The Benefits of Volunteering in Africa and How to Get the Most From Your Experience

When you decide to spend your holiday time volunteering in Africa, it feels good. It feels so good that you are happy not to get anything in return, the reward [...]

When you decide to spend your holiday time volunteering in Africa, it feels good. It feels so good that you are happy not to get anything in return, the reward of community connection, knowing you helped someone who needs and deserves a chance to get ahead is plenty. That doesn’t mean there are no rewards when you volunteer in Africa, far from it, the benefits of volunteer work are long enough to be a resume on their own.

Let’s a have a look at what you can expect to gain while you are busy helping others achieve their dreams.

Work Experience
Life experience looks great on your resume. Classrooms only show you a snippet of what’s waiting for you outside the walls and it hardly even scrapes the surface of the skills and abilities you will actually need to have on hand in the real world. If you have never worked while you study you will find that taking on actual activities is a whole different ball game to that multiple choice quiz in the classroom. As well as life experience you can get some amazing references, and your future boss can see your commitment, ability to cooperate, find your footing in new and complex environments and work with a diverse range of people. Ask for references and stay in touch after your volunteer project to increase your network.

Life Examples
When you are interviewing for a job it’s not just your book knowledge you are evaluated on, you will get asked scenario questions, “can you give us an example of a time when you demonstrated…” You will be able to draw on a truckload of examples from your volunteer work. It’s also a great way to draw on other people’s views on you. “When I was working on an agriculture project in Africa my supervisor commented on how well I listened to instructions and learned new tasks quickly. (even better if your supervisor is listed as a referee). Be sure to get feedback on your performance to include in your resume and interview and embrace feedback that is not positive as well. You are still learning so it’s a massive gain if you understand and are aware of any areas you still need some work on, especially when you are keen to grow and learn in this sector.

Confidence Building
Volunteer work is a great self-esteem boost. Self-esteem is a seriously undernourished and underrated personal ability, without it you can experience depression, anxiety and avoid trying new things and meeting new people. When your esteem is in balance you look, feel and act your very best, are ready to take on challenges, overcome hurdles and face the day with a beaming smile. When you do volunteer work in Africa, your self-esteem really gets a boost, as if anything you tackle after this is going to be daunting! Face job interviews, selection panels and tests with an inner strength that you are awesome and capable of absolutely anything.

Working in a team isn’t always as fun as it sounds. It involves everyone doing an equal share, meeting expectations and being flexible. Getting to know and work with people from diverse backgrounds and be in an environment of compassion and community really shows you the heart of people. When you have an understanding that everyone has a hidden diamond inside, you will be more flexible, more understanding and a valuable team player. When your communication skills are this amazing you will be able to safely navigate through any team issues, keep your cool and form fast friendships.

Everyone has the capacity to lead. The problem is, people get mixed messages about what a leader actually is. Genuine leadership is not about giving orders and telling people what to do, actual leadership is inspiring those around you to be their best. A great leader will inspire others in times of incredible hardships. Leadership skills are essential in any job. To be able to step up into the role of inspiration manager when things are confused, disorganised, or aimlessly wandering with no direction can literally save a company’s butt. When you volunteer in Africa you will naturally and effortlessly become a leader. Knowing what this feeling is, identifying when to use it, and how to apply your skills in a given situation is a treasured ability you can use not just for employment but personal relationships, groups and clubs, when parenting or simply just making a valuable contribution in your local community.

Multiple Australian Universities (including the University of Technology Sydney, The University of Adelaide and Queensland University of Technology) released similar results of a report compiled in 2016. The findings showed that unpaid work experience significantly increased a student’s likelihood of getting a part-time job while studying, and full-time work when study was completed.

70 percent of the students who took part in unpaid placements said they found the exposure beneficial for learning new knowledge and skills.

So while you are helping to make the world a better place, give yourself a pat on the back because you are taking big steps forward in your own future, as well as those you bring some light and love to.

If you have any questions about volunteering in Africa, contact us today, we’d love to help!

Jess Charlotte

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