Serving abroad is a powerful experience that benefits a local community and helps you understand the impact you can have on the world. Volunteering abroad brings you face-to-face with global issues, and it lets you form friendships with people who live there and work with them to champion positive change.
Here are some ways serving abroad will make an impact on you:
1. You’ll gain cultural awareness and learn about different lifestyles.
When you work alongside community members, you get to learn about their way of life—their values, traditions and beliefs—firsthand. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the life experiences of people from other cultures and realize the ways in which we, as human beings, are all the same.
2. You’ll discover a home halfway around the world.
As you spend time in an unfamiliar community, you’ll create friendships with the people there. Even though you may have different lifestyles and speak different languages, you’ll discover that by sharing experiences—such as playing soccer, cooking a meal or building a new classroom—you’ll form strong connections with people and feel like a member of their family in just a short period of time.
3. You’ll better understand global issues and how to create positive change.
Wanting to create positive change and help people around the world is a wonderful thing! But sometimes even the best intentions can have negative effects on local communities. Engineers without Borders learned this lesson the hard way.
The best way to understand an issue—and find a solution—is to talk to the people who live there and experience it everyday.
4. You’ll learn how to embrace challenges.
When you volunteer abroad, you’ll quickly discover that things don’t always go as planned. Maybe the shipment of cement you need to finish the community center floor doesn’t arrive in time, and instead of working on the floor that afternoon you and your group decide to run some fun, extracurricular activities at a nearby school. As you encounter these sorts of road bumps, you’ll learn how to work with your peers to find creative solutions. Check out these international service opportunities available exclusively for Key Clubbers in summer 2014.