Gap Year Travel- Volunteering Abroad

Taking a year off can be one of the most meaningful experiences in your life. Many have found that their gap year travel is the time when they are able to reflect on their lives, learn more about themselves and simply relax and get away from all the daily stress. Instead of simply using your gap year for socialising and sightseeing, why not include some humanitarian volunteering? Volunteering abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of your chosen country. This can be a two-way exchange that allows you to give something back to the community while you too have a once in a lifetime experience.

However, there are many challenges you will face should you decide to spend your gap year volunteering abroad. There are some suggestions that can help you determine whether volunteering abroad is something that you can do.

Is it for me?

One of the first ways that can help you determine if volunteering is for you is to a lot of research.  Start by choosing a destination. Talk to people, search on the internet, check the news and newspapers for ideas where to go. Make sure you find out useful information such as the weather, culture, activities, visa requirements, safety as well as monetary issues.

Also consider your personal limitations. Volunteering abroad is sure to be fulfilling but it also poses many physical challenges. Volunteers work normal hours and depending on the activity you choose, the work normally includes some sort of physical activity. Not only is it physically taxing but it also implies emotional issues that you will need to handle.

Community service Gap Year Volunteering (Creative commons)
Community service Gap Year Volunteering (Creative commons)

The culture is another aspect that you should think about. In order to be able to volunteer abroad, you really must be willing to forego some of the comforts you are used to since countries that usually accept these volunteer travels are third world countries. This is another important target for your research since being aware about what is in store and what you will expect is half the victory.

Volunteer options abroad

There are literally hundreds of projects worldwide that accept volunteers. Some of the popular options include conservation which involves working towards preserving natural habitats, scientific research in different fields, teaching, sports coaching, and community service such as HIV awareness programs and even medical that allows you to help in medical institutions.

Teaching Gap year volunteering (creative commons)
Teaching Gap year volunteering (creative commons)

Spending your gap year volunteering abroad is one way to experience a country in a way that normal travellers simply can’t.

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