When discussing and researching poverty and poverty-related issues in other countries, a common aid route that comes up is volunteering. Oftentimes, though, the notion of actually traveling to another country, working with the people and also living within a totally new culture can be a very intimidating adventure.
However, the benefits of volunteering outweighs the fear and intimidation associated with travelling and living in a new culture. Benefits vary from personal growth, to help with job searches and the creation of improvement in those countries. Here are just some of the benefits of volunteering in other countries.
1. Personal Growth and Diversity
With so many different cultures around the world, simple things such as hand gestures and other ways we communicate with each other can have a vastly different meaning in another part of the world.
Being thrust head-first into a brand new culture is an excellent way to learn first-hand about different cultures and the way they communicate. While there may be some trial and error involved, learning about and experiencing these differences can lead to better development for communication skills elsewhere.
2. Cultural Exchange
While volunteers will learn a lot about the culture they are staying at, the same can be said in reverse.
Depending on the program, people from the host country may be used to volunteers from other countries coming to live with them, but sometimes that volunteer may be the first one. In both situations, the volunteer brings new information about their own country, culture and life story.
Through volunteering in other countries, there’s a benefit of not only learning about another culture, but of also teaching about and sharing personal experiences.
3. Long-Lasting Relationships
One of the many elements mentioned when talking about volunteering is the connections and relationships made while living and working in another country. This benefit of volunteering is arguably one of the biggest highlights.
While the work being done abroad is very important and will lead to tangible results, there are also other elements of foreign volunteerism that can be just as important. For example, teaching English to a classroom full of children is incredible and important in academic and professional regards, but it’s really the connections made with those kids that will stick years later. Making meaningful connections will also help kids better remember and learn, as well.
4. Make a Difference
From building homes to teaching children, volunteering allows the individual to actually create a difference and leave a mark on this world for the better.
Volunteers are able to work side-by-side with people from another culture in order to create something to better their lives. Lending a hand in building homes for people who need them, helping educate children so the other teachers have more time and helping doctors with all of their patients are just a few of many ways volunteers can greatly aid another culture.
These are only some of the benefits of volunteering in other countries. While volunteering and moving to another country can be a scary and intimidating option, it’s a wonderful and unique experience that not only hones personal skills but applies them to people in need. The major benefits of volunteering in other countries is the experience’s ability to foster teamwork, create personal connections and inspire memorable moments.
– Marissa Wandzel