You’re heading off on the adventure of a lifetime. It’s pretty hectic getting yourself together for it: telling people that you’re leaving; planning which countries you’re heading to; figuring out what you want to see; looking up various routes and possibilities; attempting the impossible task of figuring out what to pack; actually attempting to pack… the list is never ending. But one thing you may not have given much thought to yet is a way to give back while you’re travelling.
If you’ve ever volunteered before, you’re already aware of how rewarding it is. It’s one of those experiences where if you go in with an open mind, you’ll receive five times as much as you give. If you haven’t tried it before, here’s a few reasons why you should think about adding it in to your journey…
#1: A great way to boost your CV
The glaringly obvious and least exciting reason of the bunch: it’s a great way to boost your CV. It showcases your adaptability, flexibility, cultural awareness and existing skill sets, whilst helping you develop new skills and improve others – such as communication and leadership. It’ll help you stand out to present and future employers as someone who’s not afraid of challenge and adventure, as well as having an awareness of the bigger picture outside of your own personal experience.
#2: Try something new
It gives you a chance to try something that you’ve always wanted to do. Considered teaching as a career and looking for a way to try it out for a couple of months? Your uni summer holidays are the perfect time. Wanted to work with exotic animals your whole life? Volunteering in animal conservation organisations are your dream come true. The list goes on!
#3: Experience another culture
It’s your chance to truly experience another culture and life in another community. Believe it or not, but life can be vastly different for someone living in a remote town in a developing country – different, even, to your expectations. If the community know that you are there to try and help them with projects that they want underway, such as helping to build their new sanitation systems, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and before you know it you’ll have more new ‘family members’ than you can count. It’s the perfect way to perform a true cultural exchange.
#4: A new challenge
It’s a new challenge. Living and working in a different community provides all sorts of obstacles, and is a fantastic way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
#5: Give something back
Last but certainly not least, giving back is awesome. It’s that little kick you get from Random Acts of Kindness – but every day.
We can tell you here at RouteSalad that our experiences of volunteering abroad have truly made our trips special, and have been total highlights. It’s something worth giving some serious thought to before you set off, or even once you’re on the road – but you’ve been warned: it’s addictive!