Japan: “I really enjoyed the volunteering program at a nursery school in Rabat. Although there was a language barrier, children usually did not care about it and just tried to talk to me. Life in Morocco was so amazing and exciting. I stayed at Volunteer staff house which was located in Medina. Then I could feel the real life of Moroccan style. There were so many shops in Medina, so I never got bored. I also visited Casablanca on holiday. Ali, the coordinator in Rabat, was so nice and friendly. He always supported and cared about my life and volunteering program. There was another staff at accommodation, and she was also very kind. They introduced the places to visit or eat, and helped to adjust to the Moroccan life. I was really impressed with the cultural mixture of Islam and French.
Another exciting volunteering destination in Africa is Tanzania – the land of the Maasai tribe! You can either travel to Arusha and be a part of the Orphanage Program, or travel to Zanzibar and join the Teaching Project. No matter which project you be a part of, you’ll get to spend time with the locals, and know them differently and deeply.
For those who are looking for an overall travel and volunteer experience, VolSol has an amazing Volunteer Adventure Program in Tanzania, specially crafted to make your spring break/summer break more meaningful.
Christina, from the University of Madrid: “My experience in Arusha has been awesome. I have enjoyed a lot with all the volunteers, staff, and local people. I will always recommend this healthcare program. Also, the extra activities during the weekend were amazing, and the location was too good. The work at the hospital was wonderful because we could learn a lot and also do many kinds of different things. In Arusha, I met a lot of people and also did some incredible plans: with some friends we did a Spanish omelet at a local Tanzanite home! Everything has been perfect. I wish I could come back because it has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my whole life.”
Being one of the oldest civilizations of the world, and having an influence on several countries since ancient times – India has a rich cultural heritage and a unique diversity that will mesmerize you thoroughly.
Coming out of the Colonial Rule in the 1940s, India has taken leaps of development, yet there are certain underprivileged sections who need help from outside, in order to live a better life. We are calling out High School students to be a part of Child Care Projects, Orphanage Projects or Teaching Programs in India and shower the little ones with love and warmth along with some knowledge that will help them grow.
Marta, from Spain: “The volunteering experience was great, I couldn’t be more happy about it. It was a lifetime experience. The most memorable part was the time with the kids of course. Their smiles taught me that life is not at all about having, but making it the most with what you have. I am also very happy with VolSol, it gave me the safety and reliability and at the same time enough freedom to be able to have a deep experience. While being in Delhi, I lived in a cloud and my eyes couldn’t stop looking around everywhere – there were so many things to see, to hear, to smell, it was a big feast for all the five senses. I am really really satisfied with the volunteering experience, I could not be more happy about it.”
Cradled in the Himalayas, Nepal is one of the most beautiful landlocked countries in the world and provides a plethora of adventure activities to the junkies.
If you have been looking for some affordable volunteering projects, then fulfill your dreams of trekking in the Himalayas while teaching kids at an orphanage in Nepal. Medical and pre-med students can also join the Medical Internship Program in Nepal, and get a first-hand experience of working at an international healthcare setup.
Ines, from Stuttgart: “After some trekking in the Himalayas, I had the great opportunity to work as a volunteer in Kathmandu. Volunteering Solutions helped me with the placement and made me feel very comfortable from the first day on. They even arranged an orientation week for me. In this week, I was taught some basics in the Nepali language – which was very helpful – and they visited the main attractions – like Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Monkey Temple and the Pashupatinath temple.”
If this is your first trip abroad, then trust me when I say that you should go for the Summer Volunteer Adventure Program in Thailand, as it would offer you the best of everything that the country has to offer.
From exploring the bustling nightlife of Bangkok to soaking in the sun at a beach in Koh Phangan and playing with elephants while bathing and feeding them at a village in Surin – you’ll get to experience it all! You can make the most of your summer break by learning something new – and guess what, VolSol would also take you for a Jungle Trek!
Paloma, from Spain: “I did the Thailand Summer Volunteer Project last year, and I enjoyed it a lot. Firstly, I got to know incredible people who shared this experience with me and also, I discovered a different Thailand. It’s very important to travel in order to know different cultures and people, but it’s always better when you can make a change by helping people. The locals were absolutely amazing and I honestly don’t regret traveling with Volunteering Solutions as they help you a lot, especially if you are traveling alone. It is an experience of a lifetime!!”
While all our programs are designed in a way that would suit the teens and give them incredible first-hand work experience, here are a few recommended programs that are usually opted by the High School students as well as recent graduates.
India is one of the most popular volunteer destinations in Asia and has a lot to offer to those looking for cultural immersion and understanding global traditions. Volunteering for children in India will provide a platform to work towards the welfare and upliftment of underprivileged kids from poor backgrounds. This is an opportunity to make a serious difference in many unfortunate lives and learn some hard lessons of life at the same time. Spending time with the kids at the childcare centers and seeing those smiling faces will make you realize it’s not that hard to find joy even when everything is against you.
Volunteers under this project are placed in the capital city Delhi, which is the hub for India’s glorious heritage and eventful history. One can, also, witness the various colors of typical Indian traditions while volunteering in Delhi.
Nepal is a perfect example of being a “Big things comes in small packages”. The country might not be taking much of the land area in Asia, but has left a huge mark on the tourism map. The majority of the credit for this goes to its spectacular natural landscape; including, of course, the mighty Everest. Volunteering for teaching project in Nepal involves volunteer work at schools meant for children from poor family backgrounds. These are local schools in Kathmandu that often runs out of quality teaching staff, and being a volunteer teacher there can be of a great help.
Over the weekends, there are a number of getaway options and local things to do in Nepal.
Well! As the name is loud and clear, this is a specially designed short-term volunteer abroad program for students. This Thailand volunteer adventure trip will take you to a 3 weeks’ of the thrilling extravaganza, offering some meaningful volunteer work in quaint cities and opportunities to experience the fun of traveling in Thailand. This is a perfect platform for gap year travelers to explore Thailand in the best way possible. While the volunteer work will introduce you to the typical Thai lifestyle and an opportunity to make a difference, the adventure trips will boost your adrenaline rush to its maximum.
This program will make you cover the bustling city of Bangkok, the capital, the cultural city of Chiang Mai, the elephant capital of Thailand, Surin, and the beach paradise, Koh Samui.
Did you just think of the ultimate adventure!? Volunteering Solutions gives you an African wildlife adventure of a different scale altogether. This is an opportunity to volunteer for the welfare and conservation of African wildlife in South Africa. Volunteers, under this program, are placed in Port Elizabeth at a wildlife reserve area. This is a huge 6000 hectares land, located around 45 minutes outside mainland Port Elizabeth; filled with a variety of birds and wild animals, including the BIG 5!
This is an extremely thrilling opportunity for volunteers to come face to face the wild, live with them, and take care of them while volunteering.
There are an immense craze and love for the game of football in Ghana, which is, also, evident from the fact that it is the national sport of Ghana. Volunteers who have the knack for this game and love to be a mentor to a budding Ghanaian team can join this program. The coaching is provided to the students from local schools, where volunteers assist the in-house coaches in conducting matches and designing training sessions.
The placement is provided in the city of Tamale.
This volunteer program is a challenging one and is apt for those who are up for some outdoor hard work. This east African country is loaded with some of Africa’s best biodiversity; including, snow-capped mountains, exclusive wildlife, lush green forests, and more. Under the community development program in Uganda, volunteers are placed in the Kampala region known for its geographical positioning with the line of equator crossing through it.
Uganda can, very well, be considered as one of the most underrated destinations in Africa. And, this is something you’ll realize on your volunteer trip to this country.
If you are a High School student looking for Volunteer Abroad Projects in 2019 or a recent graduate looking for gap year program before enrolling into a College, make sure to check our incredible and affordable volunteering opportunities.
You can also follow us on Instagram for some travel inspiration and join us on Facebook to be updated about your volunteers’ journeys at the project sites.
In case you need more information or want guidance from our Program Advisors, you can simply drop us a mail at [email protected]
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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