Volunteering abroad has a strong positive impact on local communities. Every day thousands of people volunteer their time to help others and to make someone else’s life better. But did you know that helping others can have a positive effect on a volunteer’s life just as much?
If you have ever considered volunteering internationally, either as a professional sharing your skills and knowledge, or as a college or university student doing an internship as part of your studies, you probably already know some of the benefits it can bring you. These benefits differ from person to person but may include: earning credit towards your degree, getting a chance to meet new people, being able to travel to a new and exciting country, learning about new cultures and getting to eat wild and wonderful food!
Apart from these obvious advantages, there is one benefit that you may have not thought about. This benefit is the positive impact on a volunteer’s mental health and emotional well being. Numerous studies have proven that volunteering can improve your life from an emotional health perspective and add to an individual’s EQ. Dr Rachel Casiday reviewed 87 articles regarding the impact that volunteering can have on a person’s health and found that there is a direct positive correlation between volunteering and improves one’s life satisfaction, self-esteem, family functioning, self-efficiency ratings and decreases psychological stress.
At Development Together we totally agree with these findings. International internships and volunteering programs help you to become a part of a larger community, to feel connected and to have a sense of achievement and purpose. It also feels good to be able to share your skills and knowledge with others, as well as learn from your peers that share similar interests and passions with you.
This truly is a way to a new and better version of yourself. In fact, it has so many benefits, that one of the articles published on BMC Public Health even suggested that volunteering should be promoted as a part of a healthy lifestyle by public health, education and policy practitioners.
Volunteering is not just another way to have a great time, but contributes to you understanding more about yourself and developing real purpose and meaning for your life. It is an experience you will never forget.
In case you want to read the articles referenced, here they are for your convenience:
- Casiday, Rachel. 2015. “Volunteering and Health: What Impact Does it Really Have?”. Research Gate. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rachel_Casiday/publication/228628782_Volunteering_and_Health_What_Impact_Does_It_Really_Have/links/56339fab08aeb786b7013877.pdf
- Yeung, Jerf W.K., Zhuoni Zhang and Tae Yeun Kim. 2017. “Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms”. BMC Public Health. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8