Scholars tracked the act of voluntary return in medieval Britain when poverty and disease struck many of its people. In the 19th century, the Young Men’s Christian Association or YMCA emerged to help the British population after the Industrial Revolution. From then on, voluntary organizations were established all over the world, especially in the 20th century.
Today, because of the Internet, people can choose volunteer opportunities outside their countries and travel for a cause. There are many reasons to volunteer abroad, and if you’re considering this type of charity work, here are the most compelling ones to encourage you to go.
Make the world a better place
Many global crises endanger people, animals and nature, especially in rural communities and underdeveloped countries. Wars, disease, poverty, climate change, human rights violations, overpopulation, pollution, poaching and other unfortunate events destroy lives, homes and ecosystems. You can help by traveling to affected destinations and participating in efforts to stop the damage or at least slow it down.
From teaching children and adults to reviving coral reefs and protecting baby turtles as they hatch, you have a variety of opportunities to make this world a better place. Building and renovating hospitals, schools and other structures destroyed by natural disasters are also available if you want to improve the living standards of local communities. Some positions require specific education, such as hospital volunteering, but many require only enthusiasm, positive energy, and dedication.
Travel to almost any destination
If you want to see exotic destinations, like Fiji or Bali, but can’t for financial reasons, volunteering can be a great way to travel. For example, if you are at the end of your medical studies, you can volunteer as an intern at a hospital in Tanzania. This can take you to local communities with rich cultural heritage during your shifts, but when you’re off work, you can go sightseeing and be a regular tourist.
Animal lovers can apply to volunteer at Peruvian alpaca and llama farms or marine conservation in Vanuatu. This type of travel is even more rewarding than doing it for tourism as you will have access to the cultures, traditions and essence of your destination.
Expand your circle of friends
You won’t be volunteering alone. People from all over the world come to one destination and join efforts to help and participate in charity projects. This type of fellowship creates a bond between people that can last a lifetime, no matter where you all come from.
When you get home, you’ll have lots of new contacts on your phone and great memories. Whether you’re making friends with locals or foreigners, you won’t be alone during and after volunteering.
Improve your mental health
Helping people, animals and communities can stimulate the body to release dopamine – a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of motivation and pleasure. It will increase positive thinking and bring a sense of purpose, as well as reduce stress and thereby improve your physical health. Traveling and volunteering abroad it’s especially beneficial for the body and mind because it takes you out of your comfort zone and into new experiences.
While some situations you encounter may be emotionally difficult, you have a chance to do something about it and make it better. Whether it’s elephant conservation in Thailand or sustainable agriculture in Kenya, you’ll change lives and yourself during your volunteer work.
Help your career
Altruistic reasons should be the only reason you decide to travel to volunteer, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see many benefits. In addition to those we have already mentioned, perhaps the one that can affect your life the most is her contribution to your career. Future employers will see it as an advantage, especially if you’ve volunteered in your area of expertise.
For example, if you are an anthropologist, volunteering with indigenous people, such as the Maasai Mara tribe in Kenya, will allow you to apply your knowledge and learn new things. Also, being an intern in hospitals in Nepal or Cambodia as a graduate nurse or doctor will do the same.
Take a break from your life
It’s okay for him take a break from the daily stress in your everyday life and step away to volunteer. Chronic stress that people are exposed to at work, school or in any other situation can lead to serious health problems. With undeniable mental health benefits, volunteering can allow you to recharge and stop for a while.
While being in places of suffering may seem like what you don’t need to relieve stress, you have control over where you go. You can choose environmental and mangrove conservation in the Philippines or temple restoration in Sri Lanka. Consider what type of leave you’ll be comfortable with so you can be helpful when volunteering to others and yourself.
Connecting with your family
Volunteering is a great way to do that connection with your family. As a parent, you are teaching your children how to be responsible and respectful of the world around them. As a child, you allow your parents to understand you better and be a part of your life.
Although family members can bond in other ways, the unique experience that comes from volunteering is more impactful than movie nights. If you have young children, they would love to work for turtle conservation in Guatemala or at a wildlife sanctuary in Australia.
Communities around the world need help. Just one of these reasons to volunteer abroad is enough to inspire you to travel for a cause. For the most rewarding experience, choose a destination and charity that you feel passionate about and comfortable with. The only way to make a positive difference in the world is to do it from the heart and love it.