Volunteering abroad

Published 11th August 2011
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Volunteering abroad

After talking about studying abroad in Europe, I think it is now a good time to say a few things about volunteering in a foreign country! Of course you can both study and volunteer abroad at the same time. I think that volunteering is actually the most suitable option in some cases.

First of all, volunteering is a great idea if you want to be able to spend some time in a country whose language you do not know. You will be immersed in the language among native speakers, and will get a real taste for the language. You can volunteer in most countries. The options are endless! Secondly, a year or just a few months volunteering are a great way to acquire skills and knowledge in a sector you did know about before. These can include conservation, archaeology or teaching. If you are interested in one of those careers, but do not know if it is right for you, some time spent volunteering can be a good idea to help you make a decision. Finally, it is easier to go to some countries as a volunteer (or a tourist) than as a job hunter!

To the internet for help

The internet is full of volunteering programmes and associations. Just type ‘volunteering abroad’ into a search engine, and you will be flooded with thousands of results. However, there a few things which should first be taken into account.

To begin with, although it is volunteering, I would keep an eye on what is included and what you are expected to pay. If for example flights to – let’s say – Cambodia are not included, it is worth making a comparison between a few similar programmes. Having a rough idea of how much those flights will cost can be helpful. You don’t really want to end up spending a huge amount of money, do you? Also, it is advisable to talk to someone who has had a similar experience. They might be able to make you aware of some issues you hadn’t considered, or give you valuable advice.

Have you ever volunteered abroad? And for how long? We’d love to know your experiences!

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