College is a time when millennials are told that they are supposed to find themselves or a deeper purpose in life. For many young people, it can be a harrowing task to discover the “real world, ” especially when the real world isn’t much more than campus and home. But what if you volunteered abroad while in college to broaden your perspective and prepare yourself for the future?
If you’re a millennial in college and panicking that you’ll be thrown into the real world too abruptly, a short-term volunteer program abroad may be the perfect solution to help you acquire a deeper global understanding. Consider these real-world advantages of volunteering abroad:
1. Productive use of free time
Volunteering abroad is a great way to spend spring break, summer vacation, or J-term instead of sitting on a couch, binge-watching Netflix. You could be having the time of your life and making unforgettable memories rather than ordering pizza for an entire week. Teach English to peers in Monopoli, Italy. Care for mothers and infants on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Or glaze pottery in rural Cuba.
2. Lifelong friendships
Many lifelong friendships are made in college. Why constrain your relationships with campus? Bring your friends on a volunteer adventure with you, and take advantage of Global Volunteers’ Companion Discount by referring them to your program.
But, even if you travel solo, you won’t leave the program that way. Between bonding with your volunteer teammates and serving the local people, odds are you’ll make lifelong friends on this journey. It’s not uncommon for volunteers to return to the same community every few years because of the relationships formed.
3. Workplace advantage
It can give you an edge in the workforce. Volunteering is attractive on resumes and can even be the deciding factor between two otherwise identical applicants. Two people with the same work experience, same degree, and same age are likely to have a similar chance of getting hired. But a person with volunteer experience, especially abroad experience, has an advantage. They have a deeper cultural and worldly understanding.
Serving and exploring a new country is an experience of a lifetime. The people you meet and the lives you touch (and vice versa) will be with you forever. Global Volunteers has engaged over 33, 000 volunteers in the past 32 years, and nearly 40% of team members return on another Global Volunteers program.
5. The warm and welcoming community
Global Volunteers offers safe and secure lodging and three meals a day. When you’re not volunteering, you have ample free time to participate in local activities and enjoy cultural attractions in the area. While Global Volunteers’ non-profit status prohibits us from planning your free time activities, our local staff can provide general guidance and advice – sharing a list of activities explored and enjoyed by previous volunteers.
You can learn more from previous student volunteers on Global Volunteers programs worldwide. Start with these selected blog posts, written by volunteers in the field:
- Journal entry from a Cuba volunteer: “What does a day of service-learning in Cuba look like?”
- Reflections from an Ecuador volunteer: “A Life-changing Volunteer Experience”
- Reflections from a Tanzania volunteer: “I absolutely fell in love with Tanzania…
Read more here about volunteering abroad in college, student discounts, how to fundraise your program fee and travel costs. Or, click on the button below to chat with a Volunteer Coordinator.