Whether it’s for animal rescue operations or humanitarian advocacies, volunteerism is an essential thread weaving the fabrics of society. With the help of volunteers abroad, impoverished communities and discriminated groups are given opportunities to enjoy the comforts of life. For those who are interested in volunteering their time and energy to a worthwhile cause, here are four great ways to get you started:
Look Up your Prospective Sponsor
The organization sponsoring your trip can make or break your entire volunteer experience since they pretty much have control over every major fork in the road, including where you’ll be stationed and what range of activities you can partake in. Understand what the sponsoring organization’s objective is and make sure that it aligns with your objectives for the trip. If you have any questions or concerns, you should ask before making any firm commitments.
Assess Your Skill Set
Your intentions to help others is good, but you must also be specific as to what kind of help you can offer. What are you most interested in doing while you’re on the trip? Note that there are many ways to help a community in need – education, mentorship, manual labor, environmental projects, etcetera. Volunteering is too broad and vague a word to contain all of the possibilities in which you can help hence it is important to narrow it down to one or two skills or expertise.
Commit to an Extended Assignment
Although it could work for some volunteers, such as veterinarians or physicians, a one-week volunteer gig is not enough to make any meaningful long-term impact. Volunteering to do manual work, such as laying the groundwork or hauling supplies, for a week is not a smart use of resources, given the expenses of airline tickets, lodging, and ground transportation. While there is no minimum time commitment required for volunteering abroad, it makes practical sense to allocate at least a couple of weeks of your time for your volunteer trip.
Find Programs That Are Well-Connected With Locals
Having the support and presence of the local community is the only way any volunteer work will last in the long run. Working with local groups and families will give you a better sense of problems and possible solutions to said problems.
Volunteering overseas is an altruistic decision that not only helps other people but also enriches your own life with invaluable experiences. Do it right by using the four tips above to help you find the right volunteer work.