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17 excellent reasons to volunteer in 2019

By Lauren Melnick 2 days ago

2019 is here at last! Is volunteering on your New Year resolutions list? If not, here are 17 reasons to volunteer in 2019.

1) It’s good for your health

No, we aren’t making this up. Studies have found that when you stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than yourself, your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases. This is because helping someone else interrupts tension-producing patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and high confidence levels. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this infographic from UnitedHealth Group.

2) Hello career booster

Did you know volunteering is an excellent way to boost your career prospects? It helps you create a positive impression, makes you more innovative, creative and gives you a range of useful skills. It’s not just us that believe this, recruiters do too!

In Adweek’s article on the state of recruitment in 2015, they found that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, political affiliations and spelling and grammar errors when looking at a candidate’s social presence. The British Council also released a study centred entirely around how international experience benefits individuals and employers.

3) Learn new skills

learn a new skill

 

So just what are the reasons that makes employers love volunteers so much?Employers love a candidate with a range of soft skills and luckily, volunteering gives you plenty of those. You are faced with problems on a daily basis, you have to deal with a mix of personalities and all while adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone. This all adds up and helps to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills.All in all, another excellent reason to get out there and volunteer!

4) A real-world experience

Another amazing motivator for volunteering abroad is the insightful, real-world experiences that volunteers gain in the field. Get ready to gain a hands-on experience, get stuck in doing wildlife conservation research, painting and renovating old buildings, conducting underwater surveys, tracking jaguars, cleaning baby turtles, increasing teaching capacity, or earning your PADI Open Water qualification in some of the world’s most pristine waters.

5) Make an impact

Volunteering, at home or abroad, gives you the chance to vote every day about the kind of community and world you want to live in. It gives you the opportunity to be apart of something bigger than yourself and use your civic responsibility to empower people all across the globe.

6) United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United nations sustainable development goals

 

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) announced it’s agenda for sustainable development in the next 15 years. With over 17 goals in total, most can be advanced through sustainable and responsible volunteering programs. Instead of relying on your government to fix these issues by 2030, we can all contribute in our own way.

This reason to volunteer gives you an outlet to tackle the world’s problems with your own hands and play an active part in the global community.

7) Give back to a cause you believe in

Not sure where to start in your volunteering journey?

Your reason for volunteering should begin where your passions lie. Let your love for animals, teaching or healthcare create positive change in the world.

Allow your actions to be led from a place of passionate intention. That way all the hard work will be worth it, you will be more committed to the cause and as a result, your impact will be that much bigger.

8) Help to empower another

A local leader conducts a menstrual health education workshop in Laos as part of the women’s empowerment program.

 

What better reason is there to volunteer abroad?

Your participation in a sustainable, long-term program will help to empower people. By contributing to teaching capacity at over-burdened schools, or helping someone to reach their goals in learning English, you will help to empower them to break out of cycles of poverty, and access improved job opportunities.

9) Travel responsibly

Volunteering abroad allows you to travel with a purpose. It allows you to reduce your ecological footprint by giving back to activities that are ethical and sustainable.

Before deciding on a programme, ask yourself the following questions:

• How will it benefit the local community?
• Does the organisation respect the local culture?
• What is the reason behind your volunteering trip?
• What problem will the end product help solve?

Always keep in mind that you are there to contribute to impactful initiatives, and you can’t do that if the needs of the community aren’t being responded to.

10) Make real connections

reasons to volunteer

 

Volunteering lets you meet people from all walks of life. It gives you the chance to form real relationships that can have a lasting impact on your life. You could meet your new best friend, future business partner or have a conversation that sparks a real change in your life.

11) Learn a new language

Did you know learning a new language boosts brain power? Or that it develops your ability to multi-task?

Another reason to volunteer is to learn a new language. By taking the time to learn a country’s language you are opening yourself up to its culture, and will be better equipped to engage meaningfully with local communities.

This is why all our volunteers have an introductory lesson to the local language during their orientation. By trying to understand a language, we learn about the heritage that goes with it. It helps us comes to terms with how we view other cultures and appreciate the intricacies of our own.

12) Become a part of the community

excellent reasons to volunteer

Participants learn to weave from a women in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

 

Becoming part of the local community is one of the most popular reasons people choose to volunteer abroad. Living in a community gives you a different view of the people and the country. You will be immersed in a new community, culture and day-to-day lives.In many of our locations, including Chiang Mai, volunteers reside in a local homestay. Volunteers spend their free time cooking with their host family, helping with chores, sharing meals, and learning about one another. It’s a great opportunity to soak up village life and experience meaningful cultural exchange.

13) Gain a whole new perspective

Volunteering abroad changes how you see the world. You come into contact with people on a daily basis from different countries, backgrounds and perspectives.

This shift in perspective opens your mind to what is truly important, and helps to build bridges of understanding.

14) Explore more

volunteer opportunities

 

Living in another country will always be a major reason for volunteers to go abroad. It allows you to see the country in a different light and explore it to the fullest. You can get off the beaten track and return home with a host of new experiences and memories.

15) The food

As much as we all love going out to eat, most of us will choose home-cooked meals from a parent or caregiver any day. While volunteering abroad, you can delight your taste buds with authentic, home-cooked meals!

A lot of volunteering organisations organise homestays or local chefs to keep the local flavour coming throughout your placement.

16) Get inspired

With the new year looming ahead are you finding yourself stuck in a rut? Or maybe you are unsure what to do with your life or what to study after graduation?

You can use volunteering as a reason to get out of old routine and help you figure out what your next steps will be when you return home.

Taking a break, putting your life into perspective and learning about other people’s lives first might inspire an idea or spark an interest. You might come up with ideas on how to improve your own community, or discovered a new life calling.

17) It’s fun

reasons to volunteer in 2019

 

Of course, volunteering is not something to take lightly and needs to be treated with the utmost respect, but it is also fun! It’s a reason to meet new people, embrace cultural traditions and encounter new places.

During your downtime you can spend a weekend island hopping in Thailand, climbing Table Mountain in South Africa, or white river rafting in Costa Rica. The choices are endless.

Combining this with all the altruistic reasons to volunteer, makes for an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Are you ready to get out into the world and contribute to impactful programmes in 2019?

Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programs and internships. Choose from projects in community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment and conservation worldwide.