Here are our top tips to help you choose the best volunteering program for you.
- Getting Started with Volunteer Opportunities
Do you ever feel a bit tired of the same old travel routine of plane, hotel, tour, bus, hotel ad infinitum? While this more sort of travel can bring about some great experiences, sometimes it is best to try out something else and change up the formula.
Volunteer travel can give you the opportunity to do this. It can give you unique insights into local communities and allow you to contribute something positive directly to a cause of your choice, all while seeing and doing new exciting things every day. If this isn’t enough motivation for you then to top it all off, volunteering abroad can save you a stack of cash too.
There are a lot of options on offer. Many provide truly valuable assistance to worthy causes, whereas unfortunately, some others are of questionable value to the areas and communities they supposedly try to help. This makes it vital to think carefully about which provider you choose, and always do some research.
- What are your intentions, goals and expectations for volunteering abroad?
Before you choose a volunteer organization to go with, you should always make sure to figure out exactly what you want to get from your experience.
For most people, the first decision to be made will be where to go. When it comes to volunteering, it will generally be easier to find more worthwhile opportunities in more economically developing countries, as opposed to richer countries like those in Western Europe and North America.
Equally important will be the decision of which type of volunteer project you want to focus your time and energy on. Do you want to teach English to school children? Or do you want more of an environmental cause, such working on animal conservation? There are many different choices on offer, so try to narrow it down to help find what is best for you.
- What is your financial commitment to volunteering?
Money will be something you have to carefully consider before embarking on your trip. For most volunteering experiences, you will have to pay some upfront costs. These will mostly go towards covering your own living expenses like accommodation and food. The places that require most help from volunteers are not going to be in a position to pay for these themselves, so it is important to remember this when considering volunteer travel.
Different volunteering organizations offer a massively varied range of value on packages. At the upper end of the scale, companies may charge 1000s of dollars for a couple of weeks of volunteering, while others may offer the same kind of package for a fraction of the price. It all depends on what you want, and what you’re willing to pay.
Nicoleta is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.