So you’ve decided to take those two weeks of vacation time and use them for good instead of evil – you decided to volunteer abroad. The last time I had paid vacation, I started at a bar with a shot of whisky and woke up two weeks later in a bathtub full of ice in a Tijuana motel with my spleen removed. Best. Vacation. Ever.
But okay Mother Theresa, You’ve got morals, and ethics,and you already donated your spleen to science. You’re going to turn your vacation into an experience volunteering abroad – and we respect that. As a matter of fact, we applaud it!
A lot of the time you actually have to pay to do these Volunteer abroad programs. Most volunteer programs will provide housing, food, and often training; costs that can certainly add up. Saving money and seeking donations can help you to have an enjoyable charitable experience that can last for up to a year or more, and you’ll get some valuable training out the deal. Remember: you’re doing this to help people, it’s not a vacation. (plan on returning with your spleen intact.)
When volunteering in war-torn or poverty-stricken areas, you can’t expect miracles. You will likely be helping out with tedious tasks, but every little bit helps. Try not to be negative and instead focus on the little things and be patient. Even if you don’t see an initial impact, think of the individual people you are helping – they’re sure to be thankful for you.
No matter where you end up volunteering, remember that your volunteer abroad experience is meant to be just that – an experience. So make the most out of your time overseas (or wherever you volunteer). Befriend the locals, explore the area, and have fun while lending a helping hand.