The Long-Term Effects of International Volunteering

International volunteering is a transformative experience that not only benefits the communities being served but also leaves a lasting positive impact on the volunteers themselves. Beyond the immediate assistance provided, this endeavor has the power to create a ripple effect that resonates far beyond the confines of its original intent. These are just a few of the positive long-term effects of volunteering internationally for both volunteers and community members:

Personal Growth and Development

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone to contribute to communities in need can lead to tremendous personal growth. Volunteers often face scenarios that push them to develop new skills, improve adaptability, and build resilience. Overcoming these obstacles fosters a sense of achievement and self-confidence that lasts a lifetime. This kind of personal development positively impacts how volunteers approach their careers, relationships, and future endeavors.

Enhanced Interpersonal Skills

Working alongside fellow volunteers and local community members hones interpersonal skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership. These skills, acquired and honed during international volunteering experiences, carry over to various aspects of life, including professional collaborations and social interactions.

Infrastructure and Resource Development

Volunteers may get to help construct infrastructure or develop resources that benefit the community, such as schools, healthcare facilities, clean water sources, or agricultural projects. These development projects can have lasting positive effects on the community’s quality of life.

Increased Empathy and Social Awareness

Witnessing the challenges faced by underserved communities fosters a deep sense of empathy and social awareness in volunteers. This newfound empathy can inspire lifelong commitments to social causes and philanthropic efforts. By actively contributing to positive change, volunteers can continue to impact the world long after their initial volunteer trip.

Economic Impact

International volunteers often spend money within the local economy, contributing to local businesses and services. This injection of funds can have a positive economic impact on the community, creating job opportunities and supporting small businesses.

Catalyst for Future Generations

The positive effects of volunteering abroad are often passed down to future generations. Individuals inspired by the stories and experiences of volunteers are more likely to consider similar opportunities. This perpetuates a cycle of positive change, allowing the impact to continue to expand over time.

International volunteering is not just a short-term act of kindness; it’s a catalyst for profound and enduring change. Beyond the immediate assistance rendered to communities in need, volunteers gain personal growth, cultural understanding, and a global perspective that significantly enrich their lives. These experiences also create a ripple effect that influences relationships, careers, and future endeavors, all contributing to a more interconnected and compassionate world.

If you are interested in volunteering abroad on a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip fill out the form below to get more information:


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.