Posts Tagged abroad

Obstacles to volunteering abroad

Obstacles to volunteering abroad
Many people want to travel and volunteer abroad. It is their dream to go, see and experience the world. Most of the potential international volunteers don’t leave home because of the obstacles they see. As they start planning their dream vacation to volunteer abroad, or gap year, round the world trip backpack and intern abroad they are overwhelmed by the obstacles that they foresee. They look at their problems facing them and say “if only” or “I wish” this wasn’t there or if I had this or that. Due to the obstacles they face, many international volunteers stay grounded and don’t leave their homes. Obstacles and challenges are there in everything we do, to get over them we need to look hard at them and come up with solutions. Here are some of the obstacles that many people face and their solutions: Fear Fear of the unknown is what scares most of us from leaving home. This is true especially for first time international volunteers who don’t know what happens while they will be abroad. They are afraid of anything and everything that they can think of. There are many questions we could be having and many of them don’t have answers that keep us from volunteering overseas. Also to increase the level of fear, many government bodies advice international volunteers not to go to certain parts of the world due to terrorist activities. We encourage governments to warn their citizens and we should heed terror warnings. We should use this advice but not to cripple us not to travel. To tackle this problem is by doing what we are afraid of doing. Another solution is to get as much information about where and what you are afraid. With more knowledge you will be able to make a more informed decision. We should follow this saying on our lives “I will go where fear won’t let me.” Responsibility Many international volunteers have certain responsibilities. It could be that they are in school, college, university; at work; and have family responsibilities. Many international volunteers could be parents or soon to be parents. These responsibilities keep many of us from traveling abroad. To travel abroad we could come up with solutions that keep us from abandoning our responsibilities. For student international volunteers they could travel during their summer breaks, or before and after they join universities or colleges. For career international volunteers, they could take a career break to volunteer overseas or use their short vacation period. There are short stint volunteer programs which run from a week to a month. For parents or soon to be parents they can volunteer abroad if they take their kids with them. This will involve looking for programs whereby they can volunteer with their kids. They can also travel during the summer vacations in order to make sure their children don’t miss out on school. Money Many people assume volunteering abroad is an expensive endeavor and they avoid doing it. There are many ways to make your money work for you in order for you to volunteer overseas. There are many volunteer service organizations that are expensive while at the same time there are other organizations that are affordable. To reduce the cost of travelling, one could take advantage of flight deals by booking in advance or during off seasons. Travelling in group also reduces the price drastically. If you don’t have the money available for your volunteer abroad program, you can fund raise or look for sponsorship. While you are abroad you can live on a budget to take care of the money that you have. Bureaucracies There are countries where by you can’t get in to easily because of your nationality. For example an American citizen could face extra restrictions if they want to travel to Cuba and some Middle East countries. When you are in one country and you want to move on to the next one you may not be granted a visa to go to that country. To tackle this, apply for visas early in advance, to take care of problems that you could face. In some occasions ask for an invitation letter from the volunteer service organization that you are using to help with processing your visa. Another alternative is to travel to another country as opposed to your first choice country. All in all we should not look for excuses not to travel but solutions to our challenges. Happy Halloween every one.

Volunteering Abroad And Relationships

Volunteering Abroad And Relationships
Distance doesn’t matter if you really love the person, what matters most is your honesty and trust for that relationship to work out – Trish. The second international holiday celebrated after New Year is Valentines Day. History has it that Valentines Day came from St. Valentine a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome and he attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II who ruled during this time. He believed that marriage made the men weak. So he issued an edict forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers. Although it was forbidden, St. Valentine being a bishop, held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers and young men. This was in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited it leading to his execution. Before St. Valentine was executed he wrote a letter to a daughter of his jailer with whom he had a deep friendship. In his letter he signed: from your valentine. When a volunteer goes abroad for a while it means they will be cut off from their loved ones for a period of time putting a strain on their relationship. Or when they are abroad they could fall in love with one of the local people and after their work is done will have to leave. The volunteers will be forced into a long distant relationship. Here are a couple of tips to help your relationships survive when you are abroad:

Agree

The volunteer and their partner should sit down and talk about the upcoming adventure. They have a meeting and define their relationships. They should define if they just have fun, if they are serious and if they are ready to go to the next level to engagements or marriage. For those who are already engaged or married should discuss the effect of the long distance will have on their marriage. One of the strains of the relationships will be lack of intimacy, no hugging or kissing or physical contact. Being miles away from each other compounds the problems that they could be having while they are together. Also while they are away they should promise to remain faithful to each other during the duration of the volunteer abroad work.

Schedule communications

Due to technology the world has been made smaller and smaller. There are numerous ways to stay in touch with each other. The various ways of communications are through, calls, internet calls, text messages and the use of social media (facebook and twitter). These are great ways to communicate and they are also mostly inexpensive. In a relationship, quality and quantity communication is very important and it ought to be frequent. Written communication should be intimate and extensive to give the other partner a good picture of what the other is feeling. Although there could be nothing new to talk about just staying on the line while hearing the other person breathe does wonders. Due to the different time zones that the volunteers and partners are in they will have to schedule when to talk. They could talk once a day, three times a week or once a week, depending on the schedules.

Schedule visits

If the volunteer is planning to go abroad for a long period of time like six months to three years, then they will have to schedule to meet with their partners. Extended absence could lead to the death of the relationship. They could organize to see each other after every two or three months. Visiting each other shows that you still care. The volunteer and partner could both go to a mutually exclusive place and enjoy each others company. It is said real connections are made through touching, feeling and smelling and has strong ties to memory; it will be easier to keep the relationship going if they see each other at some point. When the couple is away from each they could still schedule to do some things together, for example even though they are separated by distance they could still watch movies together, and listen to the same songs

Avoid Negativity

The biggest killer of all relationships is the opinion of others. When the volunteers friends weigh in their opinions about the relationship they will often be negative. This negativity adds more strain in the relationship and the couple will lose faith that they can keep the long distant relationship. They could ask for advice from other people but be objective on taking the advice.

Volunteer Abroad Career benefits

Volunteer Abroad Career benefits

Many people view volunteering as a waste of time and money. Especially volunteering abroad since there are very few opportunities whereby you can volunteer abroad for free. When you choose to volunteer abroad, you will spend money because most volunteer service organizations charge from as little as $ 1100 to as much as $ 2500 or $ 4500 a month to volunteer. In such instances, instead of using your time to make money you will be spending money. Depending on how you spend your volunteer abroad time, it will not be wasting money. There are many career benefits to volunteering abroad and when done right the money can be seen as an investment. There are many people who stop school to take a gap year; a career break; take a year after high school; and others volunteer at the end of their career. To everyone who volunteers abroad and give out their time and money, they get more back in return as opposed to what they give.

They develop personally as individuals and they add on to their skills. The Career benefits of volunteering abroad include:

 

 

Personal development

 

When you volunteer abroad there are a host of things in which you learn. Even though your initial plan was for you to have fun there are a host of skills that you can learn while you are abroad. Whichever volunteer abroad work program you decide to do, you are bound to learn new things that will benefit you and your career. During and after your volunteer work abroad you will appreciate your culture, values and habits when you compare with the other cultures.  Apart from learning new skills, many people who come out of their volunteer abroad are more focused and are able to choose the appropriate career path. After the work you will know which path to follow in their lives and to a fulfilling career. During your work abroad, you will new people and expand your network. Your will increase your professional network giving you more opportunities when looking for work. Working with different organizations opens up new avenues where you can gain employment. After you finish your education, you don’t normally have professional work experience. When you volunteer you gain professional experience in that field and with the organization. Another benefit of volunteering abroad is exposure, you will learn how other people do things and new ways of solving problems, it will change the way you look at things.

 

 

College applications

 

Students who have attained the required GPA and the right SAT scores all want to go to the best colleges and universities. Many students apply to colleges especially Ivy League colleges to proceed with their higher learning. The Colleges and Universities are overwhelmed with applications and find it hard to choose which students to pick due to their limited facilities. As such many students look for giving themselves an edge over other applicants. Some do this by engaging in sports, joining causes and anything that can give them an advantage. The students who have volunteered abroad are better placed to be accepted as opposed to other applicants. This is because Colleges and Universities prefer students who have volunteered abroad because it show they are more mature and they have unique ways of solving problems. Also many higher learning institutions have volunteer abroad programs which they endorse to encourage their students to get a better world view. With their volunteer abroad programs they have study abroad programs in different parts of the world. In institutions like Brown, over a third of the junior class takes the opportunity to complete part of their education outside the United States.

 

 

Employment opportunities

 

Employees prefer to take up individuals who have a world view and world experience. Especially companies which have many offices around the world prefer people who have world wide experience. For examples multinational companies like oil companies who have offices all over the world would want to hire candidates who have been to different countries. They choose employees who have lived or worked abroad because it is easier for them to adjust to the new living conditions. When you volunteer abroad you learn to live with new people and adapt to their culture. As a volunteer, you learn how to solve problems by thinking out of the box, it broadens your world view and you get to learn a new language. People who have volunteered abroad have a generally increased tolerance towards others and a better understanding of global issues.  Being exposed to other cultures may not look like a transferable skill but employer value it because it shows you are used to work with all sorts of people. Employers look for candidates who communicate well with others; value of cross-cultural understanding and have an appreciation for different points of view.

 

 

Career break

 

When you take a career break from your work place and choose to volunteer abroad you become a more valued asset to your organization. When you come back after your volunteer work, you become more focused and more passionate about your work. During your volunteer work, you will have gained more skills and abilities for you to use in your work place. Any experience you get abroad make you perform better at work. In the case the company is having problems with money, taking unpaid time off can be an advantage. This way, the company can save money by not paying you in your vacation. This frees up money for the company to help it recover during the time you are away.  After your vacation you could go back and work for your company. This can be a win – win situation to you and your employer as when you come back you will be of more value to the company.