3 Reasons Why Volunteering Abroad is Better Than Traveling

3 Reasons Why Volunteering Abroad is Better Than Traveling was originally published on Vault.

So, you've finished high school or college and have decided to take a gap year. Or perhaps you just need a little time to yourself to simply have new experiences, visit different places, or sample a foreign culture before settling into work after college. The urge to take time to explore the world is common, but whether you just travel abroad or work abroad can make all the difference for your career.

Employers are very picky about gap years on your resume, and it's extremely important to make those months count towards something substantial. Volunteering abroad lends one to actually learn something in the process of traveling and this decision can prove a great advantage when creating a resume. Volunteering abroad goes way beyond just staying in a foreign country, eating fine food and meeting nice people. However, the greatest question you need to answer is why do you want to volunteer?

One of the greatest benefits of volunteering abroad is the fact that one can take advantage of their desire to help others. If you get an opportunity to work with underprivileged communities in different parts of the world, it is a true benefit because you will experience a different culture, could learn a new language, or you may experience challenges different from what you are used to and from what you might experience if you're traveling purely for leisure.

Going to a new country is never easy especially if you are leaving the comforts of your own home. There are lots of ways to volunteer and you just need to find one that suits you. Below we've got the three main reasons volunteering abroad will boost your resume.

1. Recruiters Love People with Diverse Perspectives

Traveling means you've experienced different things and encountered different challenges, and are willing to be pushed beyond your comfort zone. Employers and recruiters always love a different point of view. Boost your career by taking advantage of that travel opportunity. Your voluteer holidays can be turned into something worthwhile for your career.

2. Volunteering Abroad Signifies an Altruistic Personality

Maybe you chose to skip your surfing holiday in the Bahamas and instead decided to work with underprivileged communities in Uganda. It is always a professional advantage if you are seen as more concerned about the well-being of others instead of yourself. Thus, choosing to work in foreign country where help is needed will not only signal that you are interested in helping others, but that you are not deterred by having to travel a long ways to do so. There is a huge difference between internship versus volunteer work. In the former, you are strictly gaining skills that will enhance your professional life. In the latter, you bring something extra to your trip, by offering a human service and sacrifice of yourself.

3. Gaining Tons of Volunteer Skills

While holidaying, you might turn into an expert surfer; in volunteering, you might get construction or paramedic skills. Anyone traveling can suddenly find themselves in an unexpected professional field, exposing them to new work they wouldn't have encountered before. One of the major reasons for volunteering abroad is to gain new skills. Think of the amount of networking you might do, or the new language you might learn on that volunteer trip. You'll interact and live with new people and learn them. The skills gained from volunteering may be more valuable than other professional office-based skills.  If you've been involved in a project that has had a sustainable impact on the community, chances are that you are learning not just about sustainability, but also a lot of the components that go into creating a sustainable environment.  

Alice Berg is a blogger from Bath, UK, and a career advisor at SkillRoads, who received a degree in Social Work and Applied Social Studies. Now she helps people find their own way in life by giving career advice and guidance and helps young people prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter