Volunteering abroad can give you the opportunity to learn about other cultures at the same time as giving something back to the local communities. The easiest way to volunteer is to organise your trip with an organisation that specialises in providing volunteers to worthwhile projects. This takes out some of the stress of planning the small details of a trip. When looking for an organisation it is important to consider how reputable they are. Organisations that use volunteers should make an effort to work alongside local communities with sustainable long term aims. Information like this can usually be found on the organisation’s websites and independent review sites. Look out for who they have partnerships with, how long their projects have been going and whether their work has been recognised or published.
There are a variety of options for those who are interested in volunteering, depending on your interests and career plans. If you want to volunteer in order to help in your quest for a job then it would be useful to choose a relevant placement and to even perhaps gain a qualification while you are there. However any volunteering experience will add an extra dimension to your CV no matter what you choose to do. You may even find that volunteering opens your eyes to a new career possibility.
Terrestrial and Marine conservation projects are a great way for those interested in animals and/or diving to experience wildlife in its natural environment and help to study and protect it. Teaching, community and health projects are good for those who like the satisfaction gained from working with and helping people. Internships are an excellent way to get work experience in a more interesting and challenging environment. These can be done in a variety of areas from journalism, medicine and veterinary. Or if you are keen to combine the structure of a volunteering project with the freedom of independent travel you might like to look into adventure eco trails.
Jenny Collins works for Frontier, an NGO dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, and building sustainable livelihoods for marginalised communities in the world’s poorest countries. Check out the wide variety of opportunities to volunteer abroad with Frontier: whether you’re looking for placements involving teaching abroad, wildlife conservation volunteering, or simply some adventure travel, Frontier is sure to have something suitable. Visit http://www.frontier.ac.uk for more information.