What You Need to Do to Prepare for Volunteer Work Abroad

Volunteers provide valuable services to organizations and charities around the world.  Without the manpower of these individuals, there wouldn’t be enough time in the day to do an enormous amount of good in other countries.  With this in mind, volunteers are highly revered for the work that they do and rightfully so.  Behind every successful charitable effort is a group of volunteers that help make it happen.

If you’re considering volunteering abroad this year, there are some things that you’ll want to do in advance to help you prepare for your trip:

First Do Your Research
It’s important to know the terms and conditions you’ll be agreeing to when you volunteer abroad.  Know the group or organization that you’re working with.  Also, take the time to get to know the area of the globe you’ll be traveling to.  Read up about its crime rate, its acceptance of foreigners, its cost of living, and its availability to resources that you’re used to having.  Being prepared will help ease homesickness and make your volunteer work abroad go more smoothly.

volunteer work abroad

Obtain the Proper Travel Documents You Need While Abroad
You’ll need to organize travel documents in an easy-to-carry pouch or wallet and keep your visas, passports, and other documents that you need to travel to the country you’re volunteering in. Keep a photocopy set (or two) in the luggage you’re carrying for safekeeping.

Make Certain to Pack Correctly for the Area’s Climate
No matter where your destination is, some of my advice on packing correctly is universal. Choose a durable and easy-to-transport container for your clothing. A large backpack or a secure suitcase, depending on your accommodations, should hold enough, well packed, to sustain you wardrobe-wise during your stay abroad.
Stay away from expensive or flashy luggage that might attract the attention of thieves. Natural fabrics will travel better and last longer, although cotton will wrinkle, if not carefully packed, to the point of being unworkable. Wrap these items by folding then tightly rolling them. Remember why you are traveling to your location and pack the clothing that will work best at your volunteer job.

Book Your Flight
Many of the groups that you will volunteer with will pay all or most of your travel, visa, and vaccines. Since you entering into this experience to help groups that may not be able to help you with your expenses (or, you may want to help them by not adding a price tag to your volunteer service) you may need to pay for these items on your own. Fundraisers like bake sales and silent auctions are great ways to build up the cash you will need to fund your trip. You may also apply for a travel scholarship if you are currently pursuing a degree. If non of these work you can you can always search for cheap airfare. It could be worth work after all you could look at this as more of a Volunteer Vacation.

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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.

4 comments
Julia Villas
Julia Villas

These are great tips...I agree with that. Apart from preparing all the documents you will need, you also have to prepare your health by taking all prescribed vaccines...Volunteer jobs abroad may not be financially satisfying but undergoing so can add up to your credentials.

CeciliaJHill
CeciliaJHill

That’s really nice. I would like to travel abroad too. To travel or to do volunteer work, whatever. As long as I get to go to a new country, experience new culture, eat weird and new foods.

Erin
Erin

Great tips. Make sure to study the native culture, read about their customs, traditions, beliefs, politics, land, economy... any and everything. Be informed, be positive, be thankful, respectful and open. Volunteering abroad can be an extremely rewarding experience and travel opportunity.

MatthewLHiltz
MatthewLHiltz

I know someone who has volunteered to teach in Cambodia. She will be teaching children in elementary school and she’s going this May. I think it’s awesome. Plus, that country is a must place to visit. Amazing culture and history. Hope I can go there too, to volunteer or to travel. Oh, good tips by the way.

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