So you have just returned home from your incredible and life changing volunteering project. Wether you spent a week abroad or a month, you will come home feeling different, you will now see the world through a whole new perspective.
So what happens when you get home? Well besides planning your next volunteer experience, these are 9 things you should do when returning from volunteering abroad.
1. Stay connected
If you haven’t already done so, add the friends you met on social media accounts, besides keeping and blossoming a friendship, you may also have a place to stay if you ever end up visiting their hometown.
2. Write a review
Write an honest review about what you enjoyed, what you didn’t like and what you think could change. You are doing a service to the prospective volunteers by doing so. If you have a blog, this is the perfect place to start, if not head to the organisation (that you booked through) prominent pages.
If there was something you feel that should be discussed prior to writing your review, bring it up with the organisation first before putting out for the world to see. Also if you failed to raise a concern and instead bottled up your feelings before trying to resolve things maybe not write a review until you do so first.
3. Tell others
Share your stories, this can be as simple as a paragraph attached to your Instagram post or a YouTube video rounding up your experience. The more who know, the more will volunteer and the best part is you can tell others how you see best fit, ether it be from a photo diary to just a chat over coffee.
4. Open up
Open yourself up to being contacted – let the organisation you booked through know that you are happy to answer a few questions for potential volunteers – you don’t know how much this means to those who are unsure. Let them know your boundaries and if you are happy to provide a Skype or email address.
5. Stay informed
Keep up to date with the project by following along on their Facebook page or by direct contact with the volunteer coordinators. Follow up on the projects long term goals – did they complete that larger enclosure for the monkeys you never saw get completed?
6. Keep supporting
Support the project through donations. If you can’t afford to return, don’t worry small donations make a large difference over time.
7. Go somewhere new
We personally think that there is so much more to see of the world that we would rather see new grounds than retread old steps. You may have an urge to return to your comfort zone – we implore you go somewhere new and experience a new project/country.
8. Support locally
You don’t have to go abroad to volunteer. Why not find a local organisation in your community and join their efforts to make a difference. Yes it is incredible to say you worked with cheetahs in Africa, but your local food kitchen is also making a difference.
9. Change yourself
That two weeks volunteering abroad is a small difference in time when compared to a lifetime of making a change. Buying that smoothie from a large corporation will satisfy you at the time of consumption, but what about the ramifications it places on the country who’s workers picked the fruits? If you can change your lifestyle, you will make a difference in this world.
If you have any questions about volunteering, leave them below.