Volunteers who join The Volunteer Bay programs are joining programs that run all year long. Even if you decide to join or not to join the project, these projects are always working. They are staples in the community, constantly striving to reach their goals and more than happy to utilize your time and energy to help them achieve these goals. So rather than asking me when is the best time to volunteer, I will ask you when would you like to volunteer abroad (and throw in tips if you need them).
Tips for Students
Students have to be present for the school year, so that leaves only a few months a year for volunteering abroad. They think to themselves, well, this seems a great idea after graduation. And then I ask them, “What are your plans for your summer break.”
The usual response is a blank stare. We sometimes fail to remind students that utilizing your summers is crucial. This shouldn't be just another 90 Sundays in a row where you can sleep in. Volunteering abroad for the summer can not only take you to that exotic location you've been dreaming of, but also give you the chance to utilize those skills you've been working on developing throughout the school-year.
Many universities are willing to provide credit to students for specialized volunteering experience or even recognize a volunteer placement as an internship. The best place to go, after learning more about your volunteering experience, is directly talking to your volunteer program director and to your academic advisor. This demonstrates initiative. Advisors, professors, and future employers all want people with initiative. Why not stand out from the crowd?
Tips for Recent Grads
Congratulations. You did it. Now what? Perhaps you are starting your job tomorrow, or you have a little break before your start to work, or perhaps you have no idea what you are going to do. Why not take a month, three, or even six to consider your options while volunteering in another country?
If you find yourself dabbling in the idea of joining a certain field like education, volunteering in a new environment with low resources, completely outside of your comfort zone can quickly give you a new understanding to what working in that specific field might entitle. This is the time when you are allowed and should do some serious introspective personal reflection. Why not do it at the same time while doing something meaningful?
Tips for Those Needing a Mid-Career Break
I talked to a woman yesterday who said she's due for a sabbatical before the decade ends. She likes to travel, but doesn't want to lay on a beach all day. She wants to stay busy, and thought that spending time volunteering abroad would be the rejuvenating experience she needed to gain a new perspective on life. This would be her time to refresh, take her mind of work, and while thinking about how she wants the rest of her life to go.
Tips for the Retired
After years of thinking about how you will spend your life after you retire, what did you decide? This is the time to enjoy your life, to stop worrying, and live your life exactly how you want to.
Older volunteers are just as wanted as younger volunteers. Your expertise and specialized skills can truly benefit a community abroad. Don't forget, volunteering is also great for your health! Read about all its benefits here.