Author Bio: Riyanka Roy – Riyanka mostly focuses on volunteering trips and responsible tourism. She’s a freelance blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories, which she narrates on Backpacking Romance.
Even a couple of decades back, traveling abroad was a huge deal – and a vacation in a new country meant something extraordinary. But for our generation, the concept of holidays has surely changed immensely. Today, we don’t just want to see jaw-dropping sights and savor authentic cuisines, but we also wish to travel sustainably and give something back to the local communities, making a difference to their lives.
I’m sure you’re able to relate to what I’m trying to say – yeah, I’m actually talking about volunteering abroad for a meaningful cause during your trips. Not only will it give you the opportunity to help others, but it’ll help your growth as well – making you see the world differently.
1. Volunteering Abroad Will Teach You To Embrace The Unexpected
While on a holiday, you’d rather chill and relax mostly, going by your plans. But a volunteer trip will be a roller-coaster ride, where each day will bring new challenges and it’ll eventually teach you to embrace the unexpected, forcing you to think of solutions to several problems that already exist at the project site, which you’ve chosen.
2. You’ll Learn How To Adapt Quickly
Just as the chameleon can camouflage itself from one tree to the next, you’ll start to see yourself adapting from one task to another with increased ease. You’ll have to mold yourself as per the lifestyle of your host community and it’s rare that a volunteer abroad trip will be plain sailing. Your flexibility will be tested at every point, making your trip one of a kind experience.
3. Volunteering Abroad Will Boost Your Confidence.
There would probably be various things that you thought you can never do – but volunteering abroad will throw you straight into the deep end. No matter whether it’s teaching little kids in Kenya or looking after the elephants in Thailand – as you’d keep finishing each task successfully, you’ll feel more confident about yourself. By the time your volunteer trip comes to an end, your confidence levels will be sky-high.
4. It’ll Be An Opportunity To Experience A New Culture Completely
You never really know a place until you’ve lived there. If you’re volunteering somewhere which includes accommodation, you’ll dive headfirst into the lives and culture of those around you. From morning ’til night, you’ll be living and breathing a culture which is different from your own – something which just can’t be experienced from the comfort of a tour bus. You’ll get to learn more about their history, their food, their festivals – and eventually, enrich yourself.
5. You’ll Get To Learn New Skills
Language development, project management, teaching, construction – these are just a few of the skills you could pick up along the way whilst you’re volunteering abroad. It’s different than just sitting in a class, as you’re learning on the job, so you’ll naturally pick things up way faster than if you were attempting it back home. There will be professionals to guide you at the volunteer project that you choose to be a part of, as well as immense scope for peer learning.
6. You Learn How To Live Simply
When you surround yourself with people who don’t have much, you start to question how important your “must-have” items really are. The locals don’t care if the top you’re wearing is from a cool expensive shop or whether you have the latest iPhone. It’ll be a process to unwind and let go – as you’ll learn to be grateful for the little things of life and start valuing them. This can be extremely liberating when you return back home, as you place less importance on things and more importance on living.
Once the pandemic gets over, I’m sure you’d pack your bags and embark on a much-awaited trip. How about considering a meaningful volunteer trip this time? Traveling aimlessly from one country to the next can be a hell of a ride, but volunteering can add a sense of purpose to the trip and vice versa. For many, volunteering abroad in another country can act as a springboard for further exploration of a country.