Tips for an Awesome Overseas Volunteer Experience

Doing humanitarian work on your next scheduled travel can be an amazing adventure. The outcome of your trip depends on several factors, such as your destination, the type of project you’ll be involved in, and the organisation you choose to work with. But essentially, no matter which corner of the globe you’ll be headed to, having an awesome international volunteer experience depends largely on your outlook.

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Use these tips to get the best out of your adventure abroad.

1. Be as well-informed and independent as possible

It pays to be attentive and thorough when getting details and instructions regarding your assignment overseas. Even if there will be project coordinators to work with you, there will be times when you have to travel or do a task on your own. Plus, one goal in volunteering abroad is to practice being a more adventurous and independent traveller, isn’t it?

If you don’t want to end up lost on the other side of the island on your first volunteer Fiji program assignment, be attentive and ask questions when needed when you’re given directions. It also helps to know survival phrases in the local tongue (more of this in a later tip).

2. Immerse yourself and be proactive in your volunteer experience

Remember that you are there to help and not be an additional person who needs assistance. Be proactive, share your ideas and suggestions, and speak out if you have problems or concerns. Do your best to contribute as much as you can. Click here Involvement Volunteers International

By being a proactive international volunteer, you can hone your leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as learn more strategies for working as a team and developing a community.

3. Learn the language or dialect

Not only will this help you survive, it will also allow you to connect better with the locals. Saying “Bula” (which means “hello” in Fijian) is enough to make islanders smile and warm up to you. Gaining the trust of the community will be something you want to earn as this can open doors for more opportunities. It can be easier to teach them and at the same time learn from them.

4. Don’t be afraid to try something new

Even if you are more experienced in volunteer orphanage work, don’t hesitate to participate when the community needs more people to help with the local farming programs. Isn’t it that the point of travelling is to experience something new? Embrace this outlook no matter what type of trip you’re on and your adventures will surely be more awesome.

5. Make an effort to get to know the people around you

Another great thing about being an international volunteer is you get to meet people from all walks of life. You get to build lasting friendships and meaningful relationships. Get to know the members of the community you are assigned to, the students in your class, and the project coordinators and staff you are working with.

Also, talk to the locals, even those who aren’t part of the program. Get to know more about their culture, way of life, and struggles. This can open up your eyes more to the impact your volunteer work has on the people and the locality.

6. Schedule your time well

You could become so absorbed in doing as much work as you can that you forget to give yourself some TLC and R&R. It’s wonderful that you like playing with the village kids after your classes, but remember to have enough time to rest too.

Of course, schedule days when you will do some sightseeing and other tourist-related stuff. No volunteer trip overseas will be complete without seeing the sights, after all.

7. Experience the place and culture like a local

You can go to the famous landmarks and touristy spots mentioned in guidebooks if you really want to. But don’t limit yourself to those places. Ask tips from the locals about hidden gems in the locality or for cheaper alternatives to getting to your destination. A true traveller does aim to go off the beaten track, right?

As a final tip, one important step to having an amazing experience is making sure you choose the best volunteer abroad programs for your personal and travel goals. Begin your awesome adventure by finding your ideal volunteer travel experience at