Posts Tagged abroad

Volunteering abroad: fitness first

Volunteering abroad: fitness first

A major concern for many volunteers abroad is that they may fail to keep fit while they are in a foreign country; a lot of concerns come into focus in a different environment, top of the list being climate change. Once a person is used to exercising and keeping fit in a new climate, it takes a while for a person to get acclimatized in a new place that has different weather patterns that they have gotten used to. With regard to the climate change, your best weapon is timing, coupled with starting your exercise routine in small/ shorter bits, this means if you come from a place where the weather is a bit cold, then the best time for you to exercise in a tropical area would be early in the morning, similarly the best time for someone from a tropical country to exercise would be in the late afternoon. With this in mind here are a couple of ideas that can help you keep fit while volunteering abroad.

 

The first and simplest way to keep fit is to take a short run or walk around your area of residence while you are volunteering, this can be a simple short 15 to 20 minute run or walk.

Be sure to talk to your host or any locals you are familiar with to help you with directions or a map if possible, also try and find out if there is a good and safe area around your residence where you can have your run without any risks.

 

Swimming regularly is another good way to keep fit. This helps in building endurance, muscle strength and cardio-vascular fitness. You can also use swimming simply as a warm up session before you get into your more rigorous exercises, this is one way but another good use of swimming can come After a land workout a few laps in the pool can help you cool-down, and it moves blood through your muscles to help them recover.

 

Research is your best tool when travelling abroad, if you like running, find out the best trails to do so, along the same line if you are used to keeping fit through aerobics, then you need to find out where the best fitness gyms are located in the area where you are residing during your volunteer experience, bear in mind that you may not necessarily find an aerobics routine that is the same as that you are used to at home, so it will help you to speak to the locals and any aerobics instructors you come into contact with to find an aerobics class that is most similar to what  you are used to, doing what your body is already familiar with is much easier than starting up with a whole new workout routine.

 

One thing you need to remember when going abroad for a period of time to be spent volunteering, is not to be afraid of carrying your workout gear, it may add a few pounds to your luggage but it is worth it, your body produces endorphins from a good work out, this will help you keep your stress levels down while at the same time making sure you are not worse off in fitness by the time you get back home

 

Finally, try and have fun as well with your work out, the point is to keep fit and stress free, so  you can invite your friends and some of the locals to join you, this will help keep you motivated and act as a way of staying with your work out to the end

 

 

 

Top 4 Volunteer abroad books

Top 4 Volunteer abroad books

“No matter how big and powerful government gets, and the many services it provides, it can never take the place of volunteers.”- Ronald Reagan. Volunteering abroad is an endeavor that changes the lives of the volunteers as well as the lives of those being helped. As volunteer, especially those who are first time volunteers, they are excited about the prospect of going abroad and helping out. They have a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty because they don’t have much information on how life is abroad, and the kind of work that they will do. There is information on volunteer work on the internet on blogs, reviews and volunteer service organizations. In addition to information on the internet, there are books available. These books are written by past volunteers on how life is abroad. The authors are writing from firsthand experience on volunteer work abroad, and life in different countries.

These volunteer books are: How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Abroad It is authored by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, and Zahara Heckscher. The book is Based on six years of research that included fieldwork in over 25 countries, the book is not just a directory of opportunities, but a critical review of over 80 volunteer placement organizations in this rapidly growing field, as well as a detailed but easy to read manual about everything from why to volunteer to what to do when you get back. It is an in-depth guide for anyone who wants volunteer in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Eastern Europe Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others The authors are Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins, Anne Geissinger, and Ed Asner. This book provides one to two pages of information on 150 organizations through which travelers can help others while on vacation at locations both in the United States and around the world. The authors state that they have carefully vetted the organizations but they have stopped short of providing reviews or ratings. While essential information on each organization’s work, locations, costs, needed skills, age restrictions, and contact information is provided, the authors encourage readers to research further on their own. They provide tips on how to evaluate an organization, and they intersperse inspiring testimonials from former volunteers throughout the book. This guide is both a good starting point and a sound overview for those interested in undertaking a service-oriented vacation. The International Directory of Voluntary Work It is written by Victoria Pybus. The book is a freshly revised eighth edition of the book that covers all types of voluntary work all over the world. Over 700 organizations worldwide need all types of people, both skilled and unskilled, for all types of work. Residential work available worldwide includes schemes such as organic farming in Thailand, nursing in Chile, archaeological digs in France, re-enacting battles in Pennsylvania, bird observation in the Madagascan rainforest, bee-keeping in Hungary, working with street children in Brazil, studying humpback whales in Hawaii, teaching English in Laos, or running development programs in India. The book also covers non-residential work in the UK and the USA such as planting trees in San Francisco, caring for seal pups in Cornwall, helping to re-house homeless people, working in a dragonfly museum, restoring steam locomotives, and preparing food for dolphins in Florida The straight stuff about joining the Peace Corps It is written by Dillon Banerjee. The book grew from Dillon Banerjee’s personal frustration trying to answer these questions for himself: he couldn’t find a single book written from the perspective of a Volunteer. It is organized around 73 questions starting with “1. What is the application process like?” and ending with “73. Would you go back and do the Peace Corps all over again?” The nine appendices are rich with information including PCV requirements and how to strengthen your own application plus lists of loan programs and RPCV support groups arranged by state.

Volunteer Abroad Organizations Review

Volunteer Abroad Organizations Review
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~Elizabeth Andrew. There are so many organizations out there that a volunteer can choose to use. It sometimes gets hard to choose which organization to use and to find reviews about the organization the volunteer has chosen. Although, there are websites which review and rate organizations depending on their clients experience. Some of the websites are abroad review and review centre, they get views from past volunteers and publish them on their site. This information is useful to find how the organization treats its clients. Here are some of the reviews from the websites:

Volunteer Capital Centre

I was a bit skeptical about using Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC) as I was unsure what goes on while you are abroad. But when I arrived in the country I was welcomed with so much love and care. They were waiting at the airport and took to me to a wonderful homestay. I immediately bonded with all the family members and they made me feel so welcomed. I was taken to my volunteer project and had the best time of my life. I worked in a community development program and it was hard and fun at the same time. I highly recommend this organization to anyone and I cant wait to go back.

Volunteer HQ review

I Spent 3 weeks working with IVHQ in Nairobi. Best experience of my life and still upset at having left over 4 weeks later. The country and children I worked with really tugs at the heart strings. Already planning my next trip back there in 2012 hopefully. Had an amazing host family with grace and her two little ones and James from Fadhili ensured we were always happy. Cannot speak highly enough of the Kenyan people. Highly recommend as a destination.

Global Crossroad review

We (me and my wife) undertook a 3-Week Volunteer program (teaching) at an Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. This was our first such initiative in global volunteerism. From the very beginning Global Crossroads (Mr. Mohan) guided us in selecting the program, making local arrangements (and providing specific/ detailed info of Dos and Donts), calling the host Family, and list goes on. All the arrangements were as outlined and it turned out to be one of the life-time experiences (which we share with everyone and the listeners are surprised at our enthusiasm for such a positive view considering our age and food restrictions – Strict Vegetarian). We will be happy to provide/ e-mail correspondence with anyone who may have Qs. We are now ready to plan for next exotic country in 2013.

Ikando review

I think this organization probably used to be good. There was a change of management 6 months ago and since then the place has fallen apart. Volunteers get barely any support, the management team is unacceptably rude, and some placement hosts have accused Ikando of not paying up the promised donations. During my recent placement I saw several volunteers cut short their time with Ikando and return home early. I would recommend you find another organization to volunteer with.

Global vision International review

My time spent in the small hill tribe village of Huay Pakoot was among the most memorable experiences I have had up to date. Not only did the GVI staff offer help and guidance, but they also all exhibit the same passion and motivation that I aspire to emulate. I cannot emphasize enough how important the Thai Elephant project and the Elephant Vet Aid Outpost (EVAO) are in the fight for saving the critically endangered Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) from the brink of extinction. The accommodation in Huay Pakoot is basic at best, BUT it is equalized by the hospitality provided by your home stay families, who cook and cater three meals a day for each volunteer. I am a vegetarian and had no dramas in having my home stay meet my dietary requirements. In saying that, the food that the locals cook is AMAZING! All produce is grown and harvested in the local area, so if you like fresh food, Huay Pakoot is the place to be.

A broad view review

Thanks again for making this happen for us, it was a life changing trip and hopefully the first of many volunteer abroad trips for me personally. I wouldn’t hesitate to use A Broader View again, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me in the future to help me coordinate another journey.