Charities and community led projects overseas have seen a growing amount of business via volunteers who include the experience as part of their international travel. Many projects couldn’t continue without the support and hard work put in by volunteers.
Volunteer work abroad has always been popular with young people. As the gap year phenomenon has increased, more and more youngsters defer going to further education by a year or two and are looking for something to fill this time. But it’s not just them. As we all live longer and face more career changes, there’s an increased desire to try something new. For the fifty year old woman whose children have flown the nest to the 60 year old man who is retiring but still as fit as a fiddle, volunteering abroad offers a great opportunity to see the world and do something new.
One reason we have seen such an increase in volunteer work is because of extended periods of travel. Anyone going abroad for more than a few months may feel that it’s important to do something rewarding during this time. Volunteering offers the chance to undertake some hard work that helps others less fortunate whilst discovering new places at the same time. It’s also due to an increased awareness of responsible travel. When enjoying another country it’s important to give them something back when you can. A spot of volunteering during an extended period of travel gives a trip a sense of purpose. Volunteering abroad often creates lifelong memories, friendships and great stories to tell.
Internet & Awareness
Thanks to the internet there is an increased awareness of the plights of others. Due to social media, instant news and global information, we have access to more information than ever before. This has opened the eyes of many people and encouraged them to go abroad and help others.
The other way the internet has increased the popularity of volunteer work is that the vast range of projects and travel options can be more easily researched and compared. Booking a volunteer trip can be done online and therefore easily integrated into a longer travelling experience.
Skills & Experience
Some young people see volunteering as a good way to gain extra skills and this is certainly one reason why there is such growing business in volunteering. It’s not always easy to gain the experience and skills needed to sell oneself in the jobs market, so volunteering can offer a clever way to gain this. Prospective employers are often impressed when they see volunteer work on a CV as it demonstrates passion, selflessness and an ability to work hard.
Over the next few years we will probably see even more business in the volunteering sector especially in projects abroad. Volunteer work will increase as people look for more fulfilling ways to spend their holidays or fill breaks during a career change. As young people wish to build up their skill set and gain a richer life experience, volunteering projects will continue to benefit from their natural curiosity and energy.