Volunteering is a highly beneficial activity – even though you don’t get paid for what you do, you end up having so much more than you had before, including experience, new friends, wider perspectives and insights into your own strengths and weaknesses. There are many reasons why you should volunteer.
So, if you want to travel to volunteer in other countries to make a change in the world, first you need to know which volunteering destinations are your best chance to make that difference.
This country is a paradise for beach lovers, filled with elephants, bustling streets of Bangkok, breathtaking nature. There are more than 15 volunteering programs available in Thailand, through which you can volunteer as an intern at a medical project, teach Buddhist monks, or help the elephants in villages. All of the projects are available in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Surin. You can stay in Thailand for a minimum of 1 week to up to 6 months, depending on how long you are ready to stay. The accommodation includes the volunteer house, as well as a local homestay, with Wi-Fi and other basic amenities. When you’re free, you will be able to visit beautiful beachside destinations, such as Phi Phi islands, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao.
Another perfect island getaway is Bali, namely Ubud and Lovina. Ubud is the cultural center of Bali, where you can choose between volunteering in a kindergarten, teaching at a school, deal with turtle conservation and environmental education or with renovation and healthcare education. Alternatively, you can volunteer in the coastal town of Lovina, where you can give a hand in school and community renovation, as well in teaching and in kindergarten.
In your free time, you can enjoy snorkeling and diving, go on wonderful trekking or cycling tours, or explore amazing historical and religious temples and locating lovely waterfalls.
3. The Norwegian Arctic
This isn’t a typical, tourist trip where you get to see the wales. Through volunteering in the Norwegian Arctic, you can see male sperm whales very close to the surface and use special equipment to listen to killer whales and humpback whales communicate. That’s an incredible experience. Your job is to record the data and, when you get back to the mainland, you will learn how to interpret whale sounds for research. You will be located within the deep fjords of Norway, close to glacial lakes. If you volunteer during June and July, you will experience the never-setting sun. It’s also possible to volunteer in August and November.
Another wonderful opportunity to volunteer overseas is to try Peru, where you can join various teaching and disabled care projects, as well as kindergarten programs. There are also projects available to dental and medical students, where they could help others and learn something first-hand. Many projects in Peru are available in Cusco, a lovely city that made it on the UNESCO World Heritage City list. Projects in Peru are available throughout the whole year, where the minimum stay is one week and the maximum is 6 months. Volunteers have to be at least 17 years old, while those who want to enroll in a dental/medical course have to be at least 18.
The local host families provide accommodation for the volunteers, which is a great opportunity for you to immerse yourself into the local culture, traditions, and customs, and maybe even to learn a new language. Some households have Wi-Fi and cable TV, but it’s not the rule for all of them.
5. South Africa
Volunteering in South Africa will allow you to explore Cape Town and Table View and learn so much about the culture of this wonderful country. There are many ways to volunteer, especially in South Africa.
If you’re located in Cape Town, you will choose between teaching, computer training, childcare or sports development. In case you’re located in Table View, besides the above volunteering opportunities, you will also be able to join a volunteering project that keeps students active during the holidays.
In your free time, you could go on a safari, check out the Garden Route or simply explore the area.
6. Costa Rica
San Jose, Manuel Antonio, and other towns are among those where volunteering in Costa Rica is possible. Besides teaching English in public schools, providing healthcare in hospitals and clinics, working with children at daycares, you can also join turtle or eco-agricultural conservation.
When you get your free time on weekends, you can explore San Jose and other lovely parts of the country, which include thick rainforests, magnificent volcanoes, and breathtaking beaches.
All in all
Volunteering in a foreign country puts you into a different perspective; you get to know a completely different culture and realize what challenges other people are facing. It’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss; you just have to know all of your options and make the decision that will fulfill you most.