There are many benefits to volunteering. These benefits range from the personal, as it helps your mental and physical health, to the public, as you help people and communities better themselves. However, you might wonder what specific benefits volunteering abroad might have given that this is our focus at Caritas Smile. This might be particularly interesting to students who don’t necessarily have as much money to spend, but who may have the time to help.
Meeting new people and creating a network.
One of the easiest ways to create long-lasting connections is by having a shared activity that you’re both passionate about. This is especially so when travelling to a foreign country as you rely on others who are similar to you for comfort while you meet and learn from new people. Travelling expands your horizons through the interactions you have with people, but these same interactions can also create long-lasting friendships. Moreover, you can create connections that’ll help you expand a network that might be helpful to you in your future. Through these personal and professional connections, you’ll be able to have the opportunity of finding or creating new lifestyle or professional paths.
Develop knowledge of other cultures.
Volunteers abroad have the opportunity of immersing themselves in a new culture. As a volunteer, learn different body cues and conversational customs from interacting with locals. You try new foods and listen to different music. You even have the opportunity to engage in different cultural activities that are specific to the area they choose to volunteer in. What’s more, all of this often leads people to reflect on their own behaviors and preconceptions. Through this, you are able to explore how culture affects you and those around you, and you develop a heightened sense of mindfulness when interacting with others.
Save money while travelling abroad.
Travelling abroad can be quite expensive, but the costs will be ameliorated when you choose to volunteer abroad. This is because many volunteering organisations will take care of accommodations, meals, activities, and equipment. They also often make sure to guide you towards areas that are less expensive than the usual tourists’ ones. Further, you can even apply to scholarships for volunteering abroad which will cover all or the majority of your costs. Be aware that these scholarships, while generous, are very competitive. Thus, it might be a good idea to have your own fundraising. Nevertheless, friends and family will be more willing to help you help others than to shell out for another kind of trip.
Sharpen your skillset.
By volunteering abroad, you’ll be able to practice things like teamwork, management, and using another language. As you immerse yourself in a language other than your own, you’ll be able to learn new words and oral customs, and you’ll become more confident as you practice speaking. You’ll also learn to rely on others and how to work best as part of a team to reach your goal in sometimes less-than-ideal scenarios. Further, you’ll be able to develop your leadership skills in a new environment as you manage yourself and your interactions with others.
That’s not all!
By volunteering abroad you’ll be able to strengthen your global insight. As our world becomes increasingly multicultural and globalized, you’ll be able to learn about the difference perspectives that can be brought onto different projects. You’ll do this while expanding your own horizons as you learn from others. These horizons will also allow you to verge into innovative thinking that’ll teach you more about the world and yourself. You’ll change, and your routine will change along with it. You’ll become more open minded and knowledgeable which are key elements that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.
International volunteering can change your world as much as it changes the communities which you volunteer at. However, remember to be mindful about the organization you choose to volunteer for because you need to keep your own safety in mind, first and foremost. At Caritas Smile we pride ourselves of taking great care of our volunteers and ensuring their safety. We also make sure that you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture of the countries which we work at. If this sounds interesting, why not request a brochure? Also, remember that you’re always free to contact us with any doubts or questions you might have! Our goal is for you to have an amazing trip and change at least two lives, your own and that of someone you’ll help while working with us.
Talia Velez is a Growth Impact Officer at Caritas Smile, a non-profit service travel program dedicated to making positive impacts and sustainable changes for women and children in developing countries. Having grown up in Mexico, Talia is keenly aware of the day-to-day issues faced by women and children in countries with more economic vulnerability. Visit our site to learn more about Caritas Smile and join us in our mission to help those in need.