The term “volunteering” is often associated with a ‘hard work, no pay’ set up – this could not be further from the truth. While giving is at the core of volunteering, volunteers reap benefits as well. Skills-based volunteering, also know as pro bono, brings new experiences, from learning a new language to exploring new locales. More importantly, there is a whole range of skills that can be gained from this brand of volunteering, which can significantly benefit professional development.
In fact, the Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment study indicates that acquiring skills or knowledge as a volunteer and then putting them to use “demonstrates higher levels of capacity, potentially making the volunteer more attractive to and productive for employers.” The Volunteer Impact Survey by Deloitte also indicates that 76% of human resource executives said the skills and experience acquired while volunteering makes a job candidate more desirable.
Overall, pro bono volunteering offers opportunities to expand work-related experience, develop new skills, and build a network of professional contacts. If you are in the midst of a career transition, here are some skills you can develop by volunteering abroad.
Your time as a pro bono volunteer in a foreign country, and the challenges that come with working in a new environment, can provide you with insights that will allow your leadership skills to flourish.
When working with your partner organization, you may have the opportunity to try on a managerial role or work on higher-level projects than would be accessible in the working world. You will find yourself exposed to a lot of challenges, from navigating cross-cultural communication, to working in a new environment with unique limitations and obstacles. Learning to lead under these pressures will mold you into a stronger, more confident version of yourself.
Teamwork & Relationship Skills
Volunteering your skills abroad often requires you to work with a variety of stakeholders. Most often you will find yourself working with new people from diverse backgrounds.
Working with international teams at your partner organization can sharpen your ability to build closer working relationships with people from different cultures and will help you to become an effective communicator with people from all corners of the globe. These skills are indispensable as the business world develops globally.
Building a network
Your partner organization is a great venue to meet new like-minded professionals. You can later utilize this network not only to advance professionally, but to establish lasting relationships.
Engaging in pro bono overseas lets you see things from a different perspective, specifically helping enhance your creativity and resourcefulness.
Many studies have noted drops in creativity and happiness when humans are stuck in repetitive routines.
Volunteering will get you out of your comfort zone and can inspire you to find ways to include what you are passionate about into your daily life and work.
Volunteering abroad is also a great chance for you to grow as a person. Taking time away from the pressures of the 9-to-5 and exposing yourself to unfamiliar places and situations allows you the time and space to reflect and to uncover parts of yourself that were not able to shine through in the past.
In fact, a huge chunk of people who decided to partake in volunteering cited that they were enticed by the benefit of gaining self-awareness. In today's digital world, where everybody is constantly connected to the web, emails, and phones—volunteering abroad serves as the perfect escape from this vicious cycle, giving you the change to reflect and hone your skills, while having fun and impacting change.
Life in another culture is also an experience you can only get from fully immersing yourself. The personal and global benefits of volunteering are endless.
Choose Your Partner Wisely
If you're thinking about volunteering your skills abroad, be sure to do your research and chose from sustainable, well-managed opportunities. Venture with Impact matches volunteers with carefully-sourced skills-based opportunities with local organizations. Get in touch and let us help you start your journey today.