Smart Travel Tips for Those Volunteering OverseasHere are a few smart tips if you are traveling overseas as a volunteer. If you’ve researched and planned for your trip then it’s more likely to be a success. And if things do wrong, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it.

Traveling overseas is now ingrained as a part of our lifestyle and culture. The big wide world is at our fingertips and ready to be explored. More destinations are opening up for travel and a gap year continues to be an essential step towards adulthood for many young people.

Gap years have moved on from simply being one big long holiday. Today’s young travelers want more out of their trip. Volunteer work abroad can be a great addition to a CV (resume) as well as providing a good educational, social and practical experience that will prepare you for the future.

If you do decide to do volunteer work overseas then you will need to do your research to ensure you get the most out of your trip.

When to Do Your Gap Year Volunteering
For most young people this will come down to a choice between taking a gap year before or after college. Some teenagers will feel that a gap year might help them decide what course of study to undertake, while for others a gap year might be a way of getting relevant work experience after their course has finished as well as a break before starting their working lives.

It is also possible, of course, to volunteer overseas during the summer break if you are studying.

Planning Your Overseas Volunteering Work
Gap-year volunteering can undoubtedly be useful when it comes to your career development so it’s a good idea to choose a trip that’s relevant to your study or career choice. Conservation and wildlife projects are ideal for anyone looking to specialize in these areas while a community project might be helpful if you are interested in development or education work.

If you want to become a teacher then there are various specialist teaching opportunities. In addition to volunteering, it’s also possible to get paid work as a teacher overseas.

volunteer-work-overseasHow to Prepare for Your Trip
For some young travelers, this might be their first time away from home for an extended period. While some trips can last just two weeks, others are much longer and some can be up to a year. It’s important to be prepared practically as well as emotionally for what can be a challenging time.

Depending on the volunteering work that you choose, you may be some distance from home and living and working in conditions that put you well out of your comfort zone.

Talk to other people who have been on similar trips and don’t be afraid to put plenty of questions to the organizers. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be.

You might want to consider traveling with a friend, though the chances are that you will meet lots of lovely like-minded people on your trip.

Practical Advice
There is a lot to do practically before you travel. You need to make sure that you have all the correct immunizations and that they are up to date. Also take out insurance so you are covered if there is an emergency.

It may be helpful to research the country you are going to as well as the area of work you are going to do to so you have a baseline of knowledge before you arrive.

This might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so consider combining your volunteering work with some independent travel afterwards.

Shannen did volunteer work overseas herself after studying. She’s now a journalist who often writes about gap-year travel and volunteering as well as walking holidays in Europe.

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