Volunteering During Your Sabbatical

Volunteering abroad during a sabbatical

There are many practical reasons why you might be thinking about taking a break. Are you tired of chasing that promotion? Feeling run down and have a loss of direction? Bored? Need some time for yourself and your family? Lost a job? Changing careers? Craving adventure?

Volunteering overseas in South Africa can be the reset button you need in your life. It can revitalize a career, bring families closer together and give you a greater sense of yourself.

If after reading the previous there is still a shred of doubt left about volunteering during your sabbatical, here are four more reasons why you should definitely book your ticket soon.

1. Volunteering overseas is For All Ages
While many people believe that volunteering overseas is only for the young, mid-career is actually the perfect time to do it.
With a little age and experience comes maturity, wisdom and perspective. You have reached a point in life where you can manage challenges that come your way because you know yourself well. This is exactly why you should hurl yourself out of your comfort zone: You can handle challenges ahead and you know it.

2. It Helps Your Career
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It sounds like a lot to put your life on hold to go overseas. You've worked hard to get where you are and you don't want to jeopardize that. Consider, though, that volunteering overseas will benefit your career. Why?

  •         You learn how to work in an international setting.
  •         You get experience working with a diverse team
  •         You develop your leadership skills.
  •         You get practice in responsible risk-taking
  •         You gain experience working on a second language.
  •         You may even get experience in fundraising, project management, and analysis.

By putting yourself outside of your comfort zone by dealing with no electricity, a language barrier, or any other challenge, you learn how to cope. These are all valuable skills in life and in the work place.

3. It's Perfect for a Career Change
If you're considering a career change, a volunteer experiences during a gap year provides you with an opportunity to gain valuable experience that you might not be able to get back home.
By proving yourself as a volunteer overseas, you're not only building your resume, you're showing potential employers that you are dedicated, innovative and ready for a challenge.

4. The World Needs You
Volunteering abroad isn’t just about you. This is also the time when you can really do some good in the world. No matter what your background is, your capabilities and professionalism make you a valuable asset to any volunteer program.

So you going on a volunteering trip isn’t only good for you and your career, it’s also beneficial for those in less developed countries who could use someone with your specific skills.

Think of it this way: there are a lot of people trying to do good out there but it takes someone with a real skill to help organizations grow and meet their goals.

Plenty of people can hand out mosquito nets, but an organization may also need someone to help create budget or a solid bookkeeping system. Maybe a school needs teachers, but also help with administration, lesson planning, and strategic thinking.

To conclude things
Volunteering overseas is not about putting your life on hold, it's about living it.

No matter your situation, there are ways to make it work and it will change you forever. You are a real asset to any volunteer opportunity; you bring wisdom, maturity and valuable skills. You will make a difference in the world and be better for it.



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