1. You get to work up close with some exotic animals. Most of us only get to see elephants once in the zoo, and then they look pretty sad. Working with elephants and other animals abroad in a sanctuary or shelter allows you to get to see exotic creatures in their natural setting exhibiting natural behavior. And then you can get up close (when permissible) and see once and for all that elephants are not bald, but rather sparsely, coarsely haired.
2. Sometimes working with animals is so much better than with people. Admit it- sometimes dealing with a dog who refuses to give you its paw is so much easier than dealing with a co-worker who waits to complete the very small task they have to do till the end of the day causing you to stay late at the office. You never have to fear participating in any of the office gossip with the sea turtle you're helping. There's no doubt that just like people animals can be assholes, but the chance of you going home and crying about how you were being treated by an animal compared to your human co-worker are about next to nil.
3. Check off a thing on your bucket list. Animal lovers dream about going on an African safari, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, and seeing grizzly bears feast on salmon. Sometimes, though, we forget about the world of volunteering with animals abroad. Not only do we get a super hands-on approach to caring for these brilliant creatures, but we also get to connect with nature in a very personal way.
4. Meet the new you. Working with animals tests you. Natural instincts, knowledge on animal behavior, and intuition are required. Many time you see awkward people excel at working with animals. Either way, you'll be surprised and enlightened about how much you learned on the way with working with animals and how much natural instinct you already possessed.
5. Warm Fuzzy Feelings. Puppy kisses. Kitty purrs. Enough said.
6. Meet like-minded people. Are your friends sick of hearing your constant talk about your love of bats? Does your boyfriend not want to see anymore cute pictures of baby animals from your phone? Well, the people who volunteer on these projects share a deep love and passion just like you. You can talk for hours on end about how the Titi monkey jumped on your shoulder when you were leaving it some food. Someone else might actually care about the plight of lemurs in Madagascar. Poaching is a real issue. These are places where you can connect with people, who just like you, care about the animal world.
Check out 4 volunteer programs that work with animals abroad.