A number of students choose to take advantage of their gap year to pursue volunteering opportunities abroad. Those who choose this path typically come back home with positive experiences to share, and a changed perspective on the world. In some cases, volunteering abroad can have a direct impact on a student’s future career path. Of course, one doesn’t need to go overseas to volunteer their time. From tutoring in after-school programs to pursuing a professional position as a community service worker, there are thousands of organizations in Canada that accept help with open arms. Here are a few of the ways in which volunteering can impact and add to your life.
Expand Your Network
Volunteering is a great way to expand your social circle and meet new friends, either in your hometown community or halfway across the world. If you’ve recently gone back to school and are anxious to meet new friends, volunteering on campus or through a student organization is a fantastic way to meet likeminded people. And when it comes to humanitarian projects overseas, the international contacts you make abroad will surely expand your worldview while providing potentially useful links for future travels.
Advance Your Career
There are so many ways in which volunteering can help your career. If you have graduated from a community services worker school and choose to volunteer in a foreign country, you’ll have the chance to pick up language skills which can place you in higher professional demand back home. And volunteering locally, at a community homeless shelter for example, can help you become an expert in skills like crisis counselling and emergency response – experience that may prove invaluable when applying for a paid position. Lastly, volunteering will give you plenty of networking opportunities – chances to prove your skills and make useful contacts who may later be called upon for a letter of reference. Statistics show that 73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteer experience over a candidate who had none.
Improve Yourself While Helping Others
There have been several reports showing that the act of volunteering can alleviate depression that stems from social isolation. Volunteering can also help bolster self-confidence while providing the personal satisfaction of knowing that your actions are generating a lasting and positive impact. For someone who may not already be active in a community, volunteering is an excellent way to learn about issues like adult literacy and animal welfare—awareness which can be shared with friends and family. If you’ve received healthcare aide training, you can leverage your education by volunteering with an organization that supports communities battling disease. No matter which path you pursue, volunteering offers the chance to surprise yourself with hidden abilities, develop new skills, and inspire those around you.