1. Become Truly Aware Of The World We Live In
When you volunteer abroad in a new country, whether you are in a large city or small village, you will gain a greater awareness of the world around you. Sleeping alongside the locals you see how they live their lives, the struggles they may go through and the precautions taken to keep safe. Coming from a first world country with easy access to good schools, medical care and a sound government, this new world is complete contrast. In Costa Rica I lived in a house where the shower was a garden hose sticking through a hole in the wall. Before this I never truly thought about how much of a luxury having a shower, a bath and hot water actually is.
2. Meet Like-Minded People
One of the greatest parts of volunteering abroad is meeting likeminded people. Sure, here and there throughout your life you will meet people who have the same ideologies and beliefs as you, but when are you actually completely surrounded by these people. They themselves have traveled to volunteer. They care about conservation, the environment and the wellbeing of fellow humans. Just like you.
3. Live A Simple Life
When you volunteer abroad you will live a simple life. Whether you are staying in a homestay or with other volunteers the complexities of daily life become irrelevant. No longer living the daily drag of work or school, having to constantly try to impress people and worry about tomorrow. Now you’re a million miles away, in a new country, with new people and a new outlook. Your work is something you are passionate about and know will make a difference. It doesn’t matter that you wore this shirt yesterday, slept under the stars and skipped breakfast because there was an unidentifiable bug in the kitchen. You will be living the simplest life and be loving every moment.
4. Experience The Unimaginable
This volunteering abroad experience will be unlike anything you have ever done before. All the new sights, places and people you meet will have you constantly smiling. You’ll be experiencing a whole new place whether you are volunteering in Asia, Europe or Central America like me!
5. Make Lifelong Friends
The group of people you meet on the first day may seem like strangers from different corners of the globe, but on the last day they will be your family. You will share the craziest moments, working crazy hours and all be passionate about the same cause. Soon enough you will all have an unbreakable bond. These are the only people who understand this volunteer life and will help you out no matter what.
6. See A New Part Of The World
When you volunteer abroad it allows you to see new parts of the globe! Seriously, there are so many opportunities all around the world for volunteers. Whether you are interested in humanitarian, conservation or educational work places, there is something everywhere. Sure, it may take a little bit of finding to find what you are after, or you may be spoiled for choice! But, when you decide on one, welcome to your new home!
7. Improve Your Language Skills
Volunteering abroad provides you with the perfect opportunity to improve your language skills, or even start learning a new language. A lot of accommodation for volunteer projects involve living amongst the locals, whether that’s in an apartment or in a homestay. You will be shopping at the foreign supermarkets, conversing in the local lingo and chilling at the favourite town bars.
8. Find Yourself
I know its cliché, but you will truly find yourself when you volunteer abroad. You will gain confidence in yourself, seriously travelling to a whole other country and actually doing something to change lives- you should feel proud! It is all such a rewarding and amazing experience which will give you the biggest smile!
9. Make A Difference In A Life
Of course volunteering abroad impacts a life– whether that’s a human or animal, both are important. But, you don’t seem to realise how important the work you are doing is until you are there doing it. You will hear stories that will touch you and learn about what amazing things previous volunteers did. You will be inspired by everyone you meet and even though you are working, it won’t feel like it. Every moment will be one you will cherish and will think back on for years to come.
10. Impress Future Employers
Now I didn’t realise this when I first volunteered abroad, but seriously it makes such a difference when it comes to applying for jobs. Businesses can get hundreds of resumes when they advertise a job. Most are professional, all the same, so having something on your that says volunteering abroad really makes you stand out as a candidate. It shows you are comfortable in unfamiliar situations, passionate and will take up potential opportunities.
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Thinking of volunteering abroad? Check out my experiences doing turtle conservation in Costa Rica with International Student Volunteers