Volunteering while studying abroad can be a great way to enhance your experience. Sometimes, caught in the chaos of adapting to a new environment, volunteering is not the first thing that comes to mind when moving to a new country to study. However, as you will see from this article, it provides a host of benefits that will serve to improve both your studying abroad experience as well as life in general.
Let us start, then!
One of the best reasons to volunteer while studying abroad is that it allows you to give back to the community in which you are staying. This can foster a deeper bond with both the location and people around you, which is great at remedying feelings of homesickness. Not only that, but you will gain a greater appreciation for work done out of a desire to help others rather than strictly being motivated by profit or academic success. This will make you an overall kinder and more balanced human being, which ties into the next benefit.
Guess what? Odds are, you will not be the only person volunteering in your area. Therefore, one of the biggest benefits of volunteering while studying abroad is being surrounded by potential friends. Making friends is one of the most important things any international student can do to help themselves feel more like they belong in their new home. Working on something together for no other reason than to help and give back to the community is an amazing way to bond with others and create lasting relationships that stand the test of time.
According to the American Psychological Society, stress is quite common among young individuals, particularly teenagers. Prolonged stress can lead to more serious mental difficulties like anxiety and depression, as well as physical problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. Volunteering has been shown in studies to boost mental health by allowing us to use our time more meaningfully. Therefore, volunteering seems to benefit both our physical and mental health and, as such, should be seriously considered. What sounds better, after all, staying at home doing nothing or meeting new friends and helping others?
It is not often that most people get the opportunity to spend some time in another country. If you spend your days only attending courses, studying, and hanging out with classmates because you are afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone, you are missing out on one of the most important benefits of volunteering while studying abroad. Volunteering teaches you more than you realize; you will learn more about living in this country, form significant bonds with locals, and get fresh insights. Not to add that you can congratulate yourself for helping others!
One of the numerous benefits of volunteering is that you can learn a variety of new skills. This might range from basic skills like cooking and cleaning to learning a new language or building techniques. More importantly, you will acquire many important soft skills such as the ability to work well with others and communicate in a cooperative yet assertive way, which are both important to know in life. As you will see below, real-world experience gained through a few hours of volunteering every week can have significant long-term benefits for you.
Although not as much as interning, volunteering can certainly improve your chances of finding quality work after university. Employers like to hire candidates who have previously spent time volunteering. Because volunteering is something you choose to do, it conveys to your potential employer the idea that you are hardworking and dedicated to your cause. If the job you are applying for is similar to the volunteer group you worked for, you will appear more qualified. Volunteering can also lead to full-time employment with volunteer organizations. After all, they require personnel in a variety of tasks behind the scenes.
Many people claim that their college years were among the most enjoyable when they take their entire lives into account. One of the most important benefits of volunteering while studying abroad is that it can make these years more special for you. Not only will you meet people who might become close friends, but you will feel like you are working towards a greater goal. Building memories of this kind can have a positive impact on our later lives and even old age, both in the form of life experience but also as a constant reminder of our value to the world.
This obviously depends on what kind of volunteering you do, but building up physical fitness is another great side effect of many activities you can expect to be participating in. It is in youth that we set the foundations of our future health. Therefore, moving around more and using our bodies can help stave off both chronic and acute diseases that are responsible for a lot of issues people face in life. It does not have to be anything much, either. Simple things like walking or tending to a garden work just fine.
Intrinsic motivation is the most valuable kind of motivation. Sometimes we simply have to do things to meet a deadline or pass a test. If we are working, we need to earn money to survive. However, one of the benefits of volunteering while studying abroad is that it teaches us how to motivate ourselves to do things purely out of a desire to do them. This builds up our ability to be more active both in terms of keeping up with lesser obligations as well as retaining long-term hobbies.
In our modern world, it can be difficult to find a deeper meaning in life. All too often our days can feel empty and dull. By offering your services for the sake of bettering the community you are living in, you can infuse your life with a deeper purpose. If we expand our horizons beyond just our personal needs and begin doing whatever we can to preserve the planet and help other human beings in need, then it is inevitable that our activities will take on a new life and light.
After reading about all of these amazing benefits, you are probably quite keen on making the most out of your studying abroad experience and finding somewhere to volunteer. During this process, make sure to find something that you truly enjoy and connect with. Do not simply volunteer for the sake of volunteering. These incredible benefits depend on you doing something that you love or, at the very least like. At any rate, we hope that your volunteering journey will be filled with great times and new friendships. We remain here for you to help with any other topics related to studying abroad.
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