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The Gap Year Blog

Why volunteering is a great way to spend your holidays

13 May 2019 16:30 PM

Photo Credit: Frontier

Of course, you can have a proper English breakfast in Italy or eat Fish and Chips in South Africa, but what is the point in going abroad into a foreign country without experiencing its culture? If you want to go beyond the typical tourist experience and want to make your holiday exciting and different, try volunteering and get to know the new culture at their heartbeat while being part of ongoing efforts where it is needed most. 

Volunteer projects do not try to provide a quick fix but are ongoing efforts to change something fundamental in order to have a long-lasting positive effect. You can be part of that. Thus, instead of just being an overconsuming and for their own profit-hunting tourist, you can give the country you are traveling to and the people you are meeting something back. 

Volunteering projects are as manifold as the problems existing that need voluntary workers. You can help built schools or new housing, help children to learn early development skills, provide health and nutrition support and advice or work with scientists and conservationist to protect endangered flora and fauna. 

Support your personal cause, that way you will make your trip more worthwhile. Also consider your personal and professional skills to ensure that your efforts are productive for you and the cause you are supporting.

You still do not know why you should work in your holidays?

Well, it is not like you are working 24/7. The amount of work you have to do on a project is always depending on the weather, the resources and how much has and can be done. You will rarely have a full working day, sometimes it can be more and sometimes less. 

Moreover, it will not feel like you are doing actual work at all because you are not doing it for good grades or competition. You are not doing it for yourself, you do it to help others and you do it in a group with other likeminded people. This is so much more enjoyable. 

Photo Credit: Frontier

After work you can roam around and explore the country. Usually volunteer programmes also include a couple of field trips to cultural highlights nearby or some free days. This way you can spend your free time combining traveling and doing good. You get to know the culture, nature and people in much shorter time and a much more intense way by interacting with them than you would as a mere tourist. 

Moreover, by volunteering you get away from the tourist paths into regions that visitors usually do not get to see. That means a unique and most authentic travel experience for you – untouched landscapes, scenic settings and very traditional food and local cuisine. But it will also show you the reality aside from all the glamorous adverts of media and travel agencies. You will see how the world really is and that help is needed. 

Volunteering is a CV booster

This experience will considerably impact and change you. It will make your grow. On top of that, by gaining some volunteer experience in a role or field of work you are interested in, you show potential employers that you are determined and really want the job. It says a lot about you, your mindset, passion and work ethics. 

Employers are well aware of the benefits of volunteering and recognise the initiative. It is also a good topic to bring up during a job interview. Qualifications are important but volunteering can give you the hands-on work experience you need.

Volunteering is a meaningful way to spend you time off. And no one says that you cannot rest at the beach for a whole day while being on a volunteering programme. Just take a country from your bucket-list and a volunteering holiday will show it to you from a completely new perspective. 

By Desiree Schneider - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!