You aren’t going to be there forever, so you need to use your time wisely and jump in. A volunteer experience isn’t about showing up and going along with things, waiting for people to tell you what to do. You should proactively ask the people around you how you can help your organization and the community. Ask questions and get involved! You need to participate in your experience and be present to get the most value from your time there.
Read Your Briefing Thoroughly
Know what you are getting into before you volunteer abroad. Know what the weather is like where you’re going, what the conditions will be where you’re staying, and really think about how well you will handle them. Know how you are going to get where you are going and what you’ll be doing when you get there.
Preparation is Everything
If you’ve ever traveled abroad before, you know that you need to plan out all of your transportation, know a few words in the local language, and a few safety tips for the location. When you’re volunteering, you also need to research programs thoroughly to make sure you’ve found the right program for you. One thing that I always find come in handy is creating a check-off list. This will help keep you organized and provide a visual to you of everything that you have or still need to get.
Volunteering Abroad Costs Money
You can go volunteer at local places completely free. But traveling abroad is expensive and volunteering abroad is no exception. Make sure you plan your budget accordingly.
You Can Volunteer Anywhere
You can volunteer at home, you can volunteer in northern Europe, or you can volunteer in the ever-popular Costa Rica. Keep in mind that some places need you more than others, though. Lesser known locations, like Sri Lanka or Honduras, need volunteers more and you’ll be more valued.
It’s Easy To Get Hooked
After you’ve volunteered once, you’ll find yourself itching to do it again. There’s nothing else like this experience. When you find the right program in the right place for you, you come away with lifelong friendships and experiences that have changed your life. You’ll want to do it again. And again.