There are countless reasons to choose to volunteer abroad, far too many to mention, but here are some of the more significant, and perhaps obvious, reasons:
- Volunteering abroad provides an opportunity to help less fortunate members of our society and their communities. By lending them a hand you can help them to improve their circumstances,
- It offers a chance to travel in a less superficial way, you live, work and play with the communities that you volunteer in and more closely experience different cultures, priorities, pleasures and problems,
- It provides, for westerners like me, an amazing contrast and context, revealing how privileged our lives are,
- It’s a chance to learn a lot about yourself, to examine your outlook on life, the attitudes you hold and the way you interact with people,
- You’ll develop new skills, or deepen existing skills – not just practical skills such as languages, but also softer skills such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
- You will learn to become more adaptable and flexible. Unlike in the west, the solution to most practical problems cannot be bought in a store, when you’re in rural Africa you need to be resourceful. Being placed in an unfamiliar environment forces you to use your initiative and develop self-confidence.
- You meet some truly amazing people, from within the communities that you join and amongst your fellow volunteers. Life long friendships can be formed in an environment where you frequently live, work and play closer to people than anywhere else in your life.