Post-graduation can often knock students in to a rightly deserved trance, days consisting of lay-ins, frittering away the last pennies of your loan, procrastinating job applications…. Perhaps you just want to see the world, give something back to society, reflect on your life and future ambitions… Whatever your background, it is almost impossible to justify why you shouldn’t volunteer.
Aside from the obvious, great opportunity to meet people, a fascinating experience, one of the great things about volunteering is that you can be as specific as you like in what you want to do. If you’d rather look after turtles in an orphanage then maybe a couple of months in Sri Lanka would be ideal; or perhaps you’ve always been taken by the concept of teaching, and want to share the English language with school children in Peru for a year. After reading all the advantages and positive outcomes of volunteering, we’re sure you’ll be set on the idea and never look back!
Just like with University or a new work place, everyone is in the same boat; ‘freshers’ meet each other, build bonds and lifelong friendships. Volunteering abroad benefits from the same concept and not only will these become people to support you on your journey but you will learn a great deal about their native countries and culture, making these new friendships truly valuable and precious.
Learn new things
Even though you may choose to volunteer in a field that supports and furthers your expertise, there will never be a time short of extending your knowledge and skills to an even higher level. If you have considered working with children or rebuilding schools and houses, you will not only learn physical skills but you will gain an intellectual understanding of the conditions and environments that some people survive in. Not only this is incredibly insightful, but it often evokes gratitude and appreciation for the life you have at home.
Sense of achievement and accomplishment
At college or university, or even in a job, you are given a great deal of guidance with not much room to prove initiative and self-motivation. You may not realise but this can often cause low self-esteem and lack of confidence. When you volunteer, you have initiated this journey and will push yourself until the very end which will give you a great confidence boost and sense of achievement. With people from all walks of life in the same position as you, moral support is never short making the journey endurable and engaging.
Learn a language
Aside from all the other new skills you will learn, you may feel this would be a great opportunity to develop your linguistic skills or even learn a brand new language. It is a well known fact that the best way to learn a new language is by immersing yourself in it; hearing a native speaker 24 hours a day will have you picking it up in no time! Aside from the leisure and hobby aspect, language skills are a highly valued asset in today’s job market, with international communication becoming very frequent and rapidly increasing, there really is nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
Gain skills and experience
Volunteering abroad will gain you an extremely broad set of skills and experience in various fields such as social work, animal care and education. The range to explore is vast and wonderful and acquiring a new skill set or area of expertise will be beneficial both practically and professionally. A CV with a thorough and broad list of self-obtained skills is a lot more preferable over a CV consisting solely of professional qualifications. Skills set you apart from other employees and potential candidates and make you unique and exclusive!
First-hand experience of culture
Of course, a massive incentive of volunteering abroad is the travelling, adventure and culture insight. Differing from your usual summer holiday, you will want to try new foods and experience the culture and customs in your destination as well as interact with the locals. Some volunteering organisations will offer you the choice to stay with a local family which will really give you the chance to experience traditional ways of life and prevent you feeling like a tourist!
And most importantly, have fun!
Most importantly and an absolute given, volunteering should be fun! The opportunities, unique adventures and working so closely with such a diverse and dynamic community will be a life-changing experience and nothing short of memorable. Making friends for life, experiencing culture from a new angle and obtaining skills you’d never have imagined will have you returning home, a new person with a whole new world of possibilities at your feet.
Written by Sofia Kluge on Google+