Working abroad: a life-changing opportunity
More and more people of all ages are volunteering to work for interesting projects based all over the world. From teaching in India to nursing abroad in Africa, conservation work in South East Asia to construction work in South America, the opportunities for volunteering are endless and the commitment required ranges from a couple of weeks to a couple of years.
Volunteering is a two-way process – you get out of it what you put in and you take away just as many new experiences and opportunities as you help provide. What does the experience of being a volunteer abroad give back to the volunteers? From the enthusiastic endorsements of many who have benefited from the experience, here’s what volunteers can take away:
New skills and experience
Volunteering is an exciting way to gain useful experience in a number of fields: education, journalism, social work, animal care, health care, marketing, politics, web design – you name it and you can probably gain it!
While many employers look for relevant experience on a CV, they are also looking for evidence of commitment, determination, independence and someone who can provide that something extra. Volunteering helps to give you this edge by making you stand out from the CV crowd.
Learn a new language
The career path of those with a second language can become that much broader – and where better to learn a new language than working side by side with those who speak it? International communication is of growing importance because of the rapidly expanding global economy and you can cherry-pick your volunteering destination to match your target language.
Learning a new language is never easy, but you will get a lot further learning Spanish in Nicaragua than you will attending evening classes. When you spend a significant amount of time abroad with native language speakers, you will be amazed at how quickly you can become fluent.
New job opportunities
For some volunteers their work has led directly to a paid job with an NGO or charity. Some volunteers see it as an intern opportunity that gives them the chance to try out a new field, such as teaching, to see if it suits them. Others, like nurses, do the work to see if they would enjoy working abroad in particular countries. For all volunteering helps open new doors.
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