The benefits of volunteering abroad

Lea Bou Malhab
Contributing Writer

As an average university student, you have probably volunteered one way or another. Whether it’s through completing your required community service hours back in high school or by attending some summer volunteering camp, you have donated your time or skills to benefit those around you. Why not step it up and try something new once this semester ends by volunteering abroad?
Various surveys have proved that the number of students that have volunteered abroad have significantly increased. Students have been choosing to spend parts of their summers or semester breaks helping various communities around the world for countless reasons. Even though the most popular destination for volunteers is Asia, volunteering organizations have projects in almost every part of the world. Volunteers could be part of humanitarian, international conservation, teaching, and many other types of projects.
Other than helping the community around you, volunteering may benefit you on a personal basis. Volunteering abroad helps you step out of your comfort zone by exposing you to very different cultures, languages, and traditions. It will help you challenge yourself in so many ways. After living around those in need throughout your volunteering experience, you would come back home feeling more appreciative than you could ever imagine.
The feeling of altruism that comes with volunteering is indescribable. Even in your home country, no matter how small the good deed you’ve done, you’ll always have that feeling of altruism. Now, imagine doing the same good deed oversees. In some foreign communities, if you just walk down the street, you would get countless smiles and greetings from so many local people. These local people are not just welcoming you into their community because you look like a foreigner to them, but they are thanking you. They know that you have put in so much time and effort just to help their community, which they appreciate. Through experience, I have realized that the feeling of altruism felt abroad through volunteering is just so much more genuine than that felt at home.
Not only will you contribute to social changes while volunteering, but you’ll also be able to discover a new country. Some volunteering organizations may offer you tours around the country throughout the program. You’ll learn more about the cultures, traditions, and cuisine of the country chosen.
Volunteers may learn the basics of a new language and may also actually strengthen their own. Some volunteering organizations may give you language lessons at the beginning of your stay. Also, you will have the opportunity to learn the foreign language by interacting with those around you, but this depends on the duration of your stay.

If you volunteer with an organization, you’ll most probably be put in groups along with other international students that also care in making a change. When the volunteering program is over, you would have made friends from around the world, and might have also learned a lot from them.
It’s safe to say that volunteering does not only help the community, but it also helps you in countless ways. Summer is on its way, why not plan to volunteer abroad! It’s much simpler than you think. Just contact an international organization, pick the desired country, and buy your ticket!

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