A recent research revealed that the number of young people who are on a gap year program increases each year. This has made traveling abroad for a period of time an easy thing for some, while it’s still a daunting task for others. Most of the people who go out for gap year programs go on volunteer projects. However, the volunteer needs to prepare well for the program to avoid unexpected hitches in a foreign land. Most of those who have had the best gap year programs do the following before jetting out:
Get to know the organization well
For you to have a successful volunteer program abroad, you need to have a reputable company or organization. There are many organizations like Involvement Volunteers International involved in recruiting volunteers in their respective volunteer programs. Check if the organization provides a brief and clear job description on what is expected of you. You also need to find out if the organization finances and works directly with the local partners. The organization should also explain the kind of training and support you would receive, their tourism and ethical policies, and if it would be accountable for the fees you pay. You know the organization offers the best gap year programs based on the information you gather.
Peace of mind for your parents/guardian
When someone is going abroad for any purpose including a volunteer program such as hospital internship, even the entire family is part of it. This means the family is also concerned about your travel, safety, and comfort where you are going. So it’s important to let your parents communicate with the organization also to get clarification on some pertinent issues. It’s important for your parents to also get the organization’s contacts so that they can be updated about your journey and arrival abroad.
A cover is good
Traveling from one country to another is a great experience. However, it is important to know that accidents do happen on such international travels. For this reason, it’s important to organize for comprehensive medical and travel insurance. Research well while shopping for the insurance to ensure you get the right one. The insurance coverage you get would depend on the period you would be there and the nature of activities you would be involved in. For instance, the insurance cover for those volunteering as teachers would be less compared to that of someone in a medical internship.
Be flexible for a change
When planning for a must-see country, hardly can you have all the information you need about it. Most people just choose a country based on what they heard those who were there before say about it. Just know that even the best gap year programs to a particular country may get dropped at the last minute based on emergencies. You shouldn’t insist on going to a country with recent insecurity issues simply because you had spent the better part of the year planning for it.
Nothing good just comes by. One’s efforts and plans are required to bring it forth. Volunteering abroad is not something you just wake up one morning and do. You spend much of your time planning for it. Whether you are going for teaching or hospital internships, the four tips above should guide you when planning your gap year program. For our programs, you can visit https://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad/gap-year/.