5 ways volunteering abroad will change your outlook

This article was created for The Travel Project by Riyanka Roy , a dreamer, traveller, learner, explorer, trekker, blogger, foodie & pluviophile. Because change is constant, and stagnation is boring!

A volunteering trip abroad is a trip like no other: it can be gruelling and challenging, but it's more than worth the work. While it may seem that volunteering only makes a difference to the lives of those you work for, in reality it immensely changes your own personal outlook. Here's how...

Confidence

If I can guarantee one thing, it’s that a volunteering journey will push you further than you thought you could be pushed. In your position, you’ll be constantly exposed to new things – new friends, tastes, smells, cultures, ideals, lifestyles and much more. You’ll be surprising yourself at each step with everything new that you try for the first time. Stepping out of your cocoon of comfort will make you feel more confident and independent, and you’ll learn how to take risks when required.

Unexpected experiences

During your volunteering journey, you’ll get to experience a lot more than what you planned. It’s not just about travelling abroad to help a community or teach kids. For example, while you’ll share a lot of knowledge with the children at your volunteering destination, you’ll also learn a lot from them. You’ll learn to find joy in simple things, and you’ll realise that happiness will persist no matter what.

Reality check

One of the most important lessons that you’ll learn is to be grateful for what you have. It is a natural human tendency to take things for granted, and we often forget to express gratitude for what have. During your volunteering journey, you’ll see people who have very little and are able to live without possessions or materialistic things. You’ll realise that helping those in need evokes more happiness than buying an expensive dress. You’ll start feeling thankful for everything that has contributed to shaping your life.

Riyanka Roy volunteering with kids in school

Friendship

There’s no stronger bond than one shared over the desire to make the world a better place. Whether it’s with other international volunteers, local staff or families from the community, the friendships that a volunteering trip will bless you with are worth cherishing forever. You’ll meet like-minded people who’ll see you grow and evolve in your volunteering journey. The time, distance and spaces won’t matter with these new friends – you’ll know that these are the ones who helped you in creating one of the most beautiful chapters of your life.

 

Empathy

Perhaps you’ll commit a few weeks for volunteering abroad, but the impact it will have on your world view will last a lifetime. You’ll leave your volunteering position feeling empowered and inspired to do more good in the world. You’ll feel more empathetic towards others and compassionate in the way that you interact with people. Your choices will transform and so will your habits.

You’ll know that you alone can’t change the world, but you can surely make some difference to someone’s life. And that’s indescribably rewarding.

Have you had a travel experience that has changed your entire outlook on the world? We want to hear about it. Become a six-two community contributor, and you’ll go into the running to earn travel with Contiki. Find out more here.

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