Volunteer Work Overseas: Be Adventurous and Lend a Hand. Go on.

Volunteer work overseas, voluntourism, volunteer vacations, career break; it has many titles but is essentially one concept; providing your skills, expertise and energy to an organization or community in need, for no or little remuneration. You do it for the simple pleasure of giving, and the chance to learn and immerse yourself in a new culture.

Becoming increasingly popular, volunteering is great way of really getting beneath the surface of a culture and region.

Volunteer work overseasVolunteer work overseas: In Madhya Pradesh, India - author behind camera

In 2009 I travelled back to India to undertake a period of volunteer work with an NGO based in New Delhi. I felt it was time for a break from my hectic job in London, to give myself some space from my day-day existence while in some way using my skills and knowledge to benefit an organization in need of them.

There are many reasons to volunteer, click here and I’ll spell them out loud and clear!

The idea of doing volunteer work had been bouncing around my head for while, and the allure of India was still lingering after my first visit in 2006. So it made good sense to combine the two; I would be able to spend more time in amazing India and be in one region for a good period to really immerse myself while learning and using my professional skills.

It might seem daunting; the prospect of living in an unfamiliar foreign country, researching and arranging a volunteer placement, organizing time off work, tying up loose ends etc. There’s always a list of to-do’s that might seem overwhelming and a little scary. Don’t turn them into excuses not to do it! Really, once worked through, the organization and logistics to get you to a foreign land, settled in and working needn’t be that onerous.

Click here for my list of volunteers organizations that can help you find a meaningful volunteering opportunity and start your adventure. I've broken them down into three parts; Volunteers Organizations Part 1, Volunteers Organizations Part 2 and Volunteers Organizations Part 3.

As for me, I immersed myself into dusty New Delhi, the hectic hub of the subcontinent. By profession I am an architect, and in New Delhi with a little help, I found an NGO that suited my background and interests that was willing to take me on. As a city, Delhi fascinates me and basing myself here provided an invaluable opportunity to get under its skin, absorb its intriguing history while also having the ability to explore further afield when time permitted.

At Development Alternatives I quickly became absorbed with work, helping to develop a training program for architects to raise awareness of sustainable and green building technologies.

My four months here sped by, but it gave me precious opportunities to really delve into out of the way places and have experiences that I otherwise wouldn’t have if travelling; spending time in remote Madhya Pradesh with local communities, discussing how they build their traditional houses and witnessing their everyday life; seeing snippets of traditional existence was a real privilege.

I really encourage you to consider volunteer work overseas; a hugely rewarding experience that will take you well beyond the confines of merely travelling. Give a little of yourself and be hugely rewarded.

Volunteers Organizations: Find a Volunteering Opportunity Part 1

Volunteers Organizations: Find a Volunteering Opportunity Part 2

Volunteers Organizations: Find a Volunteering Opportunity Part 3

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