Essential tips for volunteering abroad by yourself
Before the Trip Starts
Before your trip starts, even before you arrive at the airport, here are a few things to keep in mind so your volunteering trip is a bit easier.
Find the position that suits you the most
The most important thing when it comes to volunteering abroad is to find the position that is good for you. It’s certain that not every position fits every person out there. There are volunteer jobs that require you to be available around the clock and follow a very particular working schedule. There are also others that will give you more freedom and independence.
Look for a role that offers you an opportunity that covers a variety of fields so that you can have a full and meaningful experience. From archaeology to refugee relief, you are bound to find something that will spark your interest.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents
Depending on where you’re traveling, you may need different types of documents. A passport might not always be enough to cover your stay. In countries like Ghana or India and many others, you will most likely need to have a Visa to enter the country and justify your stay. The Visa can either be obtained either from your home country, electronically or upon arrival.
Along with that, it is important that you always keep these kinds of documents with you at all times. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you happen to lose your phone and need to speak to the local authority, you’ll need some kind of personal information to make the claim. In any case, it is good to always have your documents with you in a safe pocket on you.
Don’t forget about travel insurance
It’s important to be well prepared before you start your journey. This will not only make you feel more comfortable but it will also put your friends and family at ease. So make sure that you’re also fully insured before you get there.
Travel insurance will usually cover any medical fees in case something happens to you while you’re abroad. It isn’t too expensive and takes all of 10 minutes to do online. When looking for travel insurance, you want to make sure to find one that covers all you might need on your trip. You need to be sure that it covers the exact location you will be at and for the entire duration of your stay. Also, make sure to check that your insurance covers for a variety of activities or sports so you are covered on every occasion.
A good tip to also leave a copy of your travel insurance with a fellow volunteer or a family member back home, so that someone has your details too in case anything happens.
While you’re volunteering
Here are a few tips on what to keep in mind and take care of when you arrive at your destination.
Make sure you have a way to communicate with your family or friends
When you’re away from home, especially if you’re going away for a long period of time, your family will want to know that you are safe and sound.
Get you an international sim card that is compatible with your phone so you are able to call home or text with your family. International calls can be quite expensive, so make sure you stay within your budget.
Remember volunteering can also be temporary
Let’s say that you have been looking for translation volunteer opportunities for a while now and you finally found a great volunteering job as a translator in an incredible country.
If it is something that interests you, you’ve probably already looked becoming a translator and you might even have previous working experience in this area. Even then, it’s still not definite that you’ll be offered a permanent job after your project is over.
You might be doing a great job and you might actually have all the qualifications to be a translator. Sometimes charities and not-for-profit organisations just need volunteers and staff on a temporary basis so don’t take it to heart and think that you haven’t performed well enough.
Follow The Country’s Rules
Last but not least, this is more of a matter of safety as well as respect. There are plenty of places in the world where a woman does not hold the same place as a man and if you choose to volunteer in one of the countries that bare this mentality you need to abide by their rules.
In Muslim nations, for example, women may be required to cover themselves, or dress modestly. If that is the case for you, make sure that you are cautious of how you dress in public. Go for loose fitting clothes and talk to the rest of the rest of the volunteers or the people of the program so you dress appropriately. All in all, you might find this to be a more humbling experience for you.
Enjoy this once in a lifetime experience
Volunteering abroad is a unique experience that will play an important role in your life. It will increase your job opportunities and it will help you gain a newfound confidence in the field. But most importantly, it will offer you a chance to see the voluntary sector in a brand new light.
No matter where you decide to travel to, remember to have fun, stay safe and make this experience a memorable one! Make sure you check out what volunteer opportunities are available now on CharityJob.
If you need translation services for your volunteering endeavors, check out The Word Point.
Have you volunteered abroad recently? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!
Margaret Reid is a self-driven specialist who is currently working in the company The Word Point and trying to improve herself in the blogging career. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it’s always important to broaden horizons. That`s why Margaret develops and improves her skills throughout the writing process to help and inspire people.
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