Volunteering for All the Right Reasons

Volunteers not only help others but are often the beneficiaries of their ‘altruism’

Volunteering abroad isn’t just good for the soul and a great way to add stamps to a passport, it’s also a boon to a resume. It allows people to develop new skills, broaden their horizons, build their networks, and get valuable work experience—all of which make them more attractive to employers and college recruiters.

According to a LinkedIn survey, 20% of hiring managers in the U.S. say that they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience, and 41% of LinkedIn hiring managers consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work experience when recruiting. The survey also revealed that unemployed people who volunteer are 27% more likely to be hired than people who do not volunteer.

Last year, a TIME article (“Here’s What Rich CEOs Say to Do in Your 20s”) showed that most CEOs valued the personal and professional benefits of travel, viewing them as keys to success. Facing unexpected situations, being truly independent, and coping in a foreign context are all skills that guarantee success in any workplace or career.

“Combining this with volunteering can also give you a wealth of abilities and experiences to a add to your CV, setting you apart from others who may have followed the traditional school-university-work route. For me, appearing on live Bolivian television and radio while being interviewed in Spanish is just one of many perfect examples that could be used in a future job interview. This illustrates how brilliant my time spent volunteering has made me at thinking on my feet and embracing moments outside of my comfort zone,” explains Steph Dyson in her blog, Worldly Adventurer.

This is not to say that all volunteer work catches the eye of employers and college recruiters. They are looking for commitment and passion, not a few hours here or there or a week in the sun. Prospective educators are lucky to have so many relevant opportunities teaching overseas through a number of reputable organizations. Latin America offers many inviting and exciting places to serve and even gain valuable experience teaching English.  Mexico and Central America are inviting, culturally rich places to volunteer. Due to the tourism industry and economic globalization, there is a demand for volunteers to teach English. Throughout Latin America, vibrant nonprofit and faith-based communities provide a wide range of opportunities to work with young people in schools, orphanages, afterschool programs, and cultural centers.

Organizations

WorldTeach

WorldTeach partners with governments and other organizations in developing countries to provide volunteer teachers to meet local needs and promote responsible global citizenship. They are currently recruiting for an exciting program in Ecuador.

The WorldTeach mission is twofold. The first part concerns the impact on the students and on the schools. They care very much that volunteers are effective teachers in the classroom and that the students are engaged and learning, no matter the level of prior teaching experience of the volunteers entering the program. With comprehensive training during orientation and the Teacher Quality Program support provided over the course of service, they hope to set up every volunteer for success as a teacher while serving with WorldTeach. In addition, they’ve developed supplemental teaching manuals for many programs so that volunteers can run the student-centered classrooms that foster the skills our partners expect. The second part concerns the impact on volunteers. With over 7,000 past WorldTeach volunteers who have made an impact internationally and over twelve million hours of service provided, they hope that an even greater impact can be felt as these volunteers return home, hopefully with a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of international issues and a firmer membership in the international community. Many of their alumni have shown leadership in areas stemming from their experiences as WorldTeach volunteers: in academic careers in international development or international studies, in educational and volunteer organizations, as teachers and school administrators, and in business and multinational companies. Several have become leaders in the U.S. Congress, and one has served as a U.S. ambassador.

Cross-Cultural 

Solutions

With over 21 years of experience in the field of international volunteering, Cross-Cultural Solutions excels in immersive experiences for high school students abroad. What makes CCS unique is the organization’s focused programming and sustainable long-term partnerships with local communities.

CCS connects teacher-led high school groups, formally known as “squads abroad” with local youth organizations to improve the health and educational outcomes in Costa Rica, Peru, and Guatemala. Squads are offered in four areas, including global education, global health, global technology, and sports leadership. Each group defines a focus area and community service project prior to promoting the trip.

Global education squads allow students to volunteer in a school, orphanage, or after-school program providing hands-on tutoring and instruction in language and literacy while also completing a small construction project. A squad might choose to furnish a school library with shelves, chairs, tables, and donated books.
Volunteers make a low individual program contribution ($990 per week) to cover all their in-country expenses and then work as a group to fundraise towards a group project contribution.  Individual program contributions are free for required teachers traveling with the squad.

Raleigh International 

Raleigh International runs two programs, Expedition and International Citizen Service (ICS), to help the 1.8 billion young people in the world today realize their potential. They work to change that the most important resource the world has is often undervalued, underestimated, and expected to underachieve. Raleigh has over 30 years of experience of tapping into young people’s potential to inspire and empower them.

The Expedition program is currently delivered in Malaysian Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Nepal, and Tanzania, and the ICS is funded by the UK government to bring together young people to make a difference in some of the poorest communities in the world. ICS is delivered in Nepal, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.

Raleigh strives for equal participation in all its volunteer programs, so teams comprise volunteers from the country where the program is taking place as well as volunteers from around the world. Through the Youth Partnership, they try to ensure that young people from all walks of life can access the opportunity to work on a Raleigh program, particularly those from low-income households and disadvantaged young people.

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