THE WANDERERS GAZETTE • TRAVELLING & VOLUNTEERING
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
There you are, you finally decided to go travel and explore the world.
For a gap year, a time off during two jobs or just a long vacation, the context can be different, but the motivation remains the same : You want to travel for an undetermined amount of time in another country and discover some foreign lands and escape your bubble routine. It can be with your partner, a friend or even just with yourself and let us first congratulate you on that. That's a wonderful decision.
In the first step, you will have to find which country you want to go and for how long. But then comes the worry of What I am going to do over there ? Because travelling ain't going on holiday.
Do you want to live a different kind of experience abroad ? Maybe learn the language and connect with the locals ? Did you consider volunteering ?
What is it ?
Volunteering, beyond behind a new trendy way of travelling, is, first of all, an altruistic activity where, as an individual, you provide services for no financial or social gain. This in order to benefit another person, group or organization.
But there is an ocean of possibilities out there, volunteering itself can be divided into different categories : Social volunteering, medical volunteering, conservation volunteering, long-term volunteering... There are countless options, suitable for every kind of person.
Be aware that the visa requirements depend from a country to another, don't forget to check it out, according to your destination, the length of your stay and what kind of volunteering activity you will do.
For whom ?
↠ The students or young graduated
- Learning the language,
- Getting to meet amazing new people,
- Getting involved in a community or a nice project, where you feel like being a part of something,
- Save a lot of money while travelling,
- Add a great value on your CV.
↠ Everyone else
- Never too late to learn something, even a language,
- Open yourself to new horizons,
- Overcome your fears and open yourself to great personal achievements,
- Meet yourself, find a new balance and your inner peace through meaningful projects.
Pedro and I met in a yoga centre, Kawai Purapura, in New Zealand, back in January 2018.
We stayed there together for almost 6 months as "semi-volunteers". It means that we were partially working in exchange for accommodation (12h per week) and the rest of our working hours were paid. We were both on the reception/accommodation team and we had the most amazing time over there.
This place and experience have a special place in our hearts. Beyond that we fell in love and started our relationship there, it was also incredibly rewarding in many other ways.
First, the language. We both had a good level of English back there, but this experience made us improve our English skills considerably. All our social and professional interactions were in English, so you kind of catch on pretty good with the language.
Second, the professional experience. Talking about skills, this wasn't our first working/volunteering experience abroad, but it was the one that enriched us the most. We both developed a lot of professional skills in this yoga centre. Indeed, this experience has been a great value on our CV and when we arrived in France, it was extremely easy to find a job, especially in tourism. An experience abroad is proof of your capacity of adaptation, your ambition and determination but also your hard-working mindset. Because working abroad is way more demanding than working in your own country : You have to work twice harder as a foreign worker, this is not your comfort zone, neither your language nor your working habits... It takes time and a lot of energy to adapt.
Third, the human experience. This place was the perfect representation of a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. We made lifetime friends over there and we are still in contact with them, even though we are apart now. We even managed to meet some of them while travelling. We are so grateful of those people we met. I turned 24 in Kawai Purapura and it was an unforgettable memory. It was like spending it with a new family of mine, this place was home, away from home.
Finally, the start of our yoga pathway. Other than meeting new people and working, during our time there, we had the chance to be part of the organization of 2 big yoga festivals, to participate at many yoga and meditation workshops, to discover more about spirituality, about yoga practice... And now, the next big step of our journey is a trip to India. We will join a yoga institute for a month, in order to get our Yoga Teacher Certification.
At the end, not only this experience made us find each other, but we also found a new lifestyle through yoga, we found ourselves.
Some organisms ideas for you
↠ Workaway - We have an account ourselves on their platform and this is a great new kind of working experience, a way of travelling differently and connect globally. It allows you to save money and to enrich your skills as well. In exchange of 25 to 30 hours of work a week, you will get accommodation and many other benefits. To subscribe on their platform, you will have to pay a small fee (42 USD for a year per person, 56 USD for a year per couple).
↠ Le Service Civique - This one is for French citizens, between 16 and 25 years old. It's a volunteer commitment with an association, local authorities or public establishments, over 6 to 12 months depending on the missions. You can do it in France or abroad. There is plenty of diversified missions, categorised in 9 fields : Culture, sustainability, international development and humanitarian actions, education, health, sports, solidarity, citizenship and emergency crisis. I've done one myself, I was working remotely for a media association, helping in the creation of media platforms and content for free for young people that could not get access to proper education in France. It was an awesome experience, I wish I could do another one, unfortunately, you only have the right for one shot, choose it well.
↠ Volunteer Vacations - A Brazilian friend of ours went to Tanzania for 3 weeks with that program and she was amazed by this experience she had in a school over there. If you want to know more about it, there is a link to her Instagram : Luiza Andrade. She also shares a lot of useful tips about volunteering in general.
↠ Worldpackers - Pretty close to Workaway’s system. Click on the link if you want to discover more about it.
↠ All Hands and Hearts - It's a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization, if you want more information, click on the link up.
↠ Good Hope Volunteers - This one is an organization supporting a wide range of community and conservation projects in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Click on the link to learn more about it.
This is only a tiny list of programs proposing volunteering missions. We chose those because we know for each of them, one or few of our friends (or ourselves) that highly recommend it. Because unfortunately, this is a "trendy market" and there is a lot of organisms out there, more or less pricy, and not all of them have good intentions.
So, you must be careful in which one you get enrolled, to be sure that's for a good cause and that they are not just selling you a fake volunteering image.
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If you have some questions on this subject, we will gladly answer them and help you as much as we can. Or if you want to share your experiences, tips or infos with us, it would be wonderful as well.
Thanks a lot for your time, hoping it will give you some guidance if you are thinking of travelling and perhaps volunteering.