Thinking of volunteering abroad?

Thinking of volunteering abroad? Not sure what to do about it? Maybe you need to stop procrastinating!

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about travelling or volunteering abroad for some time but with so many things to consider, you’re really not sure what to do (or how to do it). With any big choice we make, there’s usually an element of risk but you should always consider all the positives that you’ll discover once you’ve made your decision and taken that first step.

With all of our modern-day distractions of work, family life and 24/7 media interaction, it can be tough to really focus on what we want to achieve and how we achieve it. Most of us realise that the future can be uncertain but that’s not to say that doing nothing is a better choice! Ask yourself: what are you doing right now that’s better than volunteering abroad?

Big life changes can open doors to exciting new futures

Remember that making a big change can be difficult – but very often, that’s the point!  No big life decisions are easy but volunteering is ultimately satisfying and very worthwhile. So challenge yourself – be courageous and get out of your comfort zone! Did you know that some of the most influential things in life are found by accident when we are not looking for them, finding a life partner is one obvious one. The discovery of penicillin is probably the most famous scientific example, found by accident in a laboratory when mould spores flew in the window whilst Alexander Fleming was away.  And that is often the case with volunteering. You may decide to volunteer for one reason, then after your trip based on the experiences you encounter you decide to change career afterwards. Many volunteers tell us they arrived home with a completely different perspective on life, some even make volunteering their raison d’etre, returning as often as they can.

Make a list to get yourself started

But you need to get there in the first place. Because if you do not have a motivation to go – you will never get there! Start by making a list of all the things in your life that you’re not satisfied with because these are often our biggest motivators! Make new friends? Do something which is needed and appreciated? Get away from work or the weather at home? Or take a look through the photos in our Facebook groups and the website. One or two may leap out at you and inspire you to take the next steps. You might find something you were not looking for . Some volunteers tell us it was one image alone that drew them to their project in the first place.

Set weekly or monthly targets

Next, set yourself a realistic goal – you could research a particular location that you’re interested in, read some of our volunteer stories and make an enquiry. Next, set yourself a deadline – for example this week I will book on to a project, by the end of next month I will buy my flight, by month three I will have my spending money. Action and deadlines planned in advance will help give you confidence for taking your first big decision: signing up for one of our incredible volunteer projects!

Talk to others  who have been – with a word of caution!

Talk to a few people who have already volunteered on your intended project; ask them questions and make sure they tell you everything about their time – their greatest moments and the warts and all! But be careful not to use these an excuse not to take the leap. So watch out when you hear about the condition of the local transport, the heat or the toilets. It’s human nature to over-emphasise the niggly aspects, it makes for far more interesting conversation. After all there are only so many times they can tell you “it was incredible, it changed my life”.  Want to get in touch with others who have been? Contact us and we’ll pass your details on.

Travel with others 

Connect with an Original Volunteers buddy who can travel with you; they’ll have the same concerns and will be your motivation for when you may have doubts about your decision. Even better if they already have a flight.

Start planning now!

Start planning your trip as soon as possible! There’s no point just sitting there; you’ll need to arrange your travel documents well in advance (plane tickets, passport, VISA etc.) and you’ll also need to raise funds to pay for things when you reach your destination. How will you be paying for food and excursions for example? Don’t forget that flight costs fluctuate daily so keep updated with all the latest information and prices.

So start planning your trip now. The longer you delay it, the harder it will be to act. As soon as an idea starts to form, do something about it! Volunteering abroad is often a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our travellers and you can be a part of that too.

Here are some reasons why you should volunteer with us:

·     Low cost – with volunteer projects starting from just £55 per week, including accommodation, we’re the experts in travelling on a budget!

·     Support – our team of experienced local staff at every project ensure that you’re totally supported and will never be on your own. Take a look at The Team tabs on the project pages for more information.

·     Flexibility – our placements can be taken for one or two weeks and odd numbers of days , 9, 12 days etc and we don’t have fixed start dates

·     Bespoke – if you’ve got a specific area you’d like to visit to help out a local project, let us know! We’ll look into it for you and do our best to arrange a local placement

·     Trustworthy – we’ve been providing our unique volunteering abroad services now for nearly 10 years. Our volunteers feel safe and enjoy their trips – read their reviews for personal insights and incredible stories!

·     Variety – we offer a huge range of volunteer placements so if you’d like to work with orphans, street kids, animals or conservation, we can help!