Since moving to Denver a year and a half ago, I have been trying to find causes to support on a monthly basis. It has been surprisingly difficult to find local organizations that have the sort of mission I am looking for, that are also Colorado-based. I know of so many great organizations around the world, but because I can’t give a lot of money right now, I want to give my time. So I am on a mission to find organizations that matter, but more on that later.
As I was thinking about volunteering here in Denver, I started thinking about when I really felt I was making a difference in my past volunteer work. I can tell you exactly when that time was: when I volunteered abroad for four months in 2013. It was one of the more fulfilling things I have ever done. So I thought I would try to convince you why you, too, should volunteer abroad in the near future.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience a culture more closely, and make a difference in the world around you, volunteering might be perfect for you. Here’s are just a few reasons why you should consider trying it:
To learn like never before
Whether it is a new language or a new skill, or a different way of living, you will learn in ways you never even dreamed of. In ways that don’t involve sitting in front of a teacher or a whiteboard. This world is so full of educators and experiences that can change your perspective. Volunteering aboard will teach you something new every single day. Something new about yourself, about humankind, about animals, about nature, about culture, about language, and about life.
To meet like-minded people
Many people who travel and volunteer abroad are as free-spirited, loving, caring, adventurous, vivacious, and insane as you are. It is amazing how many similar personalities you will meet, even if you are all different ages, races and genders. And if you are not exactly the same as your fellow volunteers, you will bond over a love of a cause that truly matters to you. It is such a powerful experience, and one that will allow you to make lifelong friends.
To make a real difference
We have been given so much. Clean water, education, shoes, food, LOVE. These are not basic rights given to all at birth. When you volunteer abroad, you can go different places and truly make an impact with the gifts you have been given. Do you love to read? Consider teaching. Do you love animals? Work in a rainforest. You will feel the impact almost immediately.
To come home with purpose
When I returned from teaching in South America, I realized the true, tangible passion I had for education. Because of this, I teamed up with a non-profit that felt was doing great things around the world for education. This notion has completely shifted my life. You will find the things that drive you; those things that make your heart beat faster with excitement, and what keeps you up at night. I know I could talk, write, and share about the importance of worldwide education for days. When you get home from volunteering, your shift in perspective just might help you realize what you are truly meant to do in this world.
To put it simply, we have all been given the gift of this beautiful, abundant life. You may be rolling your eyes and thinking right now, “Danielle. My life is not abundant. Far from it.” But giiiiirl, I am telling you, IT IS. You have so much, and it is high time we all appreciate what we have been given and start doing more to make this world a better place. If we have learned anything this last week, “love is love is love is love.” We need to spread more love in this world.
a few of my favorite moments volunteering in 2013.
PS: I took out the financials of it for now and will go over it in another post, to break down how much it costs and how to make that work, paid vs. unpaid volunteer work, etc.
PPS: If you need any suggestions on volunteering abroad, I am happy to tell you everything I know and answer any questions. Please feel free to email me or reach out!