Volunteering abroad is definitely the best way to travel to a new destination and make a difference to the people of the host community.Beyond the obvious benefits of volunteering, it also adds some brownie points to your Resume, and boosts your career. Employers are always looking for candidates who have an extra edge over others, when it comes to work experience and grassroots level involvement.
The question might arise in your mind - Why Corporate Houses and Hiring Managers are more keen of employing volunteers?
The answer is - While full-time work experience undoubtedly counts, there’s a financial interest attached to it. To put it more clearly, one draws a salary in lieu of the work done. In case of volunteering, the matter is totally different, and one works with the objective of giving back to the society, without any vested self interest.
Naturally, employers tend to give more preference to volunteers than the rest of the candidates.
“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s tougher to make a difference.” – Tom Brokaw, Journalist.
For gap year travelers, students in their high school or college, as well as people who are in the phase of a career break, consider volunteering as the option to alleviate your chances of getting a better employment opportunity.
Let’s take a look at how volunteering abroad can boost your career.
Volunteering will help you to polish your skills.
We all have certain qualities and skills which need to be polished for getting better. In an educational course, most of our time is absorbed in gaining more knowledge about the subject, but volunteering gives us the opportunity to polish our skills. If you think you are a good storyteller, but have never tried telling stories to many people at one time, then go for volunteering with kids, and spend time telling them stories in the best manner that you can. After a few days, you will realize that you are more confident and able to tell stories in a better way than you could do previously.
While polishing your existing skills, volunteering also gives you a chance to acquire new skills.
If you choose a project that perfectly suits your skill sets, then you will get an opportunity to polish those skills, and perhaps discover a side that you never knew you possessed! You might have always loved to be around children, but only when you join a teaching project, will you understand that you have the ability to share your knowledge effectively while nurturing them with love and care. Usually, in most of the projects, people from all over the world come together, and thus, there’s immense scope of peer learning. You will return back with several new skills, which will help you in the long run.
Volunteering will enhance your network.
As you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll realize that the world is much wider than it otherwise appears to be! Meeting people from different countries will enhance your network, and that will be immensely useful for your future. It will also increase your chances of getting a job abroad - what more can one ask for? And if you have an excellent experience of volunteering, your supervisor might serve as a reference when you’re applying for jobs.
Volunteering helps in self-improvement and uplifts confidence level.
Lack of exposure is often a reason for the lack of confidence. Being in that known circle of yours, you grow so comfortable that you are always hesitant of breaking the ice. If you travel abroad to volunteer, you’ll get to work on yourself - learn how to deal in adverse situations, learn how to adjust with people of different habits, learn to communicate with people through emotions rather than words, learn to be self-sufficient. All these will eventually uplift your confidence level, and you will be more groomed than others in several ways. This will be a positive point shining brightly on your CV.
Volunteering will make you more focused.
Each one of us have a particular concentration level, and there are times when we get distracted by little things, and find ourselves completely clueless, not knowing what exactly should be done. Volunteering will help you a lot in that way - as you plan your day around things that would bring inner satisfaction, you will generally be more focused. This is a good habit that you can inculcate in your life in future. Employers are always keen to hire people whom they think are more focused.
Volunteering is one of the best options for career exploration.
In most cases, High School students are confused about what to pursue in future. Volunteering during course break with bring much more clarity to the thoughts as one gets to know about the area of interest. If you are an animal lover, then volunteering with animals might show you a path of what you can do in future - perhaps take up vet studies or something that would engage your time with animals. Volunteering is the best career exploration option, than to go for job hopping later in life!
Volunteering will help you to grow as a person.
Volunteering helps people to be happier in life, fostering the scope of self-containment. A research study revealed that volunteers have a 20% lower risk of death than people who don’t volunteer. You become more humble, compassionate and empathetic after a volunteering experience. You will learn to feel other people’s problems and rather than holding on to issues, you will try to seek solutions. Volunteering will not only give you a chance to serve those in need, but will also enable you to be a better person.
There are several organizations (like Peace Corps, Go Overseas, Volunteering Solutions etc.) providing a variety of volunteering opportunities in different parts of the world. You can do a thorough research on the internet before you decide which project you want to join and set sail abroad. Your volunteer trip would be a life changing experience for you, and you can totally count on my words!