Not only is volunteering abroad an exciting way to give back to others while experience a new culture, it can also help to develop your professional skills and enhance your career. Venture with Impact, a startup that arranges accommodation, workspace and volunteer experiences for diverse groups of remote professionals explains how you can have your cake (work/life balance) and eat it too!
The professional skills to be gained and lessons to be learned from volunteering abroad are quite literally endless, but for the sake of time, I present my top 5:
EXPAND YOUR SKILL SET
Whether you’re looking to dive deeper into an area of expertise or explore new skills, volunteering abroad is the perfect way to do so. International programs such as Venture With Impact offer skill-based opportunities that match your know-how with non-profit partners looking for assistance. The wild world of volunteering abroad is ever changing and everyday is a chance to stretch your experience. Past volunteers often find that the skills they gain help them become more confident and adaptable in their career.
PROMOTE INNOVATIVE THINKING
We have a tendency to get set in our ways in our careers, repeating the same patterns for better or worse. Although this style of work is convenient, it doesn’t always allow you to open your eyes to new and innovative ideas. Volunteering abroad however, is inventive and adventurous to its core. This unique experience lets you step outside of your comfort zone towards new cultures, people and roles. This revamp in your routine is an excellent way for you to become a more innovative and creative thinker.
REFOCUS OR REDIRECT YOUR GOALS
It’s harder said than done but our careers should not only be a means to pay the bills but also align with our personal interests and ambitions. This balance is important not only for our effectiveness but our happiness at work and that’s where volunteering abroad comes in. Venture With Impact’s mission is based on exploring this balance and can help you rediscover what’s most important to you both professionally and personally. Many volunteers find that the experience rejuvenates their career path and is a deeply impactful way to refocus or even redirect their goals no matter how big or small.
ENHANCE YOUR NETWORK
There’s a lot more to professional networking that LinkedIn connections and perfecting your elevator pitch. One of the most affective ways to enhance your network is by building wholehearted connections with others. What better way to do that then by volunteering abroad with other like-minded people?! Programs such as Venture With Impact connect intrepid professionals with the shared goal of working and traveling with purpose. Compared to awkward work-life networking events, volunteering abroad is a refreshing way to connect with others and share what matters to you.
STRENGTHEN YOUR GLOBAL INSIGHT
Now more than ever, having worldly experience and understanding is a highly valuable skill in the professional world. As our modern day workforce becomes increasingly multicultural, having an informed view of the world is an invaluable skill to possess. Volunteering abroad is one of the most direct and impactful ways to not only experience a new culture but also connect to individuals and causes that you would have never known back home. Community based programs such as Venture With Impact's allow you to go beyond the tourist trail, connecting you to the real people and cultures of Peru and Columbia.
So get out there! Allow yourself the time to really get to know your world and yourself. Share your skills to create a lasting impact for others and in turn you’ll be surprised how beneficial the experience is towards boosting your career (and your happiness, and that of others!)