When deciding on where to travel to, you will come to realize there are several options available. Traditional travel like touristy holidaying abroad. More intense traveling – the kind you might do as an adult as you discover your passion for traveling. And then finally, there’s volunteering abroad.
If you think volunteering abroad might be for you – read this detailed list of benefits volunteering abroad can bring to someone looking to travel.
Make lasting friendships
When you volunteer abroad, you often go on your own. Therefore, you become very close to the people you are volunteering with very quickly. You are away from home; you are away from your friends. You will quickly cling to the people around you for a sense of familiarity.
The experiences you share – both within the volunteering work and outside of it – will be bonding memories that no one other than those around you will share. For this reason, the friendships you make while volunteering are often very strong and long-lasting.
Develop professional skills
Volunteering is a great way to travel, but that isn’t its only benefit. Volunteering also equips you with valuable skills. These can be physical skills – you’ll build up your strength and resilience – or soft skills – your interpersonal skills are bound to improve, as well as your bravery.
A lot of the skills you develop while volunteering abroad make you an attractive candidate for jobs. Self-reliance and the ability to think outside of the box will make any employer impressed. Your ability to evidence these skills with stories from your volunteering will make you stand out and land your perfect job.
Learn a language
Working in an overseas country will mean you likely will be living somewhere where your first language isn’t shared. By exposing yourself to another culture, you’ll naturally pick up some of the language. To help yourself have the best experience, you should probably also invest some time into learning the language of your host country.
By the time your volunteering is over, you’ll know some (if not lots!) of a whole new language. This will also look great on job applications. Plus, if you go back to your volunteer country or another country that shares the language, you are already equipped with this knowledge.
Volunteering offers a great work-life balance to participants. You get plenty of time to travel and explore, relax and recuperate, but you also get to spend your time doing something with purpose.
Travel can often feel open-ended: there are so many places to visit and so little time. Whenever you give yourself some time off, you can feel like it’s a waste unless you’re doing something big and experiencing something beautiful.
With volunteering, your time is more structured, so you don’t feel like you’re wasting time while at the same time having enough time off to experience the country you are in.
You don’t have to plan the trip
Most volunteering abroad is arranged by a company or organization. Due to this, you don’t have to do any of the planning yourself. This is a great plus for anyone who had experienced the grueling nature of booking flights and hotels for touristy travel.
Taking out the planning side of travel, you can simply bask in the excitement of travel. You can spend your time thinking about the places you want to visit, not whether or not you’ve booked the right coach.
You get time off to explore
Some worry, when volunteering, that their time will be taken up with work, and they won’t get the chance to explore. This isn’t true! Volunteering programs work in many opportunities for you to go out and explore, from evenings to weekends.
Perks of volunteering are that, in getting to know the local people, you can seek out advice on where to visit. They might point out places you can’t miss or places that aren’t really worth it. Best of all, they might be able to point out some hidden gems. For volunteer projects Ghana is a great place to go, as there are plenty of hidden spaces you might not find as a tourist.
You get to experience a community properly
Yes, traveling around the country you are in is great, but one of the best bits about volunteering is getting to know the community you are in. Volunteering isn’t often in big cities. Because of this, you get to know people specifically. You get to know the local customs and traditions and the inside jokes that make a town a town.
Instead of feeling like a tourist, volunteering allows you to make an unknown country into a home in no time.
You can travel alone
Solo travel is on the rise. It has gained popularity as people have realized it’s not as scary as it seems. Volunteering is a kind of solo travel. But volunteering takes the benefits of solo travel and removes a lot of the negatives.
Volunteering allows you to travel, even if your friends are too busy to go with you. Due to its structured nature, it also allows you to travel without the stress of booking travel yourself.
You develop all the useful skills solo travel creates but don’t have to deal with the stress of being on your own.
You get to feel fulfilled
In the end, volunteering creates fulfillment. As long as you’ve chosen your volunteering program carefully to avoid voluntourism, you will rest easy knowing that you are doing something good for the world while also getting to live out your travel dreams.
So is volunteering abroad a good way to travel? YES!
Volunteering abroad has so many benefits, from developing personally to exploring new cultures. No matter where you volunteer, you’ll end up with memories you’ll carry around with you for the rest of your life. Plus, you’ll probably make some life-long friends to reminisce with once your volunteering is over.