5 Reason Why You Should Volunteer Internationally

Thursday, November 2, 2017

One of my goals, for as long as I can remember, was to do things that would make a difference; regardless of how big or small, I wanted to do something to help. This got me started donating and volunteering. In September I got an opportunity to volunteer international. Volunteering abroad is the insightful, real-world experiences that opens your eyes and heart and you forver look at things differently.  International development gives you a hands-on experience, teaches you many thing and makes your grow more than I can put into words. 
You get to make a real difference.
One of our primary missions in northern Ghana has been to promote gender equity and help the cooperatives like credit unions grow their communities. Alleviating poverty can't be done alone. Gender Equity cannot be achieved over night. We need to work cooperatively to solve issues this sophisticated. Credit Unions are one version of the Cooperative movement amongst many other iterations of the same foundational philosophy that include farm coops, grocery coops, distribution coops, fuel coops, and so on and so forth. By coming together at every level we can tackle this collaboratively – and by starting the conversation, we are helping move the scale, in the right direction.

You learn so much.
CCA Coaching program sends field experts generalists to help credit unions to grow and support cooperative movement. Us, being the experts did our best to share as much as we knew but getting this opportunity has taught me more I thought possible. You learn about yourself, about culture and grow your values.  While volunteering in Ghana all of our meetings have started with either a Christian or a Muslim prayer and ended with whichever type was yet to be prayed. From the moment I realized this is just how they do things, it hit me "OMG we all have so much we can learn here".

You get a new perspective.
You gain so much more than you give any time you volunteer. Volunteering can teach you things about the world that you didn’t even know are even a possibility.  You discover things that makes you rethink the way you look at most things. For example, after this trip to Ghana, I look at my first world problems as not problems at all… Like I am so sorry your A/C-ed office is too darn hot, credit unions and members I just met have to have their meetings under a mango tree at 32C degree heat and you don’t hear them complaining.

Grow your resume.
Most employers want workers who have workplace experience, but if you don't, volunteer experience is the next best thing. Volunteering gives you a chance to build on skills you already have and learn new ones.

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence.
Being confident is something I struggle with all the time. My self esteem is fairly low but after having this opportunity to volunteer I came back liking myself a little more. There is something about volunteering, especially in a completely different part of the world, that can help you feel active, useful and productive.Volunteering is a win-win situation.  You get to help others, you get an opportunity to boost your career but also your own well-being.

Have you guys volunteer internationally?