Opportunities to travel, volunteer or intern abroad are everywhere. It’s easy to see why when you recognize that the benefits of international travel experiences are more than a vacation. They’re life changers.
The appeal of travel often lies in learning about a new place, experiencing the culture, the food, or just the idea of getting away. There is no doubt that the personal benefits of travel are plenty, but there is also a world of good that international volunteering can do for your career that is often ignored.
It’s easy to think that the professional benefits of travel experience are limited to certain degrees or career paths. And while international travel experience might be necessary for some careers, it is beneficial to all.
Having international volunteer experience on your resume puts you ahead of the competition and read on to find out why!
When you volunteer abroad you learn and strengthen skills such as the ability to work in a team, communication, the ability to adapt, your aptitude to take initiative, problem solving, and more.
These skills begin to develop from the day you confirm your volunteer placement and continue to grow as you navigate the necessities of travelling abroad such as meeting deadlines, ensuring appropriate travel requirements, asking for amenities in a new culture, respecting a new culture, and working effectively on a project with a brand new team.
Real World Experience
Those skills are needed in numerous fields, dare we say in every field. Having developed them while volunteering for a cause you? re passionate about demonstrates that you care about improving yourself and those around you. Having real experience utilizing your academic knowledge while developing these skills shows employers that you truly have these skills, and have the experience to back it up.
Broaden Your Perspective
Those skills are needed in numerous fields, dare we say in every field. Having developed them while volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about demonstrates that you care about improving yourself and those around you. Having real experience utilizing your academic knowledge while developing these skills shows employers that you truly have these skills, and have the experience to back it up.
Harness Your Independence
While your volunteer abroad placement will be facilitated by an organization and involve other volunteers and other parties, the decision to volunteer abroad is entirely individual. The preparation is yours, the growth is yours, and navigating new situations is up to you.
Being able to work independently is one of the least cited skills on most resumes, but one most often sought by employers. They want to know that their employees will be able to work effectively without having to be supervised every step of the way.
Developing New Areas of Interest
Your volunteer placement will introduce you to new experiences that can change your career path completely. The new found determination that comes along with your new career path will make you a better asset to an organization or company.
An employer wants skills- but they also want a person who will fit in with their organizational culture. They want hard workers but not workaholics. Demonstrating you have curiosities you explore in your spare time can make your break you getting your dream job.
In a short volunteer experience you will not become fluent in the language of your host country. You will however, be given the opportunity to practice a language you already know, or be introduced to a language you want to learn. Being proficient in a second language could be the one skill that makes you stand out from other candidates.
Introduction to a Globalized World
Knowing the world around you is key to any job, even if you plan on never leaving the country you call home. In today? s world information, goods, and people pass through borders daily, and so much that has an impact at home is done abroad. Showing an employer that you understand and have experienced this movement is crucial to showing that you are ready to work now.
When you travel you build relationships with like-minded people. Having a solid network of contacts is invaluable when seeking out career opportunities in the future. At SOS, we take pride in offering students the opportunity to be a part of our community consisting of partnering organization in Latin America, our volunteers across Canada, and our SOS alumni network well into the thousands. Immediately after your placement, or five to ten years down the line, you? ll be connected to future employers, mentors, and friends
Volunteering abroad shows that you care about developing yourself; about others; about those living in a different culture and/or quality of life; and about your volunteer cause. Just like employers want to know that you have interests outside of your field, they want to know how you demonstrate these interests.
This goes beyond simply stating you care, anyone can do that. Making emotional and physical contributions to an organization shows that when you want to get involved and make change, you stick to it.