Be like Charlie–fill your free time and resume by volunteering with children!

Meet Charlie. Charlie is a college student, just like you. He grew up in an average, middle class home in the Midwest. He’s had his share of hurdles, but on the whole, life has been good to Charlie. And lucky Charlie gets to study his favorite subject, history, so he can be a teacher.

Well, now, halfway through his second year of school, Charlie realizes it’s probably a good idea to build up his resume—the job market is pretty tough. But how can he do that? Internships can be hard to come by, especially for underclassmen, and he really wants work that will simultaneously make him an appealing candidate, let him build some relevant skills, and allow him to have fun.

Charlie’s roommate’s girlfriend, Emma, gives him the answer he’s been looking for.

“Volunteer abroad, with kids or something” she says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

“Brilliant,” he says. He’s never thought to volunteer abroad, but it sounds like fun. So Charlie starts researching what it means to volunteer abroad with children, and he finds that there are innumerable possibilities out there. Of course, if Charlie goes abroad, he gets to travel, if he wants, to a country he’s never been to before. Most experiences are in developing countries, which is great for Charlie because it means a chance to put his open-mindedness to the test and really learn about what life is like for people less fortunate than himself. It also means living in conditions perhaps a little less luxurious than he’s used to—a good way to test his limits and really give him some good, solid perspective on just how much he’s got to be thankful for.

But choosing to volunteer abroad with kids is a good fit for Charlie for other reasons, too. Charlie loves kids, but he doesn’t have many in his life right now. Most volunteer abroad programs involve after school programs, daycares, or orphanages. In his research, Charlie discovers that many want their volunteers to help teach English—Charlie can do that! And being abroad is a fantastic opportunity to work on his own foreign language skills, and Charlie has been struggling for fluency in Spanish, as being bilingual will greatly increase his potential job opportunities.

A volunteer abroad opportunity is also good for Charlie because he knows he has so much to contribute to wherever he ends up volunteering. Knowing he’s doing something good for someone (and not just any someone, but little someones who are less fortunate than him and really need good role models in their lives), Charlie will feel good about what he’s doing. He will wake up every day excited and happy to be where he is. He will get to see how his hard work is positively affecting the children he’s helping. Really, that’s enough motivation for Charlie in and of itself.

There are some considerations that give Charlie pause. He needs to go somewhere safe. He also needs proper vaccines and visas and a program he fits well with. Some programs cost money, as they have to pay their full time staff and for facilities and supplies. But all of these are details Charlie can work out with the help of some research, his academic advisors, the program he chooses, and, of course, his roommate’s girlfriend Emma, who has done this already. Charlie has found the perfect opportunity, and he’s excited to go have an awesome, life-changing experience.

Why not be like Charlie? Don’t wait. Volunteer abroad with children and work with kids who really need your help and guidance. You’ll change your life and theirs.

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