Volunteering abroad is undoubtedly a life-changing experience and one has to be careful about making the choices while planning it. There are countless volunteering opportunities that are available and one should choose a program that completely aligns with their interests. Here are some basic questions that will help you to take a perfect decision before making a commitment.
How much time do you have for volunteering?
“Be honest about your time availability. If you’re not, it can be more hurtful than helpful. Remember that anytime – if it’s valuable time – is better than unrealistic time promises.” – Camara Jordan.
This is one of the most important aspects to focus on before you get ready to travel abroad. While there are programs starting from a duration of a week, you should know that in order to make a substantial difference, you need to spend at least 3, 4 weeks with our host community. However, if you have a time crunch now, commit for a shorter duration, learn about the pros and cons, and maybe you can return back some day to contribute in a more efficient manner.
What kind of work you want to do?
Various volunteering organizations have numerous options to choose from and you should make a thoughtful decision before choosing your program. Think about what kind of work you really want to do – do you want to teach and play with kids at a school, or maybe caress the elephants at a village away from the city chores, or do you want to empower women and help them learn something new so that they can earn their livelihood?
You should choose the project which appears to be meaningful for you, and you are confident about the fact that you possess certain skills that’ll be fully utilized at your project site.
What skills do you possess that’ll help you during your project?
Each of us has some quality or the other, that can be effectively utilized to change someone else’s life for good. And as the popular saying goes, “The more you give, the more you’ll get.” Volunteering can be a great way to use your existing skills or to learn something new. Make a list of those skills that you already possess and use them on your project site. This will help you to expand your expertise and make a positive impact.
However, not all volunteering positions require special skills or knowledge. The majority of voluntary work requires skills like a good listening, positive attitude, open-mindedness and friendly nature.
What’s your budget for your volunteering trip?
There’s a very famous line that the economists often mention – “There is no such thing as free lunch”. This means that no good thing can ever come for free. For volunteering abroad, you need to pay for your flight tickets, Visa, and the program fee that you want to join. It is recommended that you enroll with a trusted organization so that you are sure about the money you are paying – and that it’ll be channelized in the proper manner and reach those who actually need the help.
To gain an ultimate volunteering experience, you should be clear in your mind about how much you can spend on it or what is your budget. In case you are short of money, you can raise fund for the noble cause. You can also take help from websites like FundMyTravel, to plan your volunteering trip in a perfect manner.
Would you prefer to go solo or with a group of friends?
While no one can be really alone at a volunteering project site, you can either decide to take the trip alone and make friends out of strangers in a foreign land where no one knows you and vice versa. On the other hand, you can choose to travel and volunteer with your group of friends where everyone knows about the strengths and weaknesses of each other and can effectively contribute to achieving a common goal.
Whether you travel alone or with friends, it’ll be a learning journey for you. You’ll get to know more about yourself and explore the limits beyond your comfort zone.
Are you prepared for the challenge?
A volunteering journey will not be able to provide you with the luxuries that you otherwise enjoy in your daily life. When you think of being a part of a social work, you must also understand that it revolves around the fact of being with the people you have to serve.
As mentioned earlier, it is necessary to step out of the comfort zone and face the challenges, find instant solutions and work in a way that impacts others. Working with people and their problems will require a lot of patience and perseverance.
Once you find answers to all the above questions, you can make a wise decision and prepare for your volunteering project. Look for an organization that ensures to give you the best deals and incredible experiences. Read the reviews by ex-volunteers who have worked with those particular organizations. You can also get in touch with the Program Advisors of the organizations who can guide you more accurately.
We hope that these tips will be of use for you while to are looking for the right volunteering opportunity.