Most people have the opportunity to travel abroad at some point in their lives, whether during retirement, on vacation, or while they’re at university. If you can afford to volunteer overseas, it’s definitely an opportunity to take advantage of, because it’ll greatly benefit you and those you help in various ways. People who volunteer abroad usually only have praise for their experience, even if it wasn’t what they originally anticipated. Here are some great reasons to take advantage of volunteering abroad if you get the chance or are planning to in the future.
Make an impact
It always feels nice to help your friend, neighbor, or the occasional stranger, but a real difference is made for the duration of the life of someone you help while volunteering abroad.
When you travel abroad and use your skills to help someone in need, you’ll feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. When you learn how to navigate a foreign landscape, often without having a complete grasp on the language, you’ll realize how independent you really can be. You’ll experience living on your own, away from familiar surroundings, as well as familiar people.
Understand other cultures
Just by being abroad, you’ll expose yourself to cultures you aren’t familiar with already. When you live in another culture for a period of time, you’ll acquire a deeper understanding of it in a way you could have never gotten through reading or merely hearing about it.
Learn a language
Whether you’re volunteering abroad and trying to fully immerse yourself in a new language or are just learning basics to navigate while you’re there, you’ll obtain new language skills that make you more well-rounded and can help in your relations to other people and even in your career.
Make new connections
These connections can be personal or professional, but volunteering abroad opens up an entirely new realm of relationships with new people. You might meet a future spouse, a lifelong friend, or a professional connection that could lead to a ensuing job or educational opportunity. Becoming close to people in the place you travel to can lead to incredible benefits for both of you.
Appreciate your home
More often than not, when people are away from home for a significant amount of time, they begin realizing how truly unique their home is and what they appreciate about it the most. After traveling abroad for a while, you’ll be able to come home and feel comforted by the familiarity. You’ll see your home in a new light.
This insight can be into people, the world, or even yourself. When you travel abroad to help others, you’ll realize people are not as different as conflicts make them seem and you’ll learn more about yourself in the process. Lots of people come back from volunteering abroad saying they’re a new person; for some of them, it’s true.