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7 Reasons To Volunteer Abroad

Each year we ask us the same question “What should I do in this summer?“

We make several plans, do a lot of internet research, apply and eventually end up doing exactly the same as the summer before. This year do something different. Here are several reasons why I believe you should decide to go on a volunteering internship and have the summer of your life.

1. Exploring

Volunteering gives you a chance to explore new countries and cultures in a different way than by just travelling and sightseeing in these countries. Doing a volunteer internship shows you the country from inside out, allows you to get to know the culture, locals and their habits. You will see places and areas you would never have the possibility to go to as a tourist. Some people might have travelled the country but in doing a volunteer internship, they sometimes feel they’ve been here for the first time.

„Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.“ (Robert Frost)

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2. Connecting

Meeting many new and different people is another great aspect of volunteering. Working with young people from all over the world is a big advantage nowadays. This diversity can help you improve your soft skills and give you the opportunity to make friends across the globe. Sometimes, it’s hard to get in touch with local people as a foreigner, but as a volunteer it will be impossible not to get to know them. Another positive aspect is that for your future career, it’s important that you have the skill of adapting to different environments and work in a team with diverse people.

3. Communicating

 By communicating with people you might even soon call your friends, you’re able to improve your language skills or even learn a few words in another language. And we all know that improving language skills, especially English, is always “the yellow from the egg“.

4. Doing amazing things

 We don’t want to forget why we volunteer. Besides many positive aspects, the most important thing is that we can make a difference by helping: helping children learn English, contributing to the environment or helping the locals. For you it’s just a few weeks of exploring and helping, full of new challenges. For them it could be a life-changing interaction. Always be aware what you are able to do and change just in helping step by step.

“The world is changed by you, do something awesome!“ (Kid President)

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5. Getting to know… You

 Just dare and you will see soon that you will learn so much more about yourself than you’ve ever imagined. By volunteering you will experience so many new things and challenges. By doing so, you will truly reach and extend your limits. But in the end you will feel absolutely nothing but self-fulfilment when you look back at what you were able to do in a few weeks.

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6. Learning

After working several weeks on amazing projects and in NGO’s, you will not only improve your soft skills but also gain valuable knowledge and practical experience – for example entrepreneurial experience, which can be helpful for your personal and professional life. Volunteers don’t do it for the money; they do it for the impact.

7. Getting off the couch

Going abroad for several weeks and working there is always a challenge for oneself. You have to step outside your comfort zone and be dare, because nothing will happen if you don’t take the first step. It won’t be always easy, speaking of cultural differences and cultural shocks (be excited for our next blogpost) but you just have to break down barriers. There will always be obstacles or challenges in your life and no one can prepare you for them, but in learning how to overcome them, you will get a feeling that you’re unstoppable. So go outside, dare, challenge yourself and get the hell out of your comfort zone!

And always remember when volunteering:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind“ (Neil Armstrong)

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Thomas stepping out of his comfort zone while volunteering in Ghana

Author: Julia Wünscher

How to Save Money on Your Trip

You probably have already cancelled your dream trip several times due to lack of money; because you need to pay for the tuition fees and accommodation. Unfortunately, you don’t have money trees growing in your back yard. And once again you locked your dream in the cupboard of unfulfilled hopes. We decided to help you and make a list of tips on how to save money on the trip. Don’t hide your key too far away; you might finally open your cupboard after reading this blog.

1. Be prepared

If you want to save money on your trip, you always need to be prepared for it.

Ask your friends, who’ve been in the country you are going to, about cheap hostels, cafes and stores. They might even have friends who will be willing to host you for free.

Don’t spend money on travel guides.

We are sure you will not need it after you are done with your trip. Because you will know more about San Jose in Costa Rica or Cairo in Egypt than any travel guide author does.Go to your local library and read travel books for free, make notes or as most people do these days, just take pictures of the most interesting pages.

Create a couch surfing account.

You don’t even know how thankful all travelers for couchsurfing.org are.  One of the most useful apps for people who like to travel and make friends all over the world. Through this website you will be able to find a free accommodation and get to know the locals, who are always happy to spend time with foreign travelers and show them a city. You just need to write to a person and ask if he/she is able to show you the city and just spend a good time together. They can also give you advices on how to save money in their city and what places aremust-see.

If you are taking a plane, we suggest you to fly on the midweek day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest times, and try and avoid holiday periods. Some airlines have good deals for students, so use your age and always ask about student discounts.

 Try to choose off-peak times. Going off-season is cheaper and less crowded.

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2. Free stuff is fun!

Many things to see and do are absolutely free like catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise in Cairo (Egypt), play in the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paolo (Brazil) and swim at the Playa de las Catedralesbeach  (Spain).

Walk as much as you can walk. Get active and see things at a slower pace – walking is free.You can experience more just by wandering around a city and getting lost, talking with locals, and watching people. Explore local markets, wander and take photos, or even hike to the top of a hill for an awesome view.

3. Eat away from the tourist places.

You can just go one street or one block over and it will usually be much cheaper and more authentic!

We also would suggest you try to cook for yourself, if you have an available kitchen. You can experience new cookware, supermarkets and if your host has free time ask him/her to teach you how to cook local cuisine. We promise, it will be fun!

Try and avoid dinner because restaurants raise prices. Fancy lunches are often much less expensive than dinners.

4. Shop for souvenirs, clothes and food where the locals shop. Look for weekend markets and outlet stores.

 

5. Avoid taxis.

We understand that it much easier just to call a taxi and a driver will get you to a place you need. But it can be insanely expensive.

Use public transport where possible.  It costs you less, and is a more authentic travelling experience.

Rent a bike! Looks like this way of transportation has only advantages: cheap price, more comfortable than a bus, slightly faster pace than walking and helps you to stay in shape.

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We hope you are now ready to open your cupboard and finally let your dreams come true! Using these tips you will get out of your comfort zone and gain a new experience. Make a first step and create the memories that will make your life an endless adventure.

Happy travels!

Author: Aigerim Mambetova