Every year, people of all backgrounds and areas of expertise volunteer their time to aid people in need around the world. Whether you are a student, family, or a professional looking for a unique volunteer experience, you may have some basic questions before committing to a volunteer abroad program.
- Can I really take that much time off from work or school?
- How much will it cost? Is there a way to get financing?
- What if I don’t speak the language? Can I still volunteer?
- I don’t have an advanced education. Can I still be a helpful volunteer?
All of these questions are common and important when considering a participating in such programs. These are especially important questions when you are a student who is seeking a degree or an individual with limited time off from work. Your commitments at home are important. Many people who want to volunteer must find a way to work with their responsibilities and schedule. For prospective volunteers that cannot commit to a longer duration position, flexible summer volunteer abroad opportunities may be exactly what you are looking for.
Summer is a particularly good time of year, especially for students, to travel to another country. We all know summer is a time for rest, vacation, and self-rehabilitation from work and school. Why not escape from daily life and do some meaningful travel overseas? Summer volunteer abroad can provide participants with all of the things they are looking for in an all-in-one experience. Going overseas to help people in remote areas is a great way to clear your mind, take the stress off, and experience a whole new culture while doing meaningful work to improve a community.
While summer volunteer abroad opportunities vary by program, there are many programs that provide short-term commitments. Volunteers can participate for as long as 3 months to as little as 1 week. So, whether you are a student or only have a week off from your busy career, there are hundreds of different options you can choose from to meet your schedule and requirements.
Because of the flexibility, summer is a popular option for students who seek to travel overseas but cannot take a whole semester off. As students get closer to graduation, it often becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate graduation requirements and financial aid especially when you try to squeeze in a semester abroad. A great alternative is volunteering in the summer which offers the same cultural experience without all of the extra hassle and meetings with advisors.
Since volunteers can choose how long they want to participate in a volunteer program, the cost varies greatly depending on the length of participation and country. Some of the most affordable programs will be in countries without oversea flights since travel costs are most often a large portion of the expense. But no matter what the cost is, keep in mind that volunteers may be eligible for private scholarships and donations, educational grants, and some may even get funding through employers who offer a fund matching program.
So, you have determined that you can take the time to participate in a summer volunteer abroad program and you can get funding, but what role can you play? Where can you fit in without knowing the language? Volunteers come from all backgrounds and each one of them is a great asset to any project. Some volunteers are students who are fluent in Spanish and others are healthcare specialists who have no foreign language skills. Regardless of your background and prior experience, there is a volunteer opportunity for you and we, at Link To Diversity, can help you find one!