With so many benefits of volunteering abroad, we want to make sure you truly get the most out the incredible experience. Here are a few tips that may help.
Determine your goals before volunteering abroad
Firstly, figure out why you want to volunteer and then select a program that is inline with your interests and will enable you to pursue your goals. Do you need some sort of experience to boost your career? Maybe there are certain skills you want to hone, or perhaps the goal is to make new contacts and expand your network?
When you know what your goals are for volunteering, it’s easier to choose a program to meet your needs, like the GroundRocks Cambodia voluntary work programs.
Keep track of what you learn when volunteering abroad
To get the most out of your experience, keep track of everything you learn during your time volunteering. It will help add to your new skillset and experience, and will also help you describe yourself eloquently in interviews. Keep a list of all the tasks you complete each day and any training you receive, what you learned from it all, and any other amazing experiences you have.
Be truthful about experience and skills
While you may be hoping to develop specific skills during your time volunteering, never exaggerate your skills or abilities just to join the program you are interested in and don’t take on more responsibility than you can handle. A high-stakes environment or developing country is not the place to start doing things you are not yet qualified to do and the result may not be good. But, remember, there is a distinction between the things you are interested in doing and jobs you’re really qualified to undertake. Try to be as open as possible about how much time you can commit to the program early on to ensure you’re all on the same page.
Keep realistic expectations
You’re probably not going to be able to solve major problems or make a significant impact during the volunteer program that only lasts a few weeks, so rather view the entire experience as the opportunity to learn a new set of skills and strengthen your current ones.
That being said, research has shown that with volunteer abroad programs, the longer you remain on the program, the longer lasting and more powerful your impact will be.
Be open and flexible with new things
One of the best ways to get the most out of the experience is to be open about what others will teach you, especially in a foreign country. Volunteers and staff may change often, plans may change without warning, and there’s always the chance that things will be done differently compared to what you are used to. So, make sure you can adapt to changing situations without getting irritated, and be prepared to step well outside your comfort zone at times.
Overall, you need to make sure that you fully understand what the program will expect of you before you arrive. Try to be open to engaging in new jobs or those that are below your skill level, and don’t get hung up on the impact you may have, but rather what you will learn from the experience.
What do you think of volunteering abroad?