Are you ready for your next life-changing adventure?
Going to university is, for lots of people, the first of many major, life-changing experiences. Whether you're still a student or you've just graduated, your next one could start sooner rather than later.
Volunteering abroad will not only change your life for the better, but also the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in some of the poorest communities in the world.
If you've ever thought that you might want to give volunteering abroad a try, here are just a few reasons why you should stop thinking and start doing.
1. There's no time like the present.
Logistics-wise, you're rarely going to have a better opportunity to undertake a placement abroad on a voluntary basis than when you're in or fresh out of university. It's likely that, at this point in your life, you have very few real responsibilities tying you down, meaning that this is the perfect time to put your plans into action.
2. It gives you time to properly consider what you want to do next.
Once the uni bubble bursts, it's easy to feel pressured to figure out what your next steps are. Even if you kind of know what you want to do as a career, having a little breathing space is hugely important, giving you time to really weigh up your options and not rush into a job or graduate scheme that you're not 100% sure about or ready for. Volunteering placements are usually short-term commitments, allowing you that much-needed opportunity to pause and reflect.
3. You'll gain loads of new skills.
As part of your volunteering placement, you'll receive comprehensive training to support you on your journey, through which you'll be able to hone plenty of new skills. Aiding both your personal and professional development, this could help to solidify your career plans, based on what you're good at and what you enjoy doing - it could even open your eyes to more career options that you hadn't previously considered.
4. The experience will massively boost your confidence and your CV.
Venturing overseas to pastures new can seem scary at first. You'll be voluntarily taking on challenges unlike any you've faced before, requiring a whole new level of determination and resilience. When it comes to applying for jobs, being able to prove to both yourself and to your future employers that you were able to overcome these challenges and to successfully put your transferable skills to the test will make you stand out from the crowd. Employers love to see evidence of how you've used your skills - what better way to provide an example?
5. You'll meet some amazing people.
From your fellow volunteers to the residents of the communities you visit, the people you meet will have as much of an impact on your life as you will on theirs. You'll make countless new friends and build an invaluable network for your future career, keeping in touch with many of them long after your placement is over.
6. It's an eye-opening experience.
When you graduate, you hear a lot of talk about entering the "real world". Taking on a volunteering placement abroad is an ideal way to dive into the deep end of the "real world", opening your eyes to the real challenges and triumphs experienced by people in communities across the world. Having this knowledge and first-hand experience will provide you with a deeper understanding of the world than most graduates, something which will be endlessly beneficial to you, whatever career you end up in.
Want to give it a try? ICS are currently hiring volunteers.
International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime overseas volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds, funded by the UK Government. You'll work with local communities to make long-lasting improvements in developing countries across Africa and Asia. As well as structured training and support, ICS volunteers receive their visas, flights, travel and medical insurance, medication, vaccines, food and accommodation and a small allowance during their placement.
Click here to find out more about ICS and apply.