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Major: International Economic Relations
Status: Workygirl

I am fond of chocolates, flowers, friends, loud music, watching movies, taking pictures and traveling!!!

Volunteering as Your Abroad Experience
Olya Bezvushko

Volunteering is a great option for a student travel experience. It is a way to explore other countries, immerse into their culture, practice the language and learn customs. It may be your education of the lifetime. It is a way to make a difference.

Volunteering is for those who is looking for really substantial experience, not just partying all over the world. Participating in a volunteer program allows you to do something important, visit interesting places and live in unusual environment. Moreover, you will have enough time to explore local sights or beer. But one thing you have to know before setting out to your trip – do not plan to change the world. You’d better think of challenging yourself every day and open your heart and mind.  

Volunteering helps to learn a lot about yourself. You will have to do things you never could even imagine you were capable of. Such experience will not change the environment too much, but it will affect you. Usually, the local people can do your job better than you, but one of the aims of volunteering is friendship sharing.  
In comparison with official paid jobs, volunteering offers more flexible schedule and different places to go.  

One more benefit of volunteer program participation is that it will influence your resume in a positive way. For an employer it will mean that you are flexible, committed and patient. Volunteering, in some cases, provides the hands-on experience. For example, if you study engineering, you can try your theoretical skills by building houses in Mexico and if you are a marine biology student, go to some Caribbean Islands to monitor the local turtles.

Those who have decided to become volunteers should sincerely respect the host culture and people.
What to expect? Do you know that in the majority of cases international volunteer programs are held in developing countries? So, it is better to make a research before you will decide to go. If you are sure that staying in developing country is not for you, still there will be plenty of suitable options for you.

One of the problems you may face while being abroad is the host culture. Sometimes, it may completely confound your sense of logic or your justice views. Anyhow, remember that you are the visitor and that one volunteer is not able to change the traditions which were formed during centuries. Before you go, look deep inside yourself and find out either you can stand local rules. 

There is a huge variety of volunteer projects and works, but in general they can be of 4 kinds:
     1. Eco-environmental work
     2. Education or teacher positions
     3. Community development
     4. Improving of social welfare

Volunteering internationally is really a study abroad experience. You will be a student every minute, every day, while staying abroad.

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