Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes – an hour, a day, a week. But have you ever considered going big? What about two weeks to a month? What about in another country? With so much need in our world today, there are opportunities to lend a helping hand everywhere you turn.
Global Volunteer Network is an example of an organization that connects eager volunteers with meaningful trips for varying lengths of time in 19 different countries. Over the past 14 years, they have facilitated over 93 projects and made trips possible for almost 20,000 volunteers. And, as Global Volunteer Network puts it, “International volunteering provides a more reciprocal form of travel, in which both volunteers and host communities are able to benefit from the experience.” The experience you have could be as impactful to yourself as it is to those you help. The organization cites other reasons to volunteer internationally as an opportunity to build your resume, a chance to experience a new culture, and to meet like-minded people.
If you are passionate about one focus area, then consider devoting your extended time to that cause. For example, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) links organic farmers with volunteers to help sow and grow crops. Volunteers work for 4-6 hours a day assisting the host farmers in exchange for food and housing. The time you stay is up to you and your host – stays last anywhere from a few days to six months. And with farmers in over 70 countries, the possibilities of places to see and people to assist are endless.
Or maybe you are passionate about seeing women’s rights continue to grow in less developed countries. With Go Overseas, the opportunities to help women and girls all around the world are just a few clicks away, and the site provides insights from those who have taken the various trips so you can decide which one is right for you. When the process is so easy, it is hard to think of a reason why you should not volunteer abroad.
I always say making a small difference is better than making no difference at all, but this week, I am challenging you to consider going bigger than you have ever considered volunteering before. With big commitment comes big reward, and I look forward to seeing the ripples of difference you makes across our globe.
Have you ever volunteering for an extended time abroad? Share your experience below!