Volunteer Abroad: How to Prepare For Your Trip
Before you start packing your bags, you must prepare yourself for what lies ahead on this exciting journey overseas! Here are a few things that may come in handy during your trip abroad:
- Volunteer Abroad: Language Tips
- Learn a few basic phrases and words in the native language. This will come in handy!
- Make sure you look up how to say “thank you” or “please” as this can go a long way for locals to show appreciation for your efforts.
You may even want to invest time learning some more complex sentences such as, “I would like to visit the market today, but I don’t know where it is located,” if that applies to your particular trip abroad!
- Take a Map
- A map is essential to help you get around and make friends along the way, especially if you are traveling alone. Make sure that wherever possible, always have one handy with directions on where everything important is located in your area or neighborhood, such as shopping malls, hospitals, etcetera, so that they can be easily found should anything happen while out exploring nearby sights. The Maximo Nivel volunteer abroad programs include pre-departure materials and a vast amount of on-site support.
- If there are any major tourist attractions within walking distance from where will stay during the volunteering abroad project, then take note of these too because it’s nice to go sightseeing when time permits – this could include visiting historical monuments like temples which may offer free entry for people who volunteer their services overseas (this varies depending).
- Learn About the Local Culture
- Do some research about where you are going and what to expect when there so that your experience will be more enjoyable! For example, if a country has many festivals throughout the year like Thailand or India, then make a foolproof plan accordingly by participating in those that interest most. If not possible due to work commitments, then try to find out which ones coincide with trip dates ahead of time so know what clothes need to be packed along and ensure appropriate attire is worn while at the volunteer site itself (e.g., dress code).
- It’s also a good idea to read up on customs before traveling overseas because these differ greatly from place to place – for instance, it might be common practice to shake hands when greeting someone but kissing cheeks could be considered quite intimate in some countries so be mindful of such things.
Tip: Consider bringing a small gift from your home country to give as a gesture when meeting someone for the first time – this could be something like postcards, sweets, ornaments, etcetera that will help start a conversation too!
- Get Vaccinated
- Make sure you are up-to-date with all your vaccinations and carry a copy of your vaccination record with you while traveling just in case you need it. Some vaccines may take weeks or even months to become effective, so plan!
- If there is any chance you will be doing any outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, etcetera, consider getting vaccinated against malaria too, as this nasty mosquito-borne disease is present in many countries throughout the world where volunteer opportunities exist.\