Volunteering Abroad: Things to Think About Before Making a Difference

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Deciding to volunteer abroad for a cause that you think is important is a great and selfless thing to do. You decide to forgo the life you know in order to make a difference in other people’s lives: what could be nobler than that?

But even if you think that volunteering in another country is the right thing to do, there are some things you should think about before heading off in a rush. There are a lot of things involved with volunteering abroad and some of them may make you think twice about where you are volunteering and for which cause. Here are some of the things that you need to know before you sign up.

It Can be Dangerous

A lot of global volunteer organizations work in underdeveloped regions of the world: that is where people need help the most, from everything to proper housing to getting clean water and eradicating diseases. This can put volunteers directly in harm’s way.

If you are already thinking about volunteering, then chances are you may not care about the dangers if you believe you will truly be helping people. This is a great attitude to have, but you should know that diseases, famines, and even wars may be right around the corner from wherever you end up, so having the right knowledge from the start will help you tremendously.

You should read everything you can about the region you will be traveling to so you know what you can expect and what you need to do to prepare for it. The volunteer organization will also help you with guidelines and things to watch out for so you stay safe.

You’ll be Giving Up a Lot

Many organizations are able to do their work because they keep the costs of running to a minimum. This is great for the people they are helping, but it means that you will be giving up a lot to travel.

In many parts of the world, running water, air conditioner and heat is a luxury that many people either don’t have or can’t afford. This means that you should be prepared to face many different weather conditions and be able to cope without a shower on many days.

The sooner you begin to prepare yourself for these challenges, the better off you will be in the long run.

You May be Gone for A Long Time

Many volunteer organizations make you sign a contract for up to a few years if you decide to join them, so you should also know that you can be away from home for a long time.

The good news is that if you want to, you can sign up with someone else, like your spouse, so the two of you can do good together. Here are some guidelines for how to volunteer abroad with someone else.

Volunteering is a great way to do good in the world. Just make sure you know what it involves.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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