Personal Benefits Of Volunteering
The term volunteer is rooted in an old Latin word voluntas, meaning will or a desire. In this case, a desire to travel and to do something meaningful. It is the willing involvement of an individual, or a group in activities of general interest, for the greater good, usually focused on conservation or community development projects.
So, why do people volunteer? Those who spend countless days volunteering will tell you that there are considerable benefits to it. It contributes in various ways by raising the quality of your personal and professional life.
People who are not a fan of volunteer travel, on the other hand, will tell you that they find it hard to commit their time, money and skills into something that they won’t even get paid for in return, and scoff at the very mention of combining volunteer work and travel
But is it inarguably true? Is money always the only thing that can reward someone’s work and effort, or is there more that you can get from your volunteering travel experience?
31 Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteer travel can sometimes be demanding, scary, frustrating, and at that moment, seemingly not worth it, but it eventually pays off in numerous ways. So, why volunteering and travel?
From our point of view, these are some of the essential personal benefits of volunteering and why you should consider breaking your day to day routine and put up a fair share of volunteer hours abroad.
❶ Meet New People With Similar Interests
Meeting new people can be challenging, especially if you are new in town with no existing relationships.
Volunteer opportunities bring people of all backgrounds together, from a cook or an athlete to a marketing expert or a knowledgeable art historian. With all these folks crammed into one place, you are bound to meet many with shared interests and develop a solid support system. You already have three things in common, your selflessness, your readiness to get involved in community service and your desire to travel.
You require only a positive attitude, and you are bound to meet tons of like-minded people, all while having a fulfilling volunteer experience.
❷ Make New Friends And Form Long-lasting Friendships
It’s somewhat surprising just how many new friends you can make through volunteer opportunities. Volunteering connects people.
Volunteers are welcomed pretty much everywhere, and so they are free to choose in what way or in what organization they’ll be doing their community service. They usually opt for a volunteer opportunity that sparks their interests the most, so a group of volunteers is often characterized by an interest in the same social phenomena and often a similar value system.
Volunteering makes strong bonds and connections by working together, and it can strengthen existing relationships while creating new ones that can last for a lifetime.
❸ It Is Beneficial For Your Mental And Physical Health
An article in Harvard health publications states that volunteering experiences and travel are both good for your body and mind. It’s pretty evident to a large extent just how and why volunteer efforts can influence any individual’s physical and mental health.
You are likely to spend time outdoors, especially if you try volunteer programs which help in conservation such as animal shelters, reforestation programs or wildlife research. It’s a fun and easy way to escape the sedentary lifestyle or your tedious desk job, school, or family commitments, thus helping you stay physically healthy.
It’s also a scientific fact that volunteering and travel combat depression and can reduce stress because helping others breaks the daily tension, improves the state of immunity, and increases the overall feeling of satisfaction. You can’t argue science on this one.
❹ Volunteering Increases Self-confidence
You don’t have to spend your whole life volunteering to feel some significant personal benefits of improving both your self-esteem and self-confidence. Volunteering and especially combining this with travel connects people, so through community service and other volunteer opportunities, you’ll get to practice important skills in relationship building and socializing through constant communication with other people.
Even if you’re not confident with your social skills, you’ll eventually come out of your comfort zone and get a significant boost of confidence and self-esteem because you’ll feel that your project needs you.
You’ll get a natural sense of accomplishment and feel like you’re an essential part of something huge, and that’s no small feat. Just another reason why volunteer experiences are good for you.
❺ Build A Resume With Valuable Experiences And Proof Of Character
The right volunteer opportunity can help you gain much-needed work experience and gives you an advantage in employment over others in a similar situation.
A volunteer experience at nonprofit organizations, conservation program or community development initiative abroad can give you useful insights and help you develop valuable job skills. It will provide you with better job prospects and help you achieve your future goals.
People in charge can recommend you for a specific work, or you might get a job in the organization in which you volunteered if you prove to be a person who performs the tasks entrusted to him with exceptional quality.
❻ Potential To Gain New Skills And Discover A New Career Path
By combining volunteering and travel, you connect with people from different spheres that you probably would not have had a chance to meet any other way and incidentally discover your new passions.
Gaining new and valuable skills through exposing yourself to new and unique fields in other countries and put into practice these important skills is one of many benefits of why a volunteer travel opportunity can provide.
By engaging in volunteer opportunities with nonprofit and professional organizations, you may pick up important skills in project planning, task management, relationship building, or maybe even some marketing.
With that newfound knowledge, you could more easily slide into a new role of a successful sales position or one day become an experienced crisis counselor. Possibilities are endless.
❼ Experience A Powerful Sense Of Purpose
The benefits of volunteering abroad may cross beyond what you would expect from working at senior centers, a children’s camp, after school programs, community gardens or an animal shelter. You may gain new perspectives of life, rethink your priorities, and you may even settle on a whole new purpose in life that may be completely different from what you imagined previously.
Getting Started On Your Volunteering Journey
Some of the best benefits of volunteering are that they can open doors for you abroad, so you will have the opportunity to get to know parts of the world you’ve never seen before.
If you liked working in an animal shelter or some animal rescue organizations, but you also always wanted to visit some of those beautiful national parks in Africa, maybe try and make a difference for the animals in Victoria Falls. This volunteer opportunity allows you to help protect beautiful species from extinction.
If community healthcare and medical volunteering are more up your alleys, try lending a helping hand to understaffed and resource-hungry clinics in Antelope Park in Zimbabwe. Make a lasting impact in the community and help patients whose lives depend on the success of this program.
Or maybe help that society by putting your social skills to good use to and become a part of teaching and community development. Put in your volunteer effort to improve the community’s life by providing essential education to its residents through after school programs and community gardens.
Finally, you could become a volunteer advocate for gender equality in Livingstone, Zambia and work with young girls and boys, youth and adults to bring confidence and empowerment to women to achieve the UN’s Goal of Gender Equality in Zambia.
And in case you are curious about other personal benefits of volunteering, here they are:
- Improve your attitude, outlook, and general happiness
- Build new skills like leadership and teamwork
- Gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses
- Develop new interests and passions
- Gain well-deserved respect while setting a good example
- Raise awareness with your friends and family and get them involved
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Become more stimulated and committed to life
- Reduce stress both short and long terms
- Enhance critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities
- Expand your communication skills
- Feel pride for doing something good
- Further causes you believe in
- Find creative inspiration
- Inspire your sense of social accountability
- Evolve into a better-educated campaigner
- Expose yourself to different folks from different walks of life
- Overcome stereotypes about other groups through firsthand experience
- Create a well-rounded outlook on life
- Perform community service requirements for school
- Ensure that volunteering brings fun times and a chance for some extra physical exercise
- Live in a healthier, more joyful community
- Build your university or scholarship applications in similar ways
- Get in touch with professionals who may have possibilities for you now or in the future
Of course, we can’t help but have a particular favourite! We are so lucky to call the beautiful Victoria Falls our home. Find out more about what’s on offer at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World right here!