It’s hard to imagine a world outside of your backyard until you start to travel. Traveling in general can be an entirely new experience that allows you to learn a lot about yourself with great opportunity for personal growth. Volunteering abroad takes traveling to a completely new level and is, simply put, life changing.
Up with People cast members travel to various places throughout North America and Europe every semester volunteering in local cities to spread the mission of the organization. They collaborate with every community they visit and work together to address local issues, form community connections and make a long-lasting impact.
The benefits of volunteering abroad can seem pretty obvious, but to some it’s more about thinking outside of the box. Are you considering taking the leap?
Here are seven important lessons you can learn and benefits you can gain from your time volunteering overseas.
1. New friends come from all walks of life.
During your time visiting other countries, you’ll find yourself having conversations with people who all have different stories and cultural upbringings. The interpersonal skills you’ll learn from volunteering in another country will help you to relate and communicate with just about anyone. These soft skills are incredibly important in today’s workplace and will be another added bonus to put on your resume.
2. Your culture is not better than anyone else’s.
No matter how in depth your academic background is on global issues or international history, it is an entirely different and more personal education when you have the first-hand experience. It will help you to bridge the cultural gap and gain global perspective that we are all people and created equal.
3. Hot showers, electricity, microwaves, and proper bathrooms are all luxuries.
Many countries that are needing the assistance of volunteers may not necessarily have all the luxuries you may have in your daily life. Things like heating up a quick meal in the microwave or taking a hot shower may not be the norm, but the truth is that you will more than likely never hear anyone complain about these things.
4. You’ll have a greater sense of empathy for others.
Seeing the world through different eyes will allow you to become more of an empathetic person. You’ll be living alongside groups of people as they survive through their day-to-day challenges. You give a face to a global issue that makes it much harder to ignore as you build relationships with the people you impact and those who impact you.
5. You’ll have a greater sense of self value.
Whether it’s from learning a new language, traveling to new and foreign countries or perfecting a new skill, community service can help boost your confidence. You’ll be able to put yourself in just about any situation and mold right in with ease, improving your sense of self-worth.
6. You’ll find yourself being a happier person.
Aside from the obvious benefits of giving back through volunteering and community action projects, there is a true science behind the happiness that generosity brings. Time Magazine shared an article about a research study that was published in Nature Communications by researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The study showed that even just by thinking about giving back can help lower your stress levels and blood pressure.
7. The things we fret about on a daily basis will seem petty.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “first world problems?” After immersing yourself into a completely different lifestyle, it will drastically help shift your overall perception of day-to-day life. Things that seemed annoying or frustrating like sitting in traffic or your printer not working, will start to seem petty and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Finding a little perspective while traveling will lead to a much more positive approach on life.
Woah, what can I do?
I’m just one person … one person.
Woah, what can I do?
I’m just one person same as you.
One Person (What Can I Do?) © Up with People