Tips on How to Find the Suitable Volunteers Program for You
If you feel inspired to help others and take action into making this world a better place, then your place is in a volunteers program. You can chose between hundreds of programs that offer experienced or non-experienced seekers the opportunity to travel and discover the world in a friendly and useful way. Did you know that, every year, thousands of men and women become volunteers in their desire to help unprivileged communities from all across the globe? These people are just like you: young, motivated, in search of adventure and built with a strong will to make a change in the world.
Why volunteer abroad?
It is not compulsory to choose a volunteers program abroad; you can find one even in your country. But, in terms of personal development and growth, we can assure you that a foreign experience is always the better choice. Unfortunately, there are many communities in the world that suffer from all sorts of shortcomings: lack of education, lack of proper health care, hunger, poverty, environmental distress. These are just a few areas where volunteers are welcomed to land a hand.
On the other hand, working abroad will help you develop a set of personal skills and enlarge your vision upon the world. While being part of a volunteers program, you will discover other people, just like you, people who are dedicated and motivated to make a positive change. Not to forget there is the cross-cultural component, the adventure of new sights and the opportunity to travel in places you rarely dreamt of visiting. If you want to find out more about this challenge, come see our page “5 reasons to become a volunteer“.
Who can become a volunteer?
Actually, this is the best part. Everybody can join a volunteers program because all people with good will and open mind are accepted and recruited. People from all countries, all education backgrounds, income levels and social abilities have been chosen to partake in this wonderful journey of volunteering abroad.
The only limit you might encounter in some programs is the age limit – usually you have to be at least 16 to be accepted in a volunteers program, this also being the legal age of working in most countries. Assuming that the age limit is not a problem, you can therefore start searching for the program that suits you best. When doing this, also keep in mind that, if you do have professional experience in the medical, technical or business field, for example, it is wiser to choose a program that will allow you to put those skills into practice.
How long do I have to stay?
This is only up to you and your availability to be away from home for a shorter or longer term. Some volunteer programs last for several weeks, others for several months or even years. Most programs have a set date, but there are also programs that will allow you to determine your own date for the start and the end of the program.
It all depends on the type of volunteers program you are enrolling in: the shorter ones have a specific target – for example building a church or a hospital in a community, while the longer ones will give volunteers the opportunity to be part of the community by working with local people side by side and thus creating a joint environment and becoming more attached to the cause. To find out more about programs that offer such options, see here.
Do I need to speak their language?
First of all, you still don’t know where you are going. Secondly, it is highly improbable you know to speak the languages and dialects of the stranded communities you are going to help. Therefore, the sole requirement in most volunteers programs is a basic knowledge of English, as an international spoken language. But you don’t have to feel limited, because once in a volunteers program, you have the chance to learn a new language. Moreover, in some programs, volunteers are offered language skill training before sent to work in a certain community.
Where will I eat & sleep?
It is quite normal for young volunteers to ask this question. It is important to know that all accommodation and everyday meals is provided by the organization or volunteers program you are enrolling in. But also keep in mind that all these facilities will be in accordance to the standard of living of the local people. Therefore, if you are going to work in a rural community, you will be hosted by a respected family from that community, but volunteers will not receive a preferential treatment even if they are foreigners.
Will I get paid?
No. Remember that you are going there to help other people in need and do wonderful things for poor communities, not to get a full signed check for your effort. After all, that is the meaning of becoming a volunteer – helping other unconditionally and without monetary remuneration.
How much will it cost me?
Again, the cost of such programs may vary because the fee is calculated on many essential factors. Some international programs for volunteers offer in the same price airfare, accommodation, board, and in-country support. Also, some fees are allocated to other benefits such as health and accident insurance, emergency evacuation, language training, and others.
In order not to have any unpleasant surprises while abroad, it is best to ask for assistance from your desired volunteers program representative.