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Frontier: Parents guide to volunteering abroad: the benefits to your child

Date added: Friday 2nd December 2016

Frontier talk you through why volunteering abroad can be beneficial to your children’s future career path and personal development.

 

1      Get out of their comfort zone

It is important to be able to deal with a situation that you are not familiar with, in life and in the workplace afterall you never know what you’re capable of until you try! Adaptability is a key trait employers look for, whether this is the environment you work in, the team you work in or the skills you need to develop. Travelling will show your child they can manage on their own in unfamiliar territory, and volunteering organisations help with every step of the journey, before, during and after returning from their experience. Realising they can make it without their usual comforts or usual schedule will show them they can adapt to any situation and will allow them to push their boundaries even further in the future. All the young adults have to worry about is getting used to not having their usual comforts!

2 Gain independence

Volunteers may have never even left the country, which is fine! Volunteering organisations bring the scary parts of planning a trip out of the equation. Even a novice traveller can feel confident when travelling in a structured and safe trip and this often leads on to more independent travel They gain confidence in their decision making and organisational skill which are both valuable assets employers look for in applicants.

3 They are safe with a volunteering organisation

The role of organisations is to provide structure for their trip. You can do additional research on the trips and companies your child wishes to go on by reading their mission statements and ensuring it matches what your child wishes to gain from their experience. If they have quality badges on their website make sure you follow them through to see what they actually mean. Prices also vary between companies so ensure you are getting a good deal and see what the price includes. Price itself is no indicator of quality but by comparing offers you’ll see what likely to be included and what needs to purchased as an add on. Usually volunteering organisation’s costs for a project includes accommodation, in-country orientation, training, in-country transport, food, equipment and the volunteer placement.

4 Gain Teamwork

Volunteer projects often involve a number of volunteers working together within a team to achieve the same goal of improving livelihoods or communities or wildlife. Travelling with a group of people involves sharing ideas, planning trips together and constantly helping each other. Team work is valuable in every business, as contributing ideas working cooperatively is essential. Teamwork is all about being able to operate smoothly and efficiency within a group, increasing skills for example the ability to compromise and the ability to encourage and inspire other team members.

5 Time out for them to decide on their future or reflect

Most people do not have a definite path planned out for their future. If your child is not sure they want to go into a certain career path or go to university, they can use the travel time to figure this out. Committing to a career or university course you do not enjoy can be deeply unsatisfying and result in unnecessary debt. Some projects offer internships, BTECs and even UCAS points.

 

7 Work in teams from different backgrounds

Employers are always looking for employees that can work within teams from different backgrounds. Not only does this show good communication but it shows you can adapt to different teams that you may come across in the workplace. Organisations, like Frontier (www.frontiergap.com), recruit volunteers from many continents including the US, Europe and Australia. Your child will make lifelong friends from all over the world on their trips, teaching your child that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go. If your child is nervous about meeting completely new people, most organisations provide services to allow them to get to know any volunteers who will be going onto the trip, whether that is on Facebook or they arrange a meet up if they are in the same country.

8 Stand out

Whether your child wants a future in Journalism, Medicine, Animal Welfare, Diving, Teaching, Sports Coaching, Science or Healthcare (plus many more!!), there is a project for them! Many employers have applicants who have gained experience through volunteering or work, but how many have done so abroad? Your child will stand out amongst its competitors through an interesting story and wider knowledge of life experience, which can all be applied to the role.

9 Experience different cultures

Getting to know different cultures can provide perceptive about your own culture, especially if you travel to a less developed country. Helping local communities means you’re not just a tourist, you’re part of the community. Taking part in community volunteer projects abroad is a perfect way to get stuck into the culture and learn how they live in a different country and environment. Give back tenfold by teaching English abroad, with some projects offering a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification, which can be used to teach in many countries around the world. Other community projects include healthcare, women empowerment and medical/hospital placements. Experiencing different cultures is always rewarding and exciting, and not just because of the local cuisine.

10 Gain Leadership

Some projects employ previous volunteers or provide internships in expedition management. The teams usually consist of Project Coordinators, Research Assistants, Volunteer Coordinators and Volunteers. Managing a team of volunteer’s shows organisation, teamwork, punctuality, leadership, confidence in meeting new people, problem solving and initiative. All skills employees look for and skills that can put you one step ahead of competition.