Volunteering in another country can be a wonderful opportunity to experience a new culture, while contributing to improvements in local wildlife conservation, education and more.
Although the University of Bath does not directly organise and run volunteering opportunities overseas, we have pulled together the following advice if you'd like to look into doing some international volunteering yourself.
All volunteering should take a responsible approach, and some organised programmes are much better than others at offering opportunities that are not harmful to the local communities. While volunteers' intentions are nearly always good, this does not mean that all volunteer programmes are.
See our video exploring the ethics of voluntourism
Our advice is to consider the following when looking at overseas volunteering opportunities:
1. What legal status does the organisation have? Is it a charity, NGO or not-for-profit organisation, or is it a profit-making company?
2. Is it registered in the UK or in another country? It's better to go through an organisation that is registered in the UK in case of any problems. There is also no way of ensuring they are completely regulated in-line with UK practices and therefore how do you guarantee where your money goes?
3. Which country are you going to? Is it safe? Check out the official UK Government advice and make sure you follow it.
4. What do you want to get out of your experience?
5. What are the direct benefits your volunteering will have on the recipients of your chosen activity?
6. Have you thought about the ethical issues and environmental impact the volunteering project has on the community?
7. Read reviews and feedback from participants.
See the current UK government advice on volunteerong abroad, or if you'd like to chat with someone in the SU Volunteering team you can email us at email@example.com