Why volunteer abroad?

by Lindsay Allen /
Lindsay Allen's picture
Aug 18, 2008 / 2 comments

The number of volunteers going abroad to do short-term volunteer projects is on the rise. Here at World Endeavors, we have seen more and more volunteers donating their time and energy at orphanages, wildlife rehabilitation centers, women's shelters, and schools all over the world. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and have different reasons for wanting to go abroad. So, why should you volunteer abroad?


Volunteering abroad on a culturally immersive program can be an intense, challenging, rewarding, and very personal experience. There are probably as many reasons to volunteer abroad as there are volunteers who go abroad, but there are certain motivations that are common to many volunteers.


The first is the desire to make a contribution. Many people are drawn to volunteering abroad out of a desire to share their time and skills with those less fortunate than them. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds have something to share, from spending time playing with a child, to helping teach English in a classroom, to planting trees to help stop erosion and protect farmland.


Others see volunteering abroad as a way to learn about a new culture and have a more meaningful experience than the average tourist. Volunteers looking for this kind of experience should seek out organizations that place them in homestays and assign them to volunteer projects that are locally run and operated. Living and working with members of the host community can give volunteers insights into the local culture that elude most tourists and backpackers.


Volunteer abroad in Tanzania

Another, often unexpected, benefit of volunteering abroad is that it can open you up to new possibilities in your own life. Megan, a World Endeavors volunteer on a street children assistance project in Guayaquil, Ecuador, noted, “I had originally planned to pursue a master’s degree in archaeology; however, my six weeks in Ecuador have prompted me to consider a career in the fields of human rights and/or environmental policy.”

Volunteering abroad benefits everyone involved: the community abroad, the volunteer’s home community, and the volunteer him or herself. So, why not volunteer abroad?

Read more about volunteering abroad with World Endeavors at: http://www.worldendeavors.com/Volunteer.html.


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