Volunteering overseas is a great way for students to travel while also making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. There are many communities around the world that benefit from a helping hand to build resources, raise awareness, or from help within the community. Volunteers can go for a short period of time, take a semester off or even a year to really make a difference.
Pros of Volunteering
Volunteering has a huge range of benefits:
- Helping your fellow humans, by improving lives in a tangable way. A great thing about going overseas and rolling up your sleeves, rather than simply sending money, is that you can see the good you’re doing. Furthermore, volunteer work is designed to create sustainable resources for the long-term benefit of the community you’re helping.
- Food and accommodation is often provided. This allows you to stay much longer with minimal cost the main expenses being flights.. For those planning to stay in one place for the duration of their OE, it is a great option.
- Make friends and connections. Most volunteering programs are open to applicants from all over the world. This means you arrive with a ready set of diverse potential friends – likeminded people who are interested in the same cause .
- It can take you everywhere. There are volunteer positions in every country, ranging from conservation to teaching and awareness.
Pitfalls of Volunteering
- You need to make sure you’re working with a reputable organisation. Some organisations make little to no difference in the communities they work in. Sometimes volunteers are treated simply as free labour, or the organisation isso disorganised that it’s hard to make a genuine impact. Read stories and reviews from people who have participated in the program. Call the company and request as much information as possible before signing up, and determine where any required expenses are going.
Two reputable student volunteer organisations include:
Once you find an organisation that meets your needs and connects you with a project you believe in, it can be a highly satisfying experience and great way to travel abroad.