8 Great Reasons Why You Need to Volunteer Abroad

Are you desperate to see the world, experience new cultures and meet new people all while making a real difference? Well here’s the 8 reasons you’ve been waiting for to inspire you to book that volunteer abroad experience!

Leave having made change, not followers

Volunteering in kenya, community project

Volunteering is so much more than the pictures you get to show people back home, it’s about giving your hand to help those in desperate need and with that comes great self-fulfillment.

Seeing these children make small strides towards a better life is so rewarding. Most travelers you see on social media merely hop from one dreamy destination to the next, desperately trying to outdo everyone else’s travel experiences. Most hardly spend a day interacting with locals beyond the resorts and organized tours and their interactions with their natural environment usually reaches as far as a snorkeling trip. At best, all they leave behind them is a torrent of carefully crafted Instagram stories.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have exceptional travel experiences while volunteering, whether that be seeing sea turtles while teaching in Panama or tracking elusive leopards on night game drives while doing conservation volunteering in South Africa. But, when you volunteer abroad, you join a community of travelers who want to change the world for the better, leaving behind them more empowered communities and healthier environments. Irrespective of the amount of time you spend volunteering, you’ll quickly realize how much change you’re able to make, even in such a short time.

Give back

Despite the multitude of positive reasons to volunteer abroad, ultimately the main reason is to give back. It’s to help those who need it the most. Your biggest and sole reward is the realization that you’ve made a significant change in someone’s life. And if not significant then a positive change nevertheless. Having the option to volunteer abroad is in itself a privilege that not many people in the world have due to their circumstances, this highlights the importance of our volunteer programs which seek to make the world a better place for everyone and everything in it.

Be part of a long-term solution 

Volunteering isn’t just a one-off act of giving. In fact, if you’re working with a responsible volunteer agency you’ll be adding to the work of a bunch of pioneers who came before you and paving the way for growth, long after you left. Many people dedicate their entire life’s work to the projects you’ll take part in and your time and effort go a long way to helping experts in their fields to achieve the sustainable and impactful goals they’ve set out.

Network with like-minded people & make friends for life

german high school volunteer program - Volunteer abroad

Volunteering has no age, gender or race Giving our time to a cause is your way of saying thank you to the world.

After a long and worthwhile project, these volunteers are ready to enjoy a good party. When volunteering abroad, you get the chance to meet and network with like-minded people who face world problems head-on and in so doing become part of the solution.  You’ll be meeting people from all across the world who are keen to be change-makers and you’ll build a network of friends you can draw on for everything from a place to crash when visiting their hometown to career opportunities which could span the globe!

Boost your career

For anyone wanting to break out form their specialized felid of work, volunteering is a good opportunity to branch out and meet new people and develop new skills that industry requires. Even if you’re not looking for a career change, volunteering can still help you develop skills that will be a vital one in an office space. Things such as teamwork, problem-solving, project management and organization just to name a few.

Speaking of which, while this should not be the only incentive for you to volunteer abroad, prospective employers will definitely look at your application more favorably knowing that you decided to do something that was beneficial for others, rather than just for yourself.

Many millennials nowadays find themselves competing for one position with 50 other applicants, each with the same qualification. Having volunteering work on your resume helps you stand out, head and shoulders above the rest. Employers love to see a candidate who’s demonstrated the ability to work on a project bigger than themselves and demonstrate their characteristics as a team player while doing so. Not many people have these attributes in their CV, with volunteering you can stand out above the rest.                  

See exceptional and unusual places around the world

Sunset over the Luangwa River

Sunset over the Luangwa River, Zambia

One of the best things about volunteering abroad is the fact that you’re killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. You’re able to go to a destination you’ve always wanted to go to and most importantly, you’re able to do good as well. Many of the destinations one can volunteer in are some of the most unique and most-sought-after destinations amongst travel connoisseurs. Whether that’s the pristine sandy beaches of Zanzibar or the rumbling mists of Victoria Falls or the biodiverse archipelago of the Galapagos, they’re on every travel blogger’s bucket list. Through volunteering your time and mind to a worthy project abroad, you’ll not only be able to learn so much about people, the local environment and yourself, but you’ll be reaching destinations most can only dream of seeing first-hand.

Check out Marie’s story about volunteer teaching in Panama.

Gain a new perspective

Seeing the world through new eyes - Volunteer Abroad

There is no better feeling than seeing things from a different perspective.

As humans, it’s so easy for us to get comfortable and consumed by our own lives, surrounded by people who talk and think like us, basically living in a bubble. Volunteering abroad completely takes you out of your comfort zone and shows you a different side to life. It will make you question your views, challenge your ideologies and ultimately make you a better global citizen.

Learn career changing skills

Every volunteer project should see you walk away with a unique set of transferable skills. You have to go into every experience with a completely open mind, and you’ll be able to take something worthwhile away from it. These may be hard skills like teaching, conservation or research techniques, or they may be softer skills like people management, conflict resolution or navigating cross-cultural sensitivities. By engaging in every aspect of your chosen volunteer program, you’ll even surprise yourself with the new skills you pick up – skills which you can use to better sell yourself in an interview and hopefully improve the work environment you find yourself in.

Volunteer and travel 1

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” — Elizabeth Andrew

Defining your direction and purpose

Every volunteering experience is entirely unique and each person takes something totally different from it. When volunteering, you’ll often not only meet like-minded people, but you’ll also meet people who inspire and motivate you. You’ll be faced with new questions, the answers to which will define the choices you make in life. Your time volunteering abroad will add depth and meaning to your travel experiences and will undoubtedly leave you feeling more confident in your purpose and passionate about leaving the world a better place than when you entered it.

About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

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