Volunteering is an experience that can enjoyable for people from all walks of life, but everyone is different – we all have different skills and we all have different likes and dislikes, so before writing that cheque, make sure that you are choosing the right programme for YOU!
1. Know your limits
There are a huge variety of volunteering opportunities in countries all over the world. Some projects abroad are based in developed areas with all amenities available and some projects are based in the middle of the rainforest where you will be collecting your own water and using a pit toilet! Trekking through the rainforest with no access to modern amenities is not for the faint-hearted – if you know that you are not physically (or emotionally) capable of this then go for a volunteer programme that is more comfortable for you.
2. Know your strengths
Many volunteer organisations are open to anyone and do not require you to have specific qualifications; however this doesn’t mean to say that you shouldn’t choose a programme that is in line with your strengths and skills. Even if you don’t have formal qualifications, we all know what we are good at and what we are not good at. If you know you are good with children but suck at hard labour then bypass that building project and go for the youth development one! In the end, the more you feel you can contribute the more you will get out of your volunteer experience abroad; and the more the project will benefit from your assistance.
3. Do your research
If you don’t know what you are in for then chances are you are not going to end up with the right experience for you!Make sure you are fully informed about the following points (at the very least):
-What are the objectives of the project?
-What will your role be in the project?
-What is the comfort level of the project/accommodation?
-What amenities are available in the area?
-What additional activities are available?
We think everyone should volunteer at least once in their lives, but make sure you do it right! EDGE of AFRICA, volunteering done right!