Three reasons why volunteering abroad is great for professionals

    Article by Debbie Francis

    Debbie Francis

    Posted: February 20, 2020

    Volunteering is often associated with students undertaking a gap year or those on a career break. However, it can be a unique, exciting and rewarding way for professionals to take a holiday with a difference.

    1) You’ll experience something new


    Volunteering abroad is the perfect way to try something new. You’re able to choose from a range of programs to find one that suits your tastes and interests. Volunteering programs with GVI are community-led, so you’ll find yourself much more involved in the communities where you will work. 

    This means you’re able to see and appreciate cultural differences in a way that can be difficult to achieve through the more common approaches to travel. An experience with GVI can help to create positive change and inspire you to continue to make an impact. 

    Volunteering abroad can provide a new perspective on everyday activities. This can help support innovation and decision-making in your professional environment. For example, if you’re working on a sports program in India, a change to the available equipment, or the condition of the location can result in you having to quickly rethink the delivery of the program on that day. 

    The focus is still on the outcomes, but quick thinking and flexibility become essential to delivering those outcomes. Learning hands-on that there is more than one way to deliver success can provide confidence to your decision-making when you’re faced with setbacks in the professional environment.

    2)  You’ll develop skills


    Continued professional development is the norm for many professionals and leaders. As you develop your career, your skills and experience develop and broaden too, so new and challenging situations are less frequent. This means searching for activities that offer some new learning and skills can become more difficult over time. 

    The quality of training and work experience on a volunteer program can provide you with new skills and an alternative view to approaching tasks in the future. 

    You may find yourself taking a different approach to meetings as a result of the planning skills used in the field. It could lead to increased confidence in public speaking. GVI volunteering programs can support the development of new skills without you even realising it.

    3) Bring learning back into your organisation


    GVI volunteering programs are specifically designed to ensure that you work collaboratively when you are in-country, with partners and communities. 

    Each project has long-term, mid-term and short-term objectives and you will learn about these on your chosen program. You will also work alongside a culturally diverse group of fellow volunteers. 

    Any organisation needs to be collaborative, set goals and work with a wide variety of people to guarantee success. Working with GVI is an opportunity to see how another organisation operates. You’ll get to understand the similarities, the differences, and where there may be some learning to help your organisation improve their performance. 

    You’ll quickly gain new insights into how to approach challenges. When you return to your organisation, you’ll bring them back and put them to good use.

    If the chance to do something new, develop new skills and gain learning that can enhance your organisation’s performance while making an impact appeals to you then browse the range of programs available. 

    If you need help choosing one then set up a call with a GVI enrolment manager for a quick chat. 

    Debbie Francis is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.