Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it’s important to prepare and educate yourself before embarking on such a journey. Here are the top five things you need to know before volunteering abroad:
1. Research the organization and program thoroughly:
Before committing to a volunteer program, do your research on the organization and the program you’ll be participating in. If you are interested in joining a Service Learning Trip with MEDLIFE, it is important to look into the type of SLT that would be best suited for you. For example, if you are interested in or studying dentistry, we have Dental SLTs specifically catered to developing patient care skills and teaching of proper oral hygiene.
2. Consider the cultural differences:
It’s important to be aware of cultural differences and to respect the customs and traditions of the community you’ll be working in. Take the time to learn about the local customs, language, and cultural norms before you arrive. Being aware of cultural differences will help you to be more effective in your volunteer work and avoid misunderstandings.
3. Prepare for the physical and emotional challenges:
Volunteering abroad can be physically and emotionally demanding, so it’s important to prepare yourself. Make sure you’re physically fit and ready for the challenges of the program, and mentally prepared to work in a new environment. It’s also important to be aware of the potential emotional challenges of volunteering abroad, such as culture shock and homesickness. To get to you started, here is a list of books and documentaries for you to read and watch before joining a MEDLIFE Service Learning Trip.
4. Be aware of the costs involved:
Volunteering abroad typically costs money, so it is important to be aware of the prices involved. Look for programs that are transparent about their fees and expenses, and make sure you understand what is included in the program cost. Consider fundraising or applying for grants/scholarships to help cover the costs.
5. Have realistic expectations:
It’s important to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve as a volunteer abroad. You may not be able to solve all of the problems in the community you’re working in, but you can make a significant difference. Remember that volunteering abroad is a learning experience, and you’ll gain valuable skills and knowledge that you can apply in your career and life in the future.
If you are considering volunteering abroad, we recommend you look into what MEDLIFE has to offer. There are several types of Service Learning Trips available in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador where you can assist low-income communities in accessing quality healthcare, education, and development. Register today!