Travelling, what an amazing experience. Visit all the places in the World which you have always wanted to see in one big trip. Whether you go for a full blown gap year or just six months you will have the trip of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, and it really is unfortunate, not everyone is in a position to take a career break or can take a year out between College and University, or University and work. Luckily for the unfortunate majority there are now loads of adventure travel, work abroad and volunteer abroad trips which you can do for one to four weeks. This means that you can have several holidays over the next few years which would equate to the same as having been on one big gap year. Plus, you won’t have to lug a year’s worth of belongings around the World with you and you will be able to save up cash between trips so you can be a bit more extravagant than you may be able to be doing it all at once.
This summer you could jet off to Thailand, Cambodia, Costa Rica, South Africa and so many other amazing destinations and get involved in helping the local communities when you volunteer abroad. You can sign up to a one or two week volunteer programme and then add an extra few days or a week on the end to have a well-earned relax before heading back to work. What better way to find out about your holiday destination than to spend time getting to know and help the people who live there?
Volunteering abroad is such an emotionally rewarding and fulfilling experience that it is definitely worth sacrificing a week or two of ‘relaxation time’ for. You will most definitely get a much needed break from your everyday life and whilst you may have to do quite a lot more than eating, drinking and sleeping you will get a much longer term benefit than the aforementioned brief respite.
So, who will you help?
Once you have made the decision to volunteer abroad you need to consider; are you going to a particular place and then finding volunteer work or are you going to pick a volunteer programme and then see where you can do it? These factors will determine who in the World you are going to directly help. It can be pretty daunting if you don’t know where to start so here are some volunteer programmes you might like to consider.
Volunteer Work Abroad With Children
If you are good with children then there are loads of volunteer trips where you can directly improve the lives of underprivileged youngsters. This trip type is also available all over the World as unfortunately there are many troubled Countries with limited resources for child support and development. Would you prefer to teach in Thailand? Or do orphanage work in Cambodia? Or maybe you would like to be a community development volunteer in South Africa? If you know that you want to volunteer with children then then the next step is definitely to pick your destination and then work out the type of volunteer programme you can do in that destination.
Medical Volunteer Work
There is so much that we take for granted in the UK, such as clean running water, Council run doctors and the NHS which developing Countries simply do not have. Medical volunteer work can make a huge difference to communities who would otherwise have no medical guidance or equipment which is key for survival. Some of the medical volunteer work projects require a level of medical training but others are tailored for people who have not had any formal training but want to make a difference. These volunteer programmes tend to include some introductory training and will not expect any further skills than those taught. You could work in a South African hospital or a Malawian orphanage and quite literally save someone’s life.
Volunteer Building Projects
Whether your building experience comes from lego, home renovation or a building site you will be able to get involved in developing actual towns for people unable to do it for themselves. The projects range from house building which is available in Costa Rica and Guatemala to School and Community building renovation in places such as Thailand. Whether you build a family home or a community School I am sure you can see the value that one or two weeks of your time could add to a community.
Whoever or however you choose to help people this summer you are guaranteed to get some well-deserved self-satisfaction from it and if you choose to embark on a volunteering project abroad then you will also get a unique look into the lives of others and a wonderful holiday.
My names Joel and I've been traveling the globe for the past three years. I love to write about my experiences and enjoy sharing pictures, advice and travel tips from my world adventures.