How To Volunteer Abroad

Vol­un­teer­ing abroad forces ordi­nary peo­ple into sit­u­a­tions that they oth­er­wise wouldn’t be in, and sends them to the far­thest cor­ners of the globe to be hum­bled, inspired, and changed by their expe­ri­ence. For many, the time to sign up for a vol­un­teer trip abroad comes at a piv­otal moment in life: grad­u­at­ing school, chang­ing jobs, and look­ing to expand hori­zons beyond what they see in their day-to-day life. Get­ting involved in vol­un­teer­ing abroad can be extreme­ly con­fus­ing. Here are some things to keep in mind when you start your search:

Vet the Pro­gram
There are a host of pro­grams offer­ing vol­un­teer trav­el oppor­tu­ni­ties. Each one touts its own val­ues, ethics, and place­ment options. It is cru­cial to look at every aspect of these com­pa­nies, as some may scam or short-change their vol­un­teers, a cru­el but true real­i­ty for some orga­ni­za­tions. The best way to vet the options is to reach out to for­mer vol­un­teers, look at blog and social media posts, and get a first-hand look at what the orga­ni­za­tion is poten­tial­ly offer­ing.

Con­sid­er the Costs
The fee for a vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion usu­al­ly cov­ers the volunteer’s basic needs sans-air­fare. This will include a home-stay fam­i­ly or vol­un­teer cam­pus, food, and admin­is­tra­tive costs. The vol­un­teers are usu­al­ly respon­si­ble for their flight and any extra pur­chas­es that are not relat­ed to the pro­gram. They are not mon­e­tar­i­ly com­pen­sat­ed in any way. Some orga­ni­za­tions will assist you in book­ing tours and extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties beyond ini­tial duties.

Choose Your Des­ti­na­tion
Vol­un­teer place­ments are all over the world, many in devel­op­ing nations, or in rur­al untouched areas where there is eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ty. Many orga­ni­za­tions allow vol­un­teers to choose their work, which ranges from ani­mal rights, such as pan­da con­ser­va­tion in Chi­na and sea tur­tle count­ing in Cos­ta Rica, to women’s empow­er­ment, HIV/AIDS Edu­ca­tion, con­struc­tion, work­ing in orphan­ages, or con­struc­tion.

Volunteer in Lahore

When decid­ing on a vol­un­teer coun­try, take into account the liv­ing con­di­tions, polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, and any out­side fac­tors that may have an effect on the expe­ri­ence. While any respon­si­ble orga­ni­za­tion will do every­thing in its pow­er to pro­tect vol­un­teers, they are not immune to sud­den unsta­ble polit­i­cal changes or events that may be a threat—especially when work­ing in devel­op­ing nations. Up until the trip, get con­tin­u­ous updates from the State Depart­ment regard­ing ongo­ing sit­u­a­tions and how it may play into the time dur­ing which the place­ment is occur­ring.

Vol­un­teer­ing is a fruit­ful and reward­ing expe­ri­ence. It’s a way to trav­el to places rarely list­ed on tourist itin­er­aries. Plus, you get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing that ben­e­fits oth­ers.