Have you ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer abroad? In this post we are interviewing Sam from travel blog samanthajogoes.com about what it’s like to volunteer based on her experiences.
Keep reading to learn more and hopefully get some tips and pointers to help you, should you consider volunteering.
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
“My name is Samantha and I am from a small town just a few hours south of Chicago. My first flight wasn’t until I was 21, but I’ve since gone abroad every year and love every minute of it.”
What do you like most about travel and where’s your favourite destination?
“I love being able to see how other people live. When I travel, I don’t like to spend a lot of time at the regular tourist destinations. The best part, to me, is living like a local and trying to understand and learn from another culture. My favourite is India and I’m presently on my 6th trip.”
Where have you volunteered before and what did you do?
“My favourite volunteering project was teaching English in a village in southern India. I helped students practice pronunciation and improve their confidence in speaking while also developing some great friendships.”
How easy is it to organise a volunteering opportunity and what did you have to do in preparation?
“It’s quite easy. I approached a host that I saw on workaway.info then submitted my resume per the director’s request. We emailed back and forth for about two months before I came because I wanted to make sure it was legitimate and safe as I was a female travelling solo.”
What do you think you took away from the experience?
“I learned so much from those three months. I played outside every day, had delicious new foods that I’d never heard of before, stayed up late telling ghost stories, gave a speech in front of 1000 people, and gained about 200 Facebook friends.. most of whom I’m still in regular contact with. I did go back the following year for a month to see everyone again and I’ll probably go sometime this year as well.”
How did you find your experience with Workaway?
“I think it’s a genius idea. One of the things I value most about travel, as mentioned before, is learning about a new culture by living as the locals do. By not spending $100 per day on food and fancy hotels, you really see how society is and have such a richer experience. Also you have the chance to help a charity or group and do something worthwhile that can have such a great impact. I have recommended it to all of my friends.”
Are there any other countries you’d like to volunteer in?
“I’d love to volunteer in Italy, Ireland, or Ecuador.”
What advice would you recommend to anyone thinking of volunteering?
“Don’t go into it because you want free food and accommodation, but rather with an open heart to help and to learn.”
Do you share your experience on your blog?
Comment from: Travel and Destinations/ Mike
Thank you so much for giving us an insight into volunteering Samantha. Hopefully our readers will find your answers helpful should they plan on doing the same.