Some people don’t just want to travel the world, they really want to immerse themselves in foreign cultures. One of the best ways to do that is through volunteering overseas as you get to help people out, make a bunch of friends, and live in another country. Here’s everything you need to know about volunteering overseas.
Start with a plan
Hoping to share some love around isn’t enough when you go volunteering, you need to put things in place to get the best out of it. You want to feel good for volunteering abroad but if the work you’re doing isn’t going to help the community should you do it?
It’s important to research all volunteering organizations in the countries you’re planning on living in. Make sure the company is actually going to do some good and aren’t just going to use your free labor to make themselves richer.
It isn’t cheap
Volunteering overseas can actually end up costing you a lot of money. Even though you’re there for the good of the communities you’re trying to help, you can’t expect a free ride. All volunteering groups will hope for some money from you, so make sure to research where your money goes and what they do with the funds they raise. It might not be something you can afford to do on your own, so you could always try some fundraising techniques to get you there.
Volunteering overseas is addictive
Once you go on your first overseas volunteering trip, you’ll find that you want to do another as soon as possible. It’s very similar to getting bitten by the traveling bug, and you’ll be itching to go somewhere else to help out other communities.
A large part of volunteering is the friends you make and experiences you have. They are moments in your life that will stay with you forever, but one trip likely won’t be enough. Be prepared to dedicate a large part of your life to helping people out!
Some places need your help more
It’s great to help out in popular hotspots like Costa Rica, but there are countries that are less glamorous that potentially need your help even more. Lesser-known volunteering places that are in desperate need of some help include Bosnia, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia. Your contributions to these societies will arguably go further as fewer people are choosing to volunteer there.
You won’t change things overnight
It’s important to have some perspective when it comes to volunteering overseas. When you get there, you might be shocked by the living standards, but it’s important to now that you won’t be able to change everything during your visit. Of course, you’ll be contributing to a great cause and will be making people’s lives better, but the bigger changes will come later.
Rome wasn’t built in a day so you can expect the much-needed changes in the communities you volunteer in to take a little while. Never give up hope though as there will come a time when volunteering won’t even be needed in these communities.
When you head overseas to volunteer, you shouldn’t go blindly. Make sure you plan your trip, know what your time will bring to the community you’re visiting, and enjoy the experience.