With scenes reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow outside, are you finding yourself scrolling through old summer albums, wishing away this winter weather for those glorious summer months (or weeks as it is in the UK)? Stop scrolling and get organising. Begin planning your summer now!
Like any girl I enjoy a party holiday, your only worries being whether your tan is getting any darker and choosing which outfit to wear that night. But why not try something different this year and volunteer abroad? Last summer I volunteered in Costa Rica with Raleigh International, a rewarding and eye-opening experience which, believe me, I will never forget!
Discover a new culture
Volunteering abroad, whatever destination you choose, will give you an opportunity to experience a different way of life. Away from all the material things we rely on, volunteers are able to meet and learn from courageous individuals from all walks of life. Depending on the country of your choice, you may even get to learn a bit of the language.
Make new friends
People told me before leaving for my expedition I would make ‘friends for life’ and they were right. Volunteering abroad with companies such as Raleigh International and Projects Abroad gives you the chance to meet people of different nationalities and backgrounds: like-minded people who also want to help others. While exploring a foreign country thousands of miles away from home and having minimal contact with your loved ones, you become close to the people around you – you become a family.
Learn invaluable skills
Fire-building, raft-building, radio communication, river-crossing, using tools and map reading are just a few of the practical skills you may learn. Okay, so these survival skills may be a bit more useful to someone like Bear Grylls but you never know when you might get stuck in the middle of a jungle! Not to mention the fact volunteering will also improve your leadership and team skills, and make you infinitely more employable!
Make a difference to the lives of others
Hearing the heart-warming sound of the native children laughing and playing, seeing bright smiles glow from the faces of the thankful community, clutching the hands of my group, smelling fresh paint as I stepped back to admire the school we built in three weeks – a special moment; a moment everyone should experience. Seeing the gratitude and happiness of this humble community we had grown to love put our four weeks of tough living conditions, trekking and construction into perspective. The community of Duserinak, like other communities around the world, face daily challenges such as poverty, limited access to clean water, safe sanitation and amenities which sometimes we take for granted. Take the opportunity this summer; use your time to make a difference to someone’s life.
Push yourself to your limits, broaden your mind and embark on your adventure this summer!
Interested? Find out more below…