How Volunteering Abroad Could Help With Starting a Career

Volunteering abroad
Finding a job out of college can be a real struggle, especially since so many good jobs require previous work experience. How can you build up an impressive portfolio that attracts the attention of prospective employees? Consider work exchange programs or volunteer jobs abroad. In most cases, when you work overseas, no experience is necessary. Whether you are in your gap year or are seeking summer jobs abroad in 2017, you are certain to find volunteer work that fits your particular time frame.

Real-World Work Experience

Volunteering overseas is more than just helping Africans dig ditches or singing Kumbaya around a campfire with Australians. Just because volunteers do not receive a paycheck, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be engaging in meaningful, professional work. There are countless projects in countries on every continent that involve teaching, computer science, healthcare, agriculture, community development, NGO support, and many others. Spending weeks or even months doing challenging work that has real-life implications is both satisfying and enhances your qualifications greatly as you consider your career aspirations. As a volunteer, you might be expected to juggle several responsibilities at once. The ability to multitask and complete various projects at once is a skill that is required in most fields of work, so there is no better way to test your ability to achieve this than by volunteering abroad. Best of all, if your academic studies focus on one field but you want to try your hand at something that polishes your skills in a different field of work, volunteer abroad programs could be the perfect answer for you.

Demonstrates Flexibility and Builds Character

Volunteering abroad is not easy, and this is not just due to the challenges of the job itself. When we are young, we are accustomed to growing up in a relatively predictable environment surrounded by our friends and family. But when you’re thousands of miles away from home, you can find yourself confronted with many problems. Issues such as harsh and unfamiliar climates, cultural misunderstandings, witnessing a lack of accountability, and homesickness can create a great deal of confusion and frustration. But on the other hand, they also present opportunities for the volunteer to learn how to just go with the flow and develop as a person. As you interact with the locals you will encounter different points-of-view which in turn could change the way you look at things. Finally, you learn to cope with the distractions, find diplomatic ways to solve cultural misunderstandings, reach a comfort level within your new surroundings, and ultimately come home with a skill set that will impress employers.

Hones Foreign Language Abilities

If you are studying Spanish, what better way to immerse yourself in the language than by volunteering in a village in South America? It presents an opportunity to speed up the process of language fluency in ways that might not be possible in a classroom setting. There are a lot of material which can ba helpful for such activities can be provided by Eduzaurus. Or if you are truly up for an adventure, choose a place where the language of the locals is completely unfamiliar to you. For a lot of young people, volunteering overseas is their first experience with communicating with people who do not know English. It forces the volunteer to find creative ways to express themselves such as through hand gestures. It also serves as a lesson in psychology as it becomes important to read the body language and facial expressions of the people you encounter. These abilities are not reserved for volunteering abroad. When it comes to a successful career in business, H&R, or a vast array of other fields, understanding body language and facial expressions can be beneficial when it comes to negotiating deals or hiring new employees.

Develops Leadership Skills

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When volunteering overseas, there is no guarantee that you will receive much guidance. In some cases you might be given a general idea about what to do, but must use your own intuition and creativity to make your experience successful. Taking the initiative means creating a plan, providing direction to others, and managing your time well. If your plan is to teach English, be aware that a lot of the locals will assume that you are an authority on the subject because English is your native language, even if you have never taught a day in your life. Likewise, some cultures will view your Western education as a sign of competence and you will be expected to act accordingly despite your youth and inexperience. But fear not! There is no better time to unleash the leader that dwells within. In the long run, all of these skills will pay off big time when an interviewer asks you to describe your leadership abilities.

The key to a successful career starts with making the right choices. Many agencies offer volunteer abroad programs that can help you land the job of your dreams. They vary in terms of cost, location and duration, so if you look them over you are bound to find a program that best suits your needs.