A Guide to Physical and Mental Wellness While Volunteering Overseas

A Guide to Physical and Mental Wellness While Volunteering Overseas

Participating in an internship abroad will be filled with adventure and the chance to experience all that your chosen destination has to offer. Visiting a country which is foreign to you, will encourage you to move outside of what you are familiar with and immerse yourself in a different cultural experience. Whilst this is great opportunity to grow as an individual, the team at Development Together recognizes that often our participants can encounter feelings of homesickness or loneliness. Committed to ensuring all of our trips are safe and secure, the health and mental wellness of our volunteers is our utmost concern.

So read on for our guide to how to look after your physical and mental wellness whilst volunteering abroad!

Before Leaving For Your Trip
Attend Two Briefing Sessions
Committed to ensuring each participant understands what to expect and is well prepared for their journey abroad, Development Together hosts two pre-departure briefing sessions. Attendance is essential and volunteers are given the opportunity to meet their supervisor and fellow participants, understand the project details, logistics of the trip and learn about relevant health and safety precautions. During these sessions, volunteers are encouraged to present any queries or concerns they may have before travelling.

Development Together Briefing Session
Development Together Briefing Session

During Your Trip
Have a Plan to Tackle Homesickness
Being away from your family and friends and experiencing unfamiliar customs and cuisines can be difficult, therefore it is common to face homesickness during your placement abroad. If you are missing home, there are a range of approaches we recommend to tackle it;
1. Pack your favourite snacks/treats from home; unfamiliar foods can be hard to adjust too when abroad, so we recommend all volunteers pack their favourite snacks to enjoy during your trip to make you feel more at home.
2. Follow your usual routine; during a busy day volunteering, it is important for our volunteers to make time for their regular routine. This could include a morning walk, yoga session, or talking to family on FaceTime. These activities will make you feel more at home in an unfamiliar destination.
3. Remind yourself why you chose to volunteer; homesickness can make it difficult to remain present and enjoy your time abroad, therefore we recommend writing in a daily journal about what you achieved and what was challenging, and remind yourself why you are volunteering for those in need.

Stay Hydrated and Prevent Illness
Many of the destinations that Development Together volunteer’s travel to include an extremely humid and hot climate, that your body may not be used too. Dehydration can cause serious harm to the body, and volunteers may be more receptive to becoming sick, making it challenging for you to carry out your volunteer work. The Development Together team provides all participants with 1 litre of clean drinking water, and provides guidance on how to look after your body should you become dehydrated, or suffer from “gastro” or “Bali belly”!

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Development Together Volunteers on Placement

When You Return From Your Trip
Attend Debrief Session
Upon your return, all volunteers are encouraged to attend Development Together’s post-trip debrief session. During this session, you will be given the opportunity to openly express any concerns or feedback regarding your experience with the Development Together team and your time abroad. This allows volunteer’s a chance to provide valuable feedback that we can communicate with our in country partner’s to contribute to improving our internships and placements for future participants.

Contact The Development Together Team
Development Together is committed to ensuring the health and mental well-being of their participants, even after the completion of the trip. Upon your return, if you are still feeling unwell or low, it is important that you contact our team, we are able to recommend a counsellor for any ongoing concerns you may have.

For any other questions regarding our placements abroad, please contact us

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