Interested in Volunteering? Here’s Who We’re Looking For:
Volunteering abroad requires time, motivation and skills from the volunteer. Here we share what we are looking for in a volunteer, and information about how these qualifications can benefit both you and the community you choose to volunteer with.
Time: One Month or Longer
Volunteering offers an opportunity to live in a new community, and share parts of your own culture. However, adjusting to the unfamiliar can take time – for everyone.
A longer time commitment offers more chances for the volunteer to build relationships, learn how to effectively communicate and contribute, and understand how life works where they are volunteering. And, it goes both ways: The community and organization have to also adjust to your presence, learn how to communicate with you, and show you what you need to know to be involved. This takes time and effort on their part, and initially can be disruptive to their work, even if it proves valuable in the long run.
When the volunteer stays for longer, it helps everyone get the most out of their time together. For this reason we ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of one month, and we encourage a longer stay than this if possible.
Motivation: CV, Letter of Intent and Skype Interview
The organizations we have partnered with value volunteers who want to learn and be involved. They take the contribution of volunteers seriously and want to know more about the motivation that makes you want to help. We expect volunteers to provide a CV and motivational letter, explaining why you would like to volunteer with this organization. Additionally we recommend that a Skype conversation between the organization and the volunteer takes place beforehand. This allows the volunteer and the host organization to learn more about each other and ensure that their motivations and goals match.
Do you have specific skills that you think could be useful to the communities and organizations you visit? Great – we want to hear about them! These skills could be technical, like teaching, first aid, website design, painting, social media, computer literacy or sports coaching. They could also be ‘soft skills,’ like creativity, leadership, planning or communication.
Volunteers arriving with specific skills and the willingness to share them is awesome, but not required. Enthusiasm, dedication and an open mind are also important skills to arrive with. Whatever the case, your volunteer experience will be more valuable if you take some time to consider what skills you can bring to the organization and the community it supports. We also invite you to contact our partner organizations directly to see what skills they need the most.
Costs: No Fees, But…
These organizations rely largely on donations and the efforts of volunteers to continue operating. Of course, financial contributions are welcome, but they are not at all required.
However, you are expected to cover your own living costs: Travel, sleeping and eating. Get in touch with us to get estimates of how much living in these communities cost. If you are interested in volunteer experiences where your contributions are given in exchange for free sleeping and food, check out websites like Workaway and HelpX.