Volunteering in the dictionary is defined as the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and service.
To some this may seem as work or hard labor and many people tend to avoid volunteering. There are many benefits to volunteering or giving your time to others.
Whether you are going to volunteer in your neighborhood, local volunteer centre, school or work place it is usually a fulfilling process. It’s known to be fun and engaging. Rather than talking about the benefits of volunteering locally I will focus on volunteering abroad. There are many good organizations found on the internet that offer great volunteer services.
If you decide to leave home and go abroad here are some of the benefits you get volunteering abroad:
Volunteering abroad adds to your résumé and to differentiate you from the rest. It shows your character, interests and motivation. Your hands-on experience in the fields of health, social services, or education is invaluable, and you can leverage your volunteer abroad experience as a stepping stone to international development work. But there are countless additional ways to apply this experience to your professional development, such as communicating with people from different cultures, teambuilding, adapting to dynamic environments, critical thinking, and more.
After arrival in the host country, the volunteers are immersed immediately in to the culture from the first day. In the case where the volunteer stays with a family in a home stay, they get firsthand experience of the culture. In that they will live, and eat like the local people. In some occasions they may be asked to participate in some activities like weddings. There are many tribes and each one has a unique culture and unique traditions. In the home stay you will learn about the culture of the home. If you are living in a group home with other volunteers or in a hostel you will still get to experience the culture. You will experience it when you are working together with the locals. You will be able to feel their work ethic and standards
Make a difference
There is a social effect felt on the lives of the volunteers as well as the people they are serving. The fulfillment of helping others is twice as felt rather than helping out people around you. Most of the people the volunteers help are in desperate situations .The lives of the people you touch are forever changed. There are people who are in dire need of help and are grateful to anyone who try to help. As the volunteer you will help people who are in the local communities. Their gratitude will overwhelm you.
Through the stay in the host country, the volunteer will get to know people from the host family to the people who they will work with in the programs. Other volunteers will be working there with you in the host country. You will able to form lifelong friendships with the other volunteers, the host family and the ones who you are working within the programs. You will be able to increase your social skills and the number of friends you have.
Travelling and fun
After the rigors of volunteering you are given the chance to visit the attractive sites. Also during the weekends we can organize safaris and tours to for the full country and cultural experience. For example the Masai Mara game reserve is home to the biggest animal spectacle on earth, the annual wildebeest migration. There will also be other volunteers where you will be able to mix with them and have fun with them. This is an opportunity to meet other people, to learn other cultures and also to have fun after a hard day’s work.
Written and contributed by Zablon Mukuba