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Volunteering Overseas – Which Program Is For Me?
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Given that volunteer programs can run from one week to two years, it’s important to choose a reputable company when volunteering abroad. The support, guidance and knowledge you’ll gain from the organisation you travel with will be irreplaceable.

Often, a more tailor-made volunteer program is needed, or some flexibility when on the program. This is where supportive staff who are knowledgeable and available to cater to individuals needs come into their own – this could be in the form of extra tuition, exhibitions or excursions or even language courses. They will be there to ensure you really make the most of your time volunteering overseas. Also, it almost goes without saying that peace of mind is important: there should be comprehensive research into the itineraries and specific programs should include safety and emergency contingencies.

Part of the reason a lot of people choose volunteering abroad programs as opposed to simply going on holiday is they want to give something back and use their spare time productively – with the many conservation and humanitarian projects this contribution can be well directed. There are six different core options when volunteering overseas and here is a quick run-down…

Volunteer Vacations

Assisting teaching and working on construction programs are a couple of good options if you want to travel to off-the-beaten track destinations for shorter periods, while still allowing you to work as part of a team and get involved in volunteering abroad project work.

Exhibitions

These take volunteers on wildlife, rainforest or marine exhibitions where you will be taken to some of the most incredible landscapes and areas on earth. There is always an opportunity to learn new skills such as conservation techniques like tracking devises on endangered animals.

Projects

This option is very specific and there’s a wide range of different volunteering abroad projects spanning the whole world. There are a variety of key projects which focus on the likes of animal husbandry, care and rehabilitation of animals and humans, conservation of animals, forests, marine life, scientific research and environmental education.

Combinations

For volunteers who are perhaps travelling for longer periods this is a great way to maximise their opportunities. How? Well, by giving them flexibility by combining locations and countries. The options range from different programs in different countries, different programs in the same country or the same project over several countries.

Family Volunteering

Family volunteering caters for all age groups, so no one gets bored. As a family when volunteering overseas you can learn about the conservation of animals – from turtles in Greece to elephants in Sri Lanka – or how other families live in other cultures.

Internships

These are focused on personal and professional development. The most common internships are conservation, international development, eco-tourism, education and environmental and marine conservation.

About the Author: Paul Collins is a travel writer and marketer who has taken part in various volunteering abroad projects, he believes if you wish to have a sabbatical and get involved with volunteering overseas do your research before you go to ensure you go on the right project for you.


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