Here’s a presentation I created from my latest blog post on International Volunteerism. It includes helpful tips you can use make sure that your participation in international volunteerism is more helpful than harmful.
2. What is International Volunteerism?
It's simply the act of volunteering in any country other
than your own. It is a very noble thing to do especially if
you are doing it for the right reasons.
The whole point behind international volunteerism is to
help others, but unfortunately sometimes people get
involved for other reasons such as to travel, to pass a
class, to boost a resume, etc.
Here are three guidelines that can help you make sure
that your participation in international volunteerism is
more helpful than harmful:
Be ethical in your choices
4. Be Ethical In Your Choices
Study the organization you plan to get involved with.
Inquire about how they plan to sustain your efforts
Ask how they involve locals and community members
as part of their volunteer efforts.
Going off of that, find out how involved these
communities are in terms of deciding what the
volunteers should be helping with.
5. Be Ethical In Your Choices
Find out how the organization spends your fees and
allocates their resources.
Do they hire locals for staff positions?
How much do they spend on administration versus
6. Be Realistic
Don’t get involved in international volunteerism if you
are expecting to change the world in one day. Change
takes time, so be prepared to not see much of an
impact from your efforts (unless you stay for years).
Focus on seeing your contribution as being part of long
continuum of volunteers’ efforts and contributions.
7. Be Realistic
Even though you should be very aware of the bigger
goal of the organization, don’t underestimate the power
of small acts of kindness - a smile and a hug can go a
8. Be Realistic
The key is to balance between the big picture and the
immediate picture. And most importantly, always keep
in mind that while you are playing an important role in
a community, the future of those efforts are the
community’s, not yours.
The best you can do is assist them in improving
whatever they want to improve.
9. Be Informed
Before traveling to any overseas community, make
sure you take the time to learn about the specific
place you will be visiting.
Understanding a community in terms of their history
and how they go to where they are now, will allow you
to understand their needs and better help them.
10. Be Informed
Studying their political and social contexts will also help
you remain realistic of how far your efforts will be able
Being informed is great because it will allow you to
remain open-minded, which is key to international
11. Use these helpful tips and start planning your first
volunteer trip overseas.
Now what are you waiting for?