International volunteering is being touted as the fastest growing employee engagement trend of the last few years. At the same time large numbers of individual volunteers are discovering the benefits of engaging with international projects through the growing travel sector of voluntourism. As a result there have never been more opportunities to find an international volunteer program that will match your motivations and interests – visit www.projects-abroad.ca for one organisation offering projects in 26 counties across the globe in a wide variety of fields.
Here are 5 reasons to join those who have already used volunteering to make a difference to communities across the globe, and who have also taken home for themselves the knowledge and experience they gained.
The international assignment is an established route for hungry prospective business leaders to make a name for themselves. The growing importance of developing markets means that there are many professionals clamouring for overseas experience. Increasingly companies are offering opportunities to achieve both of these objectives through international corporate volunteering programs in Africa and Asia. The company gains knowledge and experience of emerging markets, employees develop skillsets such as team-building and the projects help to develop skills in the communities that the company will be working with.
For many volunteers the ability to help those in the greatest need can be a guiding reason for choosing to volunteer. Others may have travelled in a country and feel a strong affinity with its culture and people which they wish to further. Whatever your reason for wanting to help, there is a lot you can offer. You may have a computer, language, business, leadership or organizational skills that are crucial for the operation of voluntary organizations overseas. Or you may just have the time and passion to help make a real change.
3. Itchy feet
Volunteering abroad is a great way to travel cheaply and deeply. You get to see parts of the world hidden from the tourist trail, to truly experience other cultures and to live with welcoming host families. The growing trend of voluntourism is testament to the fact that combining itchy feet with helping hands is a winning combination.
4. Scoring points
International volunteering can help your application to colleges and universities. It gives your application that something different to stand out from the crowds and it helps to present a mature, rounded and dynamic character. Especially if you are trying to get your leadership degree. The combination of self-reliance, altruism and international experience is a winning formula for many successful applicants especially if the volunteering experience is gained in a field that is relevant to the academic program applied for.
5. Gaining work experience and skills
In the competitive job market of today gaining a post in the industry of your choice can present many challenges. Employers look for experience and evidence of your stated motivations to work in this field but it can be difficult to gain these. The same is true for those who are looking to change functions or industries. Volunteering is not only a way for you to test the waters it is also a great way to develop evidence of skills and commitment to a professional course. There are international voluntary placements for teaching, healthcare, journalism, sports, community development, conservation, childcare, animal care, human rights and many other areas. Alongside new skills you can exhibit worldliness, maturity, self-reliance, risk-taking and compassion to those prospective employers back home.