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6 Reasons to Volunteer whilst Travelling

Written by Gemma Greene & Charlotte Billington
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As part of our travels we’d always wanted to spend some time volunteering. We found an organisation called Voluntario Global, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and decided to spend two weeks volunteering in two kindergardens in one of the most deprived areas of Buenos Aires.

It was an experience we won’t forget. From the children to the teachers who work so hard it was an eye opening experience. 

We’d whole heartedly recommend volunteering to anyone planning an extended trip away. Here’s just a few reasons why: 

1. You get to give something back 

Whislt travelling you are often going from place to place, seeing the sights, learning about the culture and then moving on to the next place. The loacals and people you meet are often so welcoming and happy to have you visit their country. But by volunteering we were able to go give back at at least one country and community we visited.

2. You’ll see the places you’re travelling to in a whole new light

Unless you have a lot of time on your hands it’s likely that you’ll only visit the hotspots in any one country or place. But surrounding each tourist spot are many other towns you won’t experience and many more people you’ll never get to meet. Volunteering took us away from the hustle and bustle and enabled us to see how true locals, the challenges they encounter and why volunteers are so essential in so many places around the world. 

3. You’ll improve your language skills 

Many people won’t speak English when you’re travelling, so learning the local language is a useful skill. Whilst volunteering you’ll get to practice the local dialect, a lot. For us the children and teacher always spoke to us in Spanish so we were forced to use the limited Spanish we had to try and understand and communicate with them. As an added bonus we tried to teach the children and teachers a bit of English. 

4. Your communication skills will also improve 

By the same token, as you probably won’t be fluent in the local dialect, you find other ways to  communicate. Hand gestures, signalling or, as a last resort, Google translate, it’s a fun challenge to see how you can understand one another.

5. You’ll be supporting people who genuinely need it 

As places are untouched by tourism, they often have limited resources. It’s fulfilling to know that you are supporting people who need it. They will appreciate it and they won’t be afraid to tell you that too! 

6.  It’s fun! 

During our time volunteering we smiled and laughed with the children and kindergarten teachers. We also got to explore other parts of Buenos Aires and we still found the time to see the traditional tourist sites.

So, wherever you are and wherever you’re going, block out a few weeks in your travelling diary to volunteer!

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