Community//

Volunteering Overseas: What You Need to Know

There are many ways for people to fulfill an inner desire to make the world a better place. For some people, it is enough to show up to the occasional 5K or write a check. There is another subsector of our society, however, who chooses to dedicate years of their life to assist in a […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

There are many ways for people to fulfill an inner desire to make the world a better place. For some people, it is enough to show up to the occasional 5K or write a check. There is another subsector of our society, however, who chooses to dedicate years of their life to assist in a much more demanding way through volunteerism abroad. This concept also exists domestically with nonprofit groups such as Americorps, but for people who want to take things a step further and dive into a completely unknown culture, there are international volunteer groups like the Peace Corps and the United Nations. It is very easy to only see the upside to a selfless gesture like this, but it is very important to not offend anybody or expose yourself to dangers while living abroad. This can happen unwittingly and is a perfect example of good intentions being misunderstood. 

Throughout the interview process, you will be asked a series of questions. There is also a written essay portion and a series of psychological assessments.  This is all carefully designed to match you with the best possible volunteer site. The more upfront and honest you are, the more enjoyable the experience will be for you. Once you have your assignment, it is common to have time to prepare before departure. This is to help volunteers tie up any loose ends, purchase necessary supplies, and educate themselves on their destination country. Most professional organizations will already have a playbook for the country, but it is always a good thing to accumulate your own knowledge. 

Although it seems irrelevant, it’s important to keep your ego separate from your work. It is very easy to convince yourself that you are personally doing more than you actually are. No matter how special you envision your purpose, Keep being self-aware to really understand your role while volunteering. Unless you are a qualified medical professional, carpenter, architect, or someone of value to the native population in a specific trade, you are there to follow the strict guidelines handed out to volunteers. These can seem limiting and frustrating, but they are in place for a good reason. Overstepping your bounds can lead to injury, mistrust, and a delay in projects that will end up defeating the whole endeavor. 

This article was originally published at https://navy-lanier.org/

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Looking Good – Mexico’s Medical Tourism Scene is booming thanks to our desire to look good

    by Mildred Sanchez
    Photo by Frank Vex on Unsplash
    Community//

    The emotional toll of a year abroad

    by Alexandra Hewett
    Community//

    The transformative power of moving abroad

    by Niels van Deuren

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.