Thursday, 27 October 2011 2:33 PM
Going on travelling adventures presents many opportunities for holidaymakers to take part in different activities, but none are likely to be more rewarding than international volunteering.
For many people, embarking on a long excursion overseas has been their dream for a considerable amount of time, as they hope to witness some of the world's most beautiful scenery and embrace different ways of living.
One of the best ways to really appreciate the beauty of foreign lands and immerse yourself in another culture is to take part in volunteer tourism projects.
These enable you to spend between two weeks and three months in any one place, where you get involved in assisting local communities, protecting natural habitats or helping to save endangered species.
With so many different volunteer travel initiatives available, you are sure to find something that particularly interests you, whether you are an animal lover, have a passion for working with children or want to get involved in sports coaching. Not only will these projects give you a chance to do something you enjoy or want to learn more about, you will be able to do so in beautiful surroundings and knowing that your help is giving support to locals.
Indeed, there are many rewards to be had from helping others who need it most, such as seeing the results of your efforts when a house has been built, or hearing children speak English after teaching them a few words.
In addition to providing assistance to communities, you will have the opportunity to get involved with local life. This means that instead of passing through, you can embrace their different customs and traditions and immerse yourself in their culture. This is an experience you can't achieve by simply being a visiting tourist.
Furthermore, you could find that by choosing a project that appeals to you most, you are able to develop skills and an interest in the field. This could be beneficial to you later in life if you are planning to go to university, or when you return from your travels if you are on a career break.
For example, you might find that after six weeks of teaching surfing in South Africa, you want to consider pursuing a career in watersports. Or, you may enjoy teaching English to children so much, you begin to think about a career in a primary school. There are many possible outcomes to a volunteer trip abroad, and it might even result in more than just a fulfilling holiday.
If you do partake in something that changes your career direction, don't forget to tell prospective employers about your experience, as voluntary projects are something that they might be keen to hear more about. As well as showing initiative and a passion for the subject, it demonstrates that you are a good-natured individual who is willing to help others.
In addition to improving your CV, becoming an international volunteer gives you the chance to spend a lengthy amount of time abroad. This could be particularly appealing if you want to get to the heart of a different culture, or enjoy more time exploring around the area. If you'd prefer to have longer to travel around, you could opt for a short voluntary project and spend the rest of your trip heading to other destinations in the country or even further afield.
There are many options when it comes to volunteering abroad, giving travellers a lot of flexibility in how long they travel for, where they head to and what project they get involved in.
With this freedom to choose exactly what you want to do, as well as the rewarding experience you are likely to gain from helping others, it is not hard to see why more and more people are opting to partake in voluntary projects of this kind.