Heading to other countries immerses volunteers in a whole new world. Volunteers get to experience a life quite unlike their own and to find out how people in the third world or simply in radically different countries live, work and relate to one another. On one level, this is all about experiencing new foods and learning the local tongue, but on a more fundamental level, it's about finding out about other lifestyles and seeing the differences and similarities to the volunteers' own lives.
Building Up Experience.
Of course, for many students, an opportunity to volunteer abroad is a chance to gather experience, particularly if the work they are doing abroad is connected to their own academic or personal interests. In a more pragmatic way, many volunteers look to this kind of work as a chance to build up their CV so that future employers are more impressed by them. Having six months' work building a hospital in Africa on a CV can highlight a candidate's dedication and willingness to give up time selflessly.
Volunteer work builds up skills too, which can then be transferred to other kinds of jobs. Some volunteer organisations might place people in jobs where they can learn specific talents, such as how to operate certain sorts of machinery. Other volunteers might see their experience as a means to network in particular industries, again with a view of increasing their chances of finding employment in their area of choice at a later date.
Volunteering abroad isn't just about CV building, it's also a case of advancing as a person and developing internally. Not only do volunteers gain substantial insight into the lives of others, but they take in new experiences and gain different perspectives on life that would be near impossible to garner otherwise. Meeting a whole range of new people, from fellow volunteers to the people the work benefits, helps individuals to learn about the views of others and increases their empathy and communication skills. If teaching abroad, volunteers may even find that the lessons they are giving improve their own grasp of the subject.
On a similar theme, a chance to volunteer abroad presents opportunities to make new friends, creating individuals who are more sociable and broader of mind. Many volunteers use their location abroad to explore the country through independent travelling, which is an opportunity they probably won't get again.
Beyond developing personally and gathering items for CVs, volunteers hopefully end up with a warm feeling that they're doing good. This sense of altruism propels many people into such a move as to take up volunteering and the need to give something back to society, especially through helping others less fortunate than themselves, is a major factor that leads individuals to seek volunteering opportunities.