Volunteering is the act of working towards a common goal or cause without payment for time and services. Volunteering projects are as diverse as there are needs to fill. It is a chance to share, to learn, to pay forward, pay back, and to enrich communities both locally and abroad.
Voluntourism blends volunteering efforts with traveling abroad, and as long as people have traveled, they have helped along their way. In many cases people combine volunteering projects with personal traveling before or afterwards. The result is a very deep look at a very different culture.
There are amazing benefits for those interested in volunteering overseas. Not only is there a sense of fulfillment, which is hard to explain to those that havenâ€™t gone yet, but there is deeper cultural connection. It comes from learning. It comes from meeting new people, sharing challenges, and knocking down the walls of prejudice and stereotypes.
The benefits of Volunteering abroad can be both seen and felt. You will assist in both labour, and in mentoring. Your resume/CV will be greatly improved, and your presence and personal need for food and shelter (at the minimum) will leave an economic footprint in your host community. As a side, and to leave a larger mark, make sure you support local businesses during your time abroad, and do take advantage of local tours and expeditions.
A quick look at the benefits are as follows:
- Improve local communities and/or biological environments
- Help others in need
- Share your skills and experiences
- Learn new skills and experiences
- Solve problems and overcome challenges
- Fulfill your sense of self
- Meet new people, and make lifelong friends
- Improve your resume/CV
- Become a global citizen
- Spread happiness and caring
Through volunteering you will build a cultural bond, a mark that remains when you leave, and a mark that you bring home with you. In giving of yourself, you will enact change, and you personally will make this world a better place. A wise person once said,â€™no matter where you are in the world, cultures are never better, and never worse, they are only different. It is when you accept this philosophy that you become a global citizen. At the end of the day, we all share this round little ball we call home.