13 December 2012

If you’re thinking about taking a career break or gap year, and you are not sure yet what you want to do, why not try volunteering abroad? Here are 7 reasons to do it.

  1. It’s enjoyable. You hardly ever see this mentioned, and certainly never at the top of a list, but it’s really important! If you don’t enjoy your volunteer work, you won’t get much out of it and neither will the project you’re trying to help.
  2. You will learn loads. It’s impossible to volunteer abroad without absorbing new ideas, learning new skills and improving existing ones. You might learn anything from how to lead a team to a few words of Hmong!
  3. It looks great on your CV. It’s not enough in today’s competitive job market to just list your day job and the fact you can use a computer on your CV. Your experience volunteering abroad marks you out as someone different straight away, and help will get your CV into the ‘must interview’ pile.
  4. It will impress potential employers. Once you’ve got that interview, you can show the employer how your volunteering experience has developed your soft skills (ever more important these days). It also shows you’re the sort of person who has initiative and isn’t afraid of challenges.
  5. You’ll make lots of new friends. You’ll probably be working alongside other volunteers from different countries (including the UK), plus you’ll get to know staff in your host country and the people you’re working with. Most career breakers stay in touch with their fellow volunteers – and the project – for years afterwards.
  6. You’ll be giving something back. If you volunteer abroad you will be making a real, long-lasting difference to people’s lives. Whether you help people or the environment, you’ll know that you have had a positive impact somewhere in the world – and that feeling can last your whole life.
  7. Because you can. Very few people are lucky enough to have the time, money and opportunity to have such an incredible experience as volunteering abroad. So if you have such an opportunity, it would be a crying shame to pass it by.

Click here for a list of career break opportunities volunteering abroad.