Having volunteered abroad twice, once with Operation Wallacea in Mexico, and once with East African Playgrounds in Uganda, I can definitely say that it has taught me many skills and provided some incredible memories. Based on my experience and conversations I've had with others, here are some reason why volunteering abroad is so good!
Boost Your CV
I've come to the end of my time at university and am now looking desperately for a company to hire me as graduation day looms ever closer. Whilst applying to a whole range of jobs, I've really found it a lot easier to show examples of working in teams, enthusiasm, and working in different environments and cultures because of my experiences volunteering abroad. It shows a level of determination to raise money if it is charity based, or even in the day to day working in tough conditions, as well as confidence that puts you at the top of the pile of CVs.
Both in Mexico and Uganda, I met people that completely shifted my view on life and continue to inspire me today, with their passion for their field and their energy to make a difference in this world. Not only that, but I've made friends and created relationships that can only be borne out of sharing the same tent for weeks on end after long days of work. In fact, this summer I'm going travelling with a good friend I became closer with whilst volunteering with East African Playgrounds. If you are looking for like-minded people who also love travel, volunteering abroad is the best place to meet them.
See Somewhere Unique
If it wasn't for seizing the opportunity to volunteer abroad, I would have never gone to a private cenote, washed in a lake under the shadow of a volcano, or found the secret alternative to touristy Tulum. By volunteering abroad you're often shown parts of countries that tourists never get to see – the true hidden treasures that not only make your Instagram feed look like the diary of a lost adventurer but create a thrill you'll never forget.
Once in a Lifetime
Speaking of thrills, my experiences have given me memories of a lifetime that I know I am lucky to have. Not many people can say they've seen a turtle lay eggs half a meter away from them, or felt the earth move as a silverback mountain gorilla walks by. I wish I could go back and do it all again. However, what volunteering abroad can give you that studying abroad or travelling can't is the sense of fulfillment and gratification of completing your project. Knowing the hard work you've put into a volunteer programme and seeing the effect it has on the local community and environment has an unrivaled sense of reward.