Aching to volunteer abroad? Don’t know if it’s right for you? Or will it be too expensive? Do you have the right skills for it? The desire to go for it can often be dumped because of certain misconceptions and without proper information, one is unable to take the plunge. Well, we are here to help you out and get some of the often believed myths about volunteering abroad, debunked.
As mentioned earlier, the monetary myth is the most common one amongst people who think about taking up the task. While it is a fact that some of the placement agencies do charge a handsome fee from the participants, the count of such companies is a handful and several of the placement agencies provide projects at a reasonable cost.
Alright! Which part of the world has a zero crime rate? Antarctica may be!! Safety is understandably one of the major concerns that remain in the minds of the people interested to volunteer abroad, and most of them cancel their plans just because they feel it would not be safe in that area. The best practice is to do a thorough research about the selected destination. In fact, being a foreigner gives you an edge, as the locals (at times) go out of their way to help you out. And then, of course, the placement agencies you get placed through make sure that you are safe. It is also important that you do your preparation beforehand and do not get overwhelmed when making the transition from a developed country to a developing country.
Another common myth which people have is about their age eligibility. One should understand that it has very little to with age and more about the determination and desire. While there are certain age barriers because of safety concerns, anyone above 16 years of age can apply.
Some may find this to be surreal, but many have this fear of becoming the victim of loneliness during their journey. While volunteering is a good way to network with people from different nationalities, background, and culture as you share accommodations in several cases, there are several group projects which provide the option of working with a group, family or friends. The whole journey is, in fact, about spending time with people/animals/nature on a daily basis, leaving no space for being alone (unless one wants to be).
Yes, a lot of people who haven’t had formal education or are underserved, do not understand English very well But, the local representatives (of the placement agency) and the in-house staff are always there to bridge this gap. In fact, this is one of the challenging tasks one can take up in a project is to teach English. The placement firms conduct orientation sessions before the main program begins. Volunteering Solutions provides a special one week Language & Orientation program to get the participants accustomed with the local language, culture, traditions and so on and then general navigation skills will help. And after all, someone has rightly said, “A warm smile is a universal language of kindness”.
Yes, India is a subtropical country and it does get hot in here but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the best of what the country has to offer. While VolSol arranges transportation for all volunteers in air-conditioned vehicles and accommodates them in air-conditioned well-ventilated guesthouses, the pre-departure information kit prepares them to deal with the heat during summers. And what’s the silver lining? Hiking expeditions to the Himalayas will give much-needed respite from the summer heat at any given time of point.
There is no such compulsion for someone to have a high-end experience or certification to participate in a program, apart from the ones who get enrolled in health care and dental programs. A generic knowledge about the kind of program one would be taking up, and a lot of enthusiasm is all it takes to be a good volunteer. You may or may not need to have a lot of experience, but once your program ends, you certainly leave with a lot of learnings and experience.
The legitimacy of a project isn’t simply generated because it’s ‘non-profit’. Both profit and nonprofit organizations have manpower and resources to pay for and thus charge a fee. The key to knowing whether or not your organization is ethical and impactful depends on the groundwork being done and making sure what’s the cost breakup like. There are several organizations that are ‘non-profit’ on paper but charge a humongous fee and several for-profit entities that provide projects within an affordable bracket.
The best way to get more clarity on how to go about taking up the project is to do a LOT of online research, talk to people who have already volunteered and also seek professional advice. Drop our program adviser an email at [email protected] to clear any of your doubts.
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