Every year, thousands of people from all over the world up sticks and and travel miles away from their homes in order to volunteer abroad, but even more so do not. Here are five myths on the act of volunteering abroad that are overdue a dispelling, and may even make you consider being one of those who do do it!
You don’t get to explore or travel
Along with the satisfaction of making a difference in people’s lives, volunteering abroad is also actually one of the best ways to travel and discover a country. Those who volunteer in Costa Rica, for example, find a good balance between their volunteering and having the ability to travel and enjoy their free time.
You must be prepared to lose out on a lot money as you donate your free labour
Like any sort of extended travelling experience, the idea of running out of funds is frightening — the idea of having to ask someone back home *cough parents cough* to bail you out, even more so. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a lot of projects and companies offering on-site accommodation and a plan of where/what you’d like the money you’ve taken with you to go, everything will be fine. But if you’re still finding yourself worrying about coming up short, click here for advice on how to make whatever currency it is in your wallet stretch farther.
You must be specifically experienced, skilled or qualified
The majority of standard projects offered by Projects Abroad, for example, have no requirements when it comes to experience, skills or qualifications. As long as you are creative, flexible and patient, they’re more than happy to assist you in being able to do great orphanage work or teaching projects with children even if you have not got a TEFL certificate or are a professional teacher.
Every day will be enriching
This might come as a bit of a downer, but not every day will bring with it a life lesson that you’ll carry with your forever: Just like any job, paid or unpaid, there will be bad days. There will be times when you will be irritated, tired and maybe even homesick. But, for every one of these days that you have in a week, there will be another six that will be there to cheer you up again.
It is only for the young
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with anybody seeking voluntary experience abroad, no matter their age. Yes, volunteering on a gap year, for instance, is very popular because of it being a great way of showing future employers that you can stand on your own feet halfway across the world; however, you could also be retired with a wanting to share the skills you’ve gained through decades of experience with a worthwhile cause. No matter what your age, if you’re bored, you’re bored, so volunteering abroad could very well be for you.
Maybe it’s time you started considering your next adventure to be a holiday with a difference?