9 Benefits of Volunteering Abroad with African Impact

The ultimate guide to the benefits of a volunteer abroad experience

Development Initiatives estimates that 9% of the world lived in poverty in 2021. Coincidentally, many of the worst-affected countries abound in natural beauty and possess vast natural resources. Tragically, volatile political landscapes, geographical and climate factors, and disease have prevented these nations from flourishing. On the upside, volunteering abroad can help tip the scales, and provides much needed relief and resources to the local communities.

Whether you’re fresh out of university, taking time off, or keen to explore a new path, you can play your part. You will gain valuable life experience that will stay with you for life. Your options? There are many! Teach English, assist in wildlife conservation or marine research, or support doctors and nurses by providing healthcare to rural communities where access to proper medical resources is limited. Whatever your skillset or experience, your willingness to help, get stuck in and give your time to the project is the most important aspect. There’s also plenty of time and opportunities for sight seeing, leisure and adventure activities! You can do it all when you volunteer abroad; so pack your bags.

Let’s take a look at the 9 key benefits of volunteering abroad with African Impact.

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1. Volunteering Abroad Supports Local Communities to Thrive

Imagine living in a place where basic necessities are scarce, where travel is an impossibility, and where education is a luxury, not an obligation. This is a stark reality in many of these cultures. With your help, they are exposed to new possibilities and opportunities.

People abroad may dream of living in a country like the UK, the USA, and Canada. Now, you can share your experience, teach new skills, and support their community in impactful ways that will help to create lasting change. Build, teach, care, plant, conserve, learn. Many of us desire to have a positive impact on our world. This is your chance to do it!

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2. You Will Make Friends for Life

Volunteering abroad forms strong, lifelong bonds with your fellow volunteer cohort. You learn, laugh, and face challenges together. In the end, this is how we forge meaningful friendships. Your friends become your network during your time on the project. After volunteering abroad, you will have discover that you have found people you can rely on, no matter where they live in the world.

Volunteer work can also connect you to the dream job that decide to seek after you complete your time at the program. Local people will become trusted friends too, and who knows, you might decide you love it so much there, you want to stay on for longer or continue to support the project in some way.

3. Volunteering Abroad Gives You Real-Life Experience

We’ve all heard the expression; “in the real world”. It often comes from peers shooting down your off-the-wall ideas. The truth is, you will miss the real world, whatever that is, sitting at a desk. In fact, you’re far more likely to experience the real world while teaching a lesson on nutrition to a group of eager kids who are lapping up your every word in sheer delight at what you’re explaining to them.

Volunteering abroad opens your eyes to the many subtleties of life in the various communities and enables you to see unique and beautiful parts of our planet. You help communities with your skills and knowledge, and learn how to be self-reliant,  mature and take a huge step towards finding out who you are.

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4. Learn New Languages

Seldom will you have a better opportunity to learn a foreign language first-hand, and wrap your tongue around some exotic phrases than while volunteering abroad. You have open access to a community with whom to practise and the locals love nothing more than to help you learn, and in turn, learn English from you.

It’s a bonus that foreign language skills jump off the page on a CV and opens doors to international business work.  Perhaps you’re already learning a language? Volunteering abroad can give you the push to become fluent. Being exposed to a language all day sparks immersive learning, and is the most effective way to become fluent, fast!

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5. You Will Help Local Economies

Many countries which need volunteers have weaker economies, and some places rely on tourism for economic opportunity. But many tourists flock to international hotel chains that are all-inclusive yet insular and ordinary. By doing this, they shun local businesses in favour of luxury and convenience. If this is the real world they told us about, we’re not interested!

By volunteering abroad, you keep the economic cogs of vulnerable communities turning. Perhaps the country you visit has a shortage of teachers, and your contribution is to volunteer to teach, educate, and empower. Volunteering opportunities are vast and diverse. Find a role you can play that fits your profile, and sparks your inspiration. You might even catch your calling by trying the unexpected.

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6. Experience New Cultures

Love trying new and exotic foods? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of another continent? Volunteering abroad is the best way to have both of these experiences. When most people travel, they confine their trip to a bubble. They keep their home comforts, and they live lavishly, sticking to themselves. Volunteer work lets you escape this safe, yet limiting bubble.

Come and join vibrant local communities, make new friends, and get a genuine taste of what traveling is all about. Your volunteer work will bring positive change, and you will change and grow in turn. Volunteering abroad lets you live, love, and breathe cultures few ever will. 

7. Broaden Your Career Options

Volunteering abroad makes your CV shine and stand out in the crowd. Pair this with a foreign language, and you will need to beat recruitment away with a stick! But there’s so much more to it. Many volunteer options give you training on the job. This could be in language teaching, sustainability, conservation, construction, you name it!

You can learn skills you would struggle to gain back home. When you return home, you will have something many people miss: unique skills and practical experience (and a great sun tan!).

Volunteering abroad lets you try career options without the pressure of having to choose before you are ready. You can branch out, mix it up, and get out of your comfort zone. International volunteering opportunities open up career options you may never have thought about.

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8. Learn About the World

Volunteer work lets you live, breathe, and in some cases, help to solve world issues. You get a first-hand experience of what things are truly like out there. It will inspire you to learn more, and you may uncover an insatiable thirst for world knowledge and life experience.

Foreign policy, environmental issues, and poverty cross our TV screens each night. Yet we are (mostly) removed from them, separated, and dissociated. Volunteering abroad puts them on your doorstep and into perspective. Maybe you have a keen interest in writing? Media? Photography? Volunteer work puts you in a prime position to learn, share and hone these skills through your own lived experience. With positivity and determination, you can help communities abroad. Plus, you can spur on those at home too; enthusiasm is contagious. 

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9. You Will Have Fun with new friends for life

Volunteering abroad is an absolute blast. Trust us, it just is. The thrills, the mishaps, the social vibe, and living in the moment all become memories to savour. Regale friends with your tales for years after your volunteer work. Hey, if you love it, you could even start your own volunteer organisation down the line. But beyond simple fun, volunteering abroad truly matters. Altruism makes us feel great. It’s in our DNA. Helping without the expectation of reward, in a team, is one of the most fulfilling and heart-warming things you can do.

So what’s the hold-up? Take the leap! We hope you’re keen to get started. Volunteering abroad is one of those life events that flutter by once in an age. Seize it and soar! Whatever your skills and interests, there are volunteer opportunities for you.  A trusted, responsible volunteer program will take you far.

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For many of us, that place is the African continent. Love of travel drew our African Impact team together. From Zimbabwe, we struck out to help the communities we connected with. We went on to win Go Abroad’s Top Rated Volunteer Abroad Organization award 5 years in a row. With over 17 years of experience, you’re in safe hands with us. Our team are experienced, passionate, and committed to our development vision.

One thing is for sure, you’re going to have an adventure and a lot of fun along the way. Get in touch today!

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