While developing countries may have the greatest need for volunteers, volunteering gap year work is available in all corners of the world. We list a wide variety of different types of volunteer work, including community development, teaching, ecological conservation, marine management, sports coaching, research, working with children, working with animals, and much more.
Often the voluntary work you will undertake will have a huge benefit to the local environment or community, lending a much needed hand, and genuinely inspiring others by example. But there is no harm in thinking about the benefits for you personally. So why should you volunteer?
- You will get the opportunity to meet new people, often from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Working with a diverse group of people will help develop your team work skills and give you new knowledge - this may include new skills and undiscovered talents that you did not previously know you possessed.
- You will also develop excellent time management skills as most volunteering projects are not as strictly controlled as "nine until five" paid work. Though thorough training and support is usually available.
- You will be able to build your personal skills. Working with and talking to your fellow volunteers will aid your communication skills and your overall confidence will receive a boost.
- The work experience you will gain could quite easily lead to a new career path when you get home. You could also benefit from the ideas and experiences learned on your gap to further your existing carrer upon your return.
- You will have great fun. There is little point going on a year out if you are not going to enjoy it. Through meeting and helping other people, and really making a difference, you are bound to enjoy yourself.
Finally, don't forget to update your CV after you return from your volunteer work. Volunteer experience can look great next to your formal qualifications and is often viewed favourably by employers.