Have you ever undertaken an expedition that never turned out as anticipated? Many students willing to take part in overseas volunteer work are justified to worry about whether or not the experience will offer the expected excitement and satisfaction in the end. But prior to getting on that plane to volunteer in Vietnam or Africa, ask the following questions to avoid any future disappointment:
What is the Right Agency to Volunteer With?
You could go directly to a local NGO or approach a third-party organisation that has partners in the country you wish to travel to. Finding a third-party agency may be easier because it may exist somewhere near you or online, as opposed to an NGO that does not engage overseas volunteers directly. However, find out what relationships the third-party agency may have with the local NGOs that you hope to work with once you set foot on the foreign country.
Carry out a background check on the organisation and write them as many emails as necessary until you establish the facts to the case. Does the organization seem to know what exactly their overseas partners are doing on the ground, and for how long have they been liaising with each other regarding charitable work?
How Much Time do I Have?
If you only have two free weeks, you may not have enough time to leave an impact on an overseas community. But if you’re to be a volunteer Vietnam charity programs can utilize, you need way more than just two weeks to spare. Most experts agree that the longer a volunteer stays within a community without being rotated, the bigger the impact they can have on the community. However, shorter-term volunteer work is also viable for certain types of activities, such as emergency disaster relief.
Am I the Right Person for the Work?
Developing countries may not have enough teachers, but that does not mean that anyone from overseas can fill that gap. So, accept a teaching job only if you’re good at and qualified for it. Just make sure your skill set matches the sort of placement you’re offered. That’s the only way you can contribute positively to any sort of volunteer work abroad.
Is this Particular Program Really Beneficial to the Local Community?
You want to help economically, socially, and even politically disadvantaged members of a third-world community. So ensure that the volunteer program you’re joining has an elaborate mechanism to accomplish its goals within the target community. Some volunteers travel abroad only to spend most of their time as tourists for lack of a clear project execution strategy.
What’s the Long-Term Plan for the Local People?
Vietnam travel may offer a chance for you to help vulnerable communities for months or a couple of years, but what next when you leave? Where do you fit in the project’s long-term plan, and will you be able to follow up on what’s going on there long after you’ve left. You’ll be delighted to know that you took part in volunteer work that continues to transform the lives of needy people even when you’re no longer available to contribute.
Being a volunteer is not an easy job. When you enroll in gap year programs abroad, you will be venturing into a foreign country, away from your family and where you don’t speak their language. Therefore, it is important to take note of a few travel hacks that you can use to ease up the transition and make the best out of your volunteer experience.
It is difficult to pack items when you leave as a volunteer because of the difference in culture and climate. It is therefore important to research the current climate and weather conditions in your intended destination prior to leaving. Therefore, you will be able to pack the right clothing items fit for the climate. Whether you are going to live somewhere near a tropical rainforest or where the sun is beating down on you for several hours a day, the right clothing can make your life a little easier. For example, if you are going to volunteer in Philippines, the country has a tropical weather so expect to wear something light and fresh to cope with the heat.
It is also important to write down a list of the essential items you need. Pack only what you need. Also, do not bring something that you cannot afford to lose, especially something of value.
Study the Language
When you embark on Philippines travel for a volunteer program, there is no need to study the Filipino language so you can speak it fluently. It is enough that you are able to learn how to say the basic or common phrases in the local dialect. Some volunteer programs can provide you with a language study course to help you learn these basic phrases and make communicating with locals easier. Check Involvement Volunteers International for more details.
Do Your Homework
Based on the destination and the type of volunteer work you’ll be doing, it is important to do your own research. Your goal is to obtain information related to the work that you are going to do. What type of work has been done on the destination before? How much work needs to be done still?
Do not rely solely on the volunteer organization to provide you with the information you want to know. Keep in mind – they have a lot of coordination to do (depending on the size of the project and the number of volunteers). Therefore, their hands are full already. If you want to maximize your efforts with gap year programs abroad, or with projects dedicated to volunteer Philippines efforts, then you must take a proactive step.
The volunteer organization might provide transportation services for volunteers in the area. However, it is also important to study the transportation system in the Philippines, or where you intend to volunteer in. This will make it easier for you to go from one point to another, in case you are lost or you need to explore more areas that need your services or help. Do not allow yourself to be confined by the projects organized for your gap year programs abroad.