Whether you are about to head off to university, are in the middle of your studies, or even a fully-fledged member of the workforce, you may have considered taking time out.
The period between A-Levels and university is a very popular period for people to commence a year abroad and, increasingly, university students are exploiting the flexibility of their courses to take time out from their studies, be it as part of the course or as an extracurricular activity. Whatever your status, there is an undeniable appeal to taking a sabbatical and getting away from it all.
Some may view a career or study break as being difficult to organise or perhaps too complicated to try and fit into their current way of life. However, if you do the necessary planning and find the right pursuit you may well find that a year out can actually benefit you, while enhancing your CV considerably.
Voluntary service abroad is one such pursuit that can have a positive impact on your future. It can be one of the most gratifying events of your life and help you to gain vital and wide-ranging real life experience for future roles. An ever-increasing number of people of all ages are deciding to volunteer abroad, not only to gain vital life skills, but also to help people in developing countries who are less fortunate than they are.
This sort of work abroad is becoming ever more varied. From building houses in poor areas of South America to assisting communities in parts of Africa, you can change the life of others as well as your own, for the better.
The sorts of activities that you will be involved in are building schemes, improving sanitation and the education of children and adults who haven’t had the same level of support and welfare systems that most westerners have enjoyed as a standard.
One thing is for sure. This sort of work looks great on the CV. Whatever your age; few employers will frown upon someone with this sort of experience. Not only is it an honourable thing to do but community work abroad provides essential transferable and important skills; namely, problem solving and communication.
Whatever industry you are in, or want to enjoy a career in, you will probably find that problem solving, in one way or another, is central to your role. Voluntary service abroad involves planning, analysing the best use of resources, teamwork and communicating your ideas as effectively as possible. All these skills are integral to success in the workplace.
So if you are considering taking a year out at any stage in your career, remember to choose wisely so you don’t need to worry about the effect a sabbatical will have on your future. Finally, in addition to helping a community who desperately needs it, it is worth taking time to consider that you will probably be going to one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the world; places that have a totally different feel and pace of life. It will undoubtedly give you a much broader perspective on life and help you to reflect on the truly important issues in humanity, rather than simply what you are going to have for your lunch or how you are going to meet your office deadline.
Voluntary work abroad can be one of the most thrilling experiences that you ever enjoy, so take the plunge! 🙂 – Travel Feeder, your ultimate photo travel guide