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Volunteering overseas can be a rewarding yet challenging experience. IF you’re an avid philanthropist, you can likely expect it to be very different from any volunteer opportunities here in the United States. Remember, you’ll be living and working in a completely foreign community, which means learning about new cultures. If you take the time to prepare for your stay overseas, you can have a very rewarding experience.

Preparation Can Save You Future Frustration

Just as you would prepare for any vacation, it’s also important to prepare for volunteering overseas. One of the first things you want to do is gather all of your required and necessary documentation. It may be wise to make copies of those documents just in case something gets lost, misplaced, or stolen. Additionally, you want to be sure to arrange for your travel, accommodations, and other details of your trip well in advance. It may be wise to Google the locations of important places, like hospitals and police stations, as well.

Be Prepared to Pay

You’ll probably meet other volunteers who have spent months fundraising to help them pay for their time abroad. This is because volunteers are expected to pay their own way and, considering how long you’ll be gone, that can get pretty expensive. You’ll have to pay for your travel and accommodations, as well as for your meals, recreation, and any medical care you may need. You should make a list of your expenses, so you can be sure to save up enough money to support yourself.

A Typical Day

You will likely be expected to get up early in the morning. If you’re staying at a volunteer house, everyone will eat breakfast together and an evening meal will be offered at around 7:00 p.m. Volunteers usually work up to five or six hours per day between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The evenings and weekends will be yours to explore the community and visit the local tourist attractions.

These tips are rather general, and it’s important to remember things can vary based on the type of volunteer work you’re doing, and where you’re going. Once you know where you’re going and what kind of work you’ll be doing, you’ll be able to prepare for those specific circumstances. The more time you invest in learning about the culture you’ll be visiting, the more enriching and enjoyable your time abroad will be.