Gap year volunteeringOptions and things to consider
Voluntary work offers a very broad and varied array of opportunities for those planning a gap year. With so many gap year organisations offering very similar placements it can be a daunting prospect trying to decide which is best for you.
Below are the most common voluntary activity categories but there are more and the choice in each category is broader still. You should be able find something that sounds right for you. You can both offer and build your volunteer skills-just match your interests to one of our gap year programs.
Remember to ask organisation about responsible volunteering. You want to know that your help is really needed, that you aren’t doing the work that local people could do or harming the environment or its inhabitants in any way. It’s also useful to ask how your fee is spent. For those of you interested in working with children in residential settings such as care homes or what might be described as orphanages, we have a blog that discusses some of the issues associated with this type of volunteering.
For another perspective, watch this nicely presented and informative video about responsible volunteering.
It is not necessary to have a qualification but a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification helps, the more comprehensive the better. Without a qualification there are hundreds of placements on offer as teaching assistants or helping with students outside the classroom especially if you have a skill such as music, art, drama or sport.
Projects can last from a few weeks to a whole year, indeed the longer you stay the greater the benefit both for you and your students.
Care & health work
The projects range from work with children, hospitals and medical centres to running HIV/AIDS awareness courses with those graduates with qualifications and experience being in particular demand.
The nature of these projects is similar to teaching projects from a working, accommodation and length of placement perspective.
Families can travel together and for some it opens up a new career, or a second career after retirement.
Gap year outcomes…
Around the world there are thousands of charities and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) that run game and nature reserves or are conducting important research all of which rely on volunteers to support the team of scientists running the projects.
These projects are usually done in groups with volunteers working alongside local people to build schools, dams and wells, install fresh water systems, repair tracks and many other similar activities. It may also include sports coaching.
They mostly last for a few weeks and some volunteer projects might include an adventure phase or a safari.
Volunteering and unpaid internships are also available in journalism, broadcast media, social enterprise, marketing & legal work