Deciding to study abroad does not mean you’re simply going to travel overseas to study another language. It’s a dynamic experience that includes studying, traveling and it can even involve volunteering to fortify your trip.
Volunteering offers the vital help people need and the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer.
Instead of sitting in your room when you’re not studying at your new school, pick an organization, company or group that you believe in and volunteer your time.
In this blog post, we’ll share with you 4 worthwhile reasons why you should volunteer while you’re in a new country. It will enhance your experience abroad… trust us!
Gain alternative perspectives from newfound friends
It’s easy to feel homesick in a country where you don’t know anyone. You can close yourself off to your dorm room and continue messaging your friends from back home or you can volunteer your time and meet new people and gain new perspectives.
The friends you meet abroad volunteering will be new travel buddies for you, support systems if you’re feeling homesick and maybe even life long friends.
Depending on what organization you decide to volunteer for, your opinions may be challenged and widened. You may even be able share your knowledge and become a mentor or educator for one of your volunteer friends of someone you’re volunteering for.
This means that not only will you be growing your academic skills in class, but you’ll be broadening your life skills after school. This is invaluable for a student like yourself.
Volunteering opens your eyes up to cultural differences in a local setting. It allows your mind to expand and for you to grow within yourself.
Practicing your new language makes perfect
You’re in a new country for a reason… to learn the language. What better way than to practice it while volunteering with locals?
Let me break it down for you. If your school friends speak English outside of class, you’re most likely going to speak English with them. Volunteering gives you the ability to practice Mandarin in context, with locals!
When you decide to volunteer abroad, you’re putting yourself in the situation to test your new language skills. People are normally very appreciative of your commitment to language-learning and will help you along the way if you ask.
Being able to speak Mandarin (your new language) with the people you volunteer with will mean you’re learning the “local” Mandarin. The extra time you spend learning and practicing your secondary language, the better you’re going to get. Your Mandarin teacher will notice your improved skills.
Your mental health will improve
Learning a new language is hard work. It’s a lot of fulfilling hours in the classroom, honing your Mandarin skills, practicing the language with your classmates or perfecting your speech with your one-on-one instructor.
Volunteering in your off-time will allow for growth outside of the classroom. While you’re still going to be perfecting your language skills, your main focus will be helping the ones you’re volunteering for.
Interacting with new people and helping the community is going to add remarkable value to your life. There is no substitute for the fulfillment you will receive from helping others, especially those living in parts of the world you may have never visited before.
When you contribute to the community it will contribute to you.
Add value to your career and C.V.
Volunteering allows you to try different organizations, roles, and business industries, on for size. Although volunteering isn’t the same thing as being on staff, it will allow you to see what you may like to do for a job once you finish your education. Not to mention, volunteering allows you to experience the career world without having to commit to something full time or long-term at the current moment.
In addition to learning what type of career may be of interest to you, you will also learn new and transferable skills that will benefit your career.
After studying abroad, learning new skills and volunteering in your spare time, it’s time to create your C.V.
When employers see a C.V. with study abroad experience on it, they are more likely to be interested in the applicant. This is because studying abroad grows your professional development, deepens your passion for learning and shows employers that you’re interested continued growth. Not to mention that studying abroad teaching you leadership skills, opens your mind to greater innovation and teaches you a new degree of maturity.
It’s time to go abroad to study (and volunteer)
Okay, enough talking, we can feel you itching to close this tab and click open a travel company’s website. You’re ready to study abroad and you’re ready to volunteer while you’re away.
It’s a win win situation!
Before you click open the travel company’s website, why don’t you do some research about your dream school abroad? What type of courses do they offer? Do they offer a volunteering option?
Keats School in Kunming, China offers a “Chinese Language Course + Volunteer in China” study option. The course includes intensive one-on-one Chinese lessons and a chance to help others and explore the culture.