Portugal, a country in Southern Europe, bordering Spain and a stone throw distance from Morocco, is an ideal destination to witness progress in a poor country in one of the richest continents in the world. With a history of being the longest colonial empire, Portugal is an erstwhile socialist state that’s now a functioning multi-party democracy which hosts a blend of belief, cultures, and traditions.
Volunteers who are keen to learn about international development work and understand the progress story and challenges faced by the country must opt for volunteering projects in Portugal. With a diverse range of projects, an enviable coastline and a politically relevant geographical location, Portugal is the perfect destination for both, first-time volunteers and students eyeing international work experience for their careers in the development sector along with gap year travelers and backpackers. Read on to find out exactly why should you volunteer in Portugal and what exactly awaits you there.
There are several kinds of projects available in Portugal that range from Marine Conservation, construction and renovation, food waste management and the 2-Week Volunteering Special Project. Available to work in for 1-12 weeks, VolSol works in association with a local organization, that is aiming to work with a network of over 300 social and environmental NGOs whose objective is to work with thousands of people across Lisbon and Porto.
There are several issues that are plaguing the socio-economic landscape of the country, the most concerning of which is the problem of acute droughts in the country. One of the poorest countries in one of the richest continents, other issues in the country include severe income inequalities, food-wastage, problems in the agricultural industry amongst several others.
Contrary to the criticism of ‘Voluntourism’, it is certainly impossible to understand a country without traveling across its length and breadth. Tourism, which is an essential part of Portugal’s economy, contributes substantially in the growth of its people and responsible tourism mandates that volunteers attempt to contribute in the lives of Portuguese people through their volunteering efforts and economic contribution of traveling around as well. With VolSol projects, not only do the volunteers get to work in wide-ranging opportunities but also live and understand the cultural and socio-economic backdrop of the locals. Accommodated in hostels, volunteers also get to meet people from around the world and the learning and assimilation process in the country becomes very enriching.
Blessed with unparalleled picturesque beauty, Portugal is an ideal destination for backpackers and gap year travelers. From cobblestone villages to picturesque coastal scenery, explore the ample traveling destinations while volunteering in Portugal. A dedicated in-country travel desk will assist the volunteers to plan their weekend getaways in Portugal. Volunteers and also opt for the two-week special project if traveling around is a major component of their journey.
That’s the USP of volunteering abroad as opposed to just traveling, it lets you meet the locals in a very special way and also like-minded volunteer travelers from whom you can learn a lot and create a lot of memories with. From working hands-on a project to diving into the sea together – you’re surely headed to the literal sea and also a metaphorical sea of memories. An interesting way to interact with locals and getting to know the culture, traditions and everyday lives of people, you won’t get a better deal than this at understanding Portugal in an up, close and personal manner.
Visiting a new country, meeting countless new people and getting out of the comfort of your homes – all of these are soft skills that go a long way in your personal and professional lives. As a volunteer in Portugal, you’ll pick up these people skills and test your capacity to live in an entirely new social setup.
Portugal features in one of the most peaceful and stable countries in the world and this gives it the perfect setting needed for a volunteering travel enthusiast. As discussed earlier, Portugal, even though is a part of the European Union, is still battling with issues plaguing the developing world but at the same time has taken many steps (such as LGBTQ Rights) to create a progressive and safe atmosphere for people from all walks of life.
Bordering Spain and close to Morocco, the geographical location of the project lets you get an exposure into a cultural blend of sorts and is ideal for exploring more international volunteering projects. Spain, which is a few hours from Portugal, is a destination to be considered. Furthermore, for people who want to take the benefit of volunteering on another continent can opt for Morocco which is close to Portugal and just a train ride away from Spain. And what’s the best part? You only need to pay the application fee once if you club any destination with your volunteering stint in Portugal.
The ease of getting a visa is also an important factor behind Portugal being a preferred destination for volunteering abroad. It is one amongst our several other volunteering destinations which have an easy visa application process. The US and Australian Citizens can come to Portugal without a visa for 90 days and EU Citizens can also travel freely to Portugal.
Portugal can give all aspiring volunteers a wholesome volunteering and travel experience and is a highly recommended destination. Make sure you check out our Instagram Updates to catch up on what’s happening on ground zero at project locations and talk to several other volunteers before you take the final call to volunteer.
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