International volunteering not only provides a platform for positive change in community development, but also encourages cross-cultural learning which helps create understanding and global awareness. Depending on different programmes, international volunteers can teach in schools, provide disaster relief support in trauma situations, conduct research on improving management strategies of endangered environments, provide vocational training, build liveable conditions for impoverished people and work along with local organisations to improve the general quality of life of people in underdeveloped countries.
Most of the Voluntering Abroad programmes are meant for community development in various African, Asian and Latin American countries. The programmes generally accept participants from all types of backgrounds, regardless of their education level. However, most of the participants are graduates from high school, college or university. Recent retirees and professionals who want to take a break are also welcomed to join these programmes. Essentially, they provide fresh opportunities to participants to travel abroad and work while making a difference in the world.
What Does a Volunteer Programme Entail?
Typically, most of the volunteer programmes fit into any of these categories: health and medical placement, teaching placement, conservation placement, social placement and building placement. These categories are quite broad and can cater to participants belonging to various sectors based on their interests and education. Although experience and skill is important, willingness to contribute is the most valuable prerequisite.
The health and medical programme requires volunteers who can work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centres, rural health clinics, private and public hospitals and diagnostic centres. On the other hand, the teaching programmes require volunteers who can assist students in large city schools as well as small rural schools. They often also include community awareness programmes on topics such as general hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases awareness training and environmental education.
The conservation placement generally attracts the highest number of volunteers since it provides an opportunity to work in natural, scenic locations. The locations vary from parks and beaches to ranches and mountainous regions. Additionally, they get to experience wildlife up close and observe the local flora and fauna.
The social programmes aim at providing support for street children, orphanages, impoverished women and the elderly. Participants working for social programmes fight for causes like literacy promotion, fair trade, equal rights for women and providing micro finance.
Lastly, the building programmes require volunteers who could help in the construction of hospitals, schools, public libraries, clinics and homes for poor and needy.