The Expat Guide To Volunteering Abroad

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a man volunteering to clean rubbish at the beach

If you are like many people throughout the world, you have already involved yourself with some kind of charity or volunteering work. This might be one hour per month, two hours per week or even full time. Maybe you are simply not getting the time to volunteer and you want to allocate a week or month every year for projects across the globe?

Although volunteering in your home country can be extremely rewarding, a lot of people feel like they need the experience of volunteering abroad. They get to experience new cultures and it opens their eyes to what is going on around them. Of course, learning a new language is going to be part of the deal. If you are planning to volunteer abroad, then are some things that you should consider.

Take Time To Develop Yourself

There are many inspiring volunteering schemes across the globe. They are run by people that put their blood, sweat, tears and even their own cash into these projects. These people are people that should be role models. When you are involved in a volunteering project, take it as an opportunity to develop yourself by learning from the inspiring people around you.

Are there aspects of you that need to be sculpted, or changed altogether? Could you take anything away from the people that you are working with? How could your work here and new perspective help you, to help others, when you eventually get home?

Making A Difference

A lot of people that volunteer abroad will have taken time off from work in order to do so. Although the thought of relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean or white water rafting in Scotland might seem appealing, they know there are people out there that need help. If you are one of these people, then make sure that your time here really does make a difference.

Many of the projects will be in villages where there seems to be little hope. Some help, inspiration and motivation is sometimes all these people need to help them get on the right path; make sure you are able to give it to them. Don’t take your personal problems with you, as these people have their own problems to deal with.

The Cost

Volunteering projects cost money to keep up and running. Labour, is only a small part of the cost of these projects. For that reason, you might be asked to purchase a package before you join. This will go towards tools and equipment that you will be using during the volunteering project. Of course, you will also need to account for your flight to and from the project, as well as transfers. Make sure you have plenty of cash before you leave.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements vary a great deal throughout the world. Some countries will have specific travelling visas for volunteers, whereas other countries may require that you use a working visa for the duration of your stay. Like your money, you need to prepare visas well in advance of your trip. Whether you need a volunteer visa in England or a South African work permit, give yourself at least 3-6 months to get the application in and time for it to be approved.


Alex is a professional content writer and has been writing for a huge range of blogs since around 2007. Since he began his writing career he has been has over 100 pieces published on a huge variety of blogs. The subjects that he has covered include the likes of motors and the economy, although he has a passion for travelling.

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