Benefits of Volunteering Abroad During Your Gap Year
In today's date, when the level of competitiveness is on a rise and people are constantly trying to achieve higher goals, it has become quite common that they reach a state of saturation and seek peace from traveling. High school/ college/ university students who are about to wrap up their academic courses, working professionals on a sabbatical, backpackers or anyone who's craving for traveling for a considerable period of time, can be seen taking a gap year abroad.
Most of the gap year travelers add tend to opt for volunteering, which carries its own invaluable advantages; experiences that they may not attain otherwise. These experiences stay with a traveler for a very long time; sometimes, even forever! It often helps the traveler in finding his/her true passion and redirects life for good.
Curious to know what these advantages are? Well, here we've listed the 10 benefits of volunteering abroad during your gap year!
1. Learn New Things While Being By Yourself
While traveling alone & volunteering during a gap year, you'll get to learn a lot of new things that you otherwise missed out in life. It'll be a whole new process of gaining knowledge through experiences, as you'll get to connect with other people, know more about their lives, about the good and bad things they face, and eventually, work to make an impact in the underprivileged societies.
2. Witnessing Traditions You May Have Only Heard Or Read About
Of course, we get to read and learn about the culture and traditions of other countries during school, as well as from TV channels, YouTube and various other sources. But, it is only when you are traveling to a particular destination that you actually get to witness and experience those vibrant traditions, you had only heard about so far. You get to know what 'Culture Shock' actually is, and how people in a different part are so diverse from those living in your country. It'll be nothing short of an eye-opening experience for you!
3. Chance of Living with a Local Tribe
Well, it is not an everyday thing that you get to stay with an age-old local tribe, maybe in some part of Africa or Southeast Asia or Latin America. There are volunteering programs available across different countries where you can engage in community development and spend ample time, working and living with the local tribal folks, and serving them to live a better life.
4. Get to Dance to the Festive Tunes
In case you're excited about traveling to the East, then you must be knowing that the people in India have at least one festival every month to celebrate, throughout the year! Similarly, every country has its own set of regional and national festivals, which are simply unique in their own ways, and may or may not be known by others. While it's possible for the tourists to miss out such authentic opportunities, it's pretty impossible for a gap year traveler to skip those! Thus, you should be excited knowing that you'll get to celebrate and be a part of some exquisite traditions from different parts of the world.
5. Befriend the Animals - Like Elephants, Tigers, Sea Turtles, and More
Sounds something straight out of the Madagascar movie, doesn't it? Well, a little bit similar you may say! Amidst a plethora of opportunities to volunteer abroad, one also get to work for wildlife conservation programs that involve staying in close proximity with the animals. It also provides a chance to get closer to Mother Nature and do something meaningful in order to protect the environment and make this world a better place to live, for all.
6. Opportunity To Learn A New Language
While you always have a chance of learning a new language in your own city, but guess what fun it would be, to learn it while living with the locals! It might seem difficult to grasp a language without attending proper classes, but while volunteering, you'll mostly be in touch with the locals, who barely talk in English! Thus, by listening to them, and communicating with them, you'll eventually pick that up pretty easily! Not kidding, but I was volunteering in Kenya and by the time my journey ended, I could understand Swahili pretty well, and also learned how to speak!
7. Getting Your Hands Dirty While Making A Difference
A volunteering journey is way more different than any other usual tour - it's an endeavor you take, putting in some efforts to bring about some significant changes. Once you travel to a different land, spend time with the not-so-fortunate-ones and help in healing their problems, you'll understand that it's fairly easy to sit at home and discuss problems, but not so easy to work for solving it. It's going to be one of the biggest lessons that you'll learn from your gap year volunteer trip, and it'll benefit you for life.
8. Explore Some Of The Wonders Of the World
Well, this is the time when you get to tick off things from your bucket list as well. I'm sure many of you out there have been planning to explore the ruins of Macchu Pichu in Peru or dreaming of seeing the beauty of the Taj Mahal in India, or probably explore the Angkor Temple Complex, digging into history! It's quite obvious - we all have our own wish list, and a gap year trip can help in fulfilling those! There are several Natural Wonders as well, which you might want to explore. Plan your gap year properly, so that you get to do all that you've been wanting to!
9. Binge On The Delicious Local Cuisine & Learn To Cook As Well
Of course, there's no doubt that you're gonna explore the food scenes and hop from one eatery to another, while you're there in your host country! Try out the amazing street food, and head off to the local markets! Also, your new friends in the country might tell you about their favorite food joints which are hidden gems! And above all, the best part of living in a country for a considerable period of time is that you might get to learn how to cook their dishes as well!
10. Know That Making a Difference Wasn’t That Tough After All
And lastly, when you are done with your entire sojourn, and you're flying back home, looking at the cloud bubbles - all you will think about is the time you've spent at the volunteer projects, the people you met during this time, and all the memories you made throughout the journey. What you will realize is that helping someone, in a different country and making a difference in their lives wasn’t that tough a job! You'll definitely end up being an inspiration for many.
When you read about these advantages, they might sound very subtle, but it is only when you live these experiences, that you will realize their actual strength. So, if you too have plans to take a gap year abroad soon, make sure to opt for a volunteering program and make the most of your time.