June 15, 2024


Travel Anywhere

Engaging in Volunteer Work Abroad is Not Always Cheap

Engaging in a volunteer work overseas program can turn out to be one of the most meaningful and worthwhile things that a person can undertake. In most cases, those who return from a volunteer work abroad experience, come back with stories about the great people they met, of the interesting culture, traditions, and lifestyles they observed, and of the other volunteers with whom they worked side by side.

For the most part, people who engage in overseas volunteer work typically have to pay their own way in order to have the opportunity to serve. At first glance, that can seem like somewhat of a contradiction in terms.

Many people think that if they are giving up their time and their talents to a nonprofit voluntary charity organization, then they should pick up the bill to get the volunteers to their work stations overseas and to pay for their housing and incidental expenses once they are there.

In some instances of volunteer work abroad, the organizations do have accommodations, either at no cost to those doing the charity volunteer work, or at a discount. In some cases these same organizations have made special arrangements with the airlines so that the air travel is discounted or is picked up by the airline as a contribution to the charity.

However, it should be noted that every volunteer who works abroad is unique and the circumstances can vary considerably from location to location, and from one voluntary charity organization to another. For those who are planning to do long-term charity volunteer work, they can contact a specialized placement organization that provides placements for volunteers in various types of host organizations, such as schools, orphanages and even wildlife refuges. The volunteers usually pay a fee to the placement group, which then coordinates details of room and board, and training. Such organizations do have administrative costs and that is what the fees cover.

There are also many volunteer organizations that will coordinate more closely with the host country or the charitable organizations in that country. They undertake coordinating the service projects in total rather than only placing volunteers. The fees incurred are additionally used to directly support the funding of the service projects, or to make a donation to a partner organization that is involved in the charity work abroad.

Some people are still left wondering why those who are willing to donate their time and effort need to make financial contributions to the voluntary charity organization. The fact of the matter is that these organizations work with very limited resources and staff and many are dependent on the international volunteer force to function. This can actually make the volunteer experience even more meaningful, worthwhile and rewarding because if there were no overseas volunteer work force there would be much less important work being done around the globe.

The volunteers who travel to distant lands in order to engage in volunteer work abroad are generally not going to be replacing any of the full-time staffers of the voluntary charity organization, since most of the volunteers are temporary and they are not trained. But, the work of the volunteers is still incredibly beneficial to the charitable agency and greatly appreciated.