The decision to volunteer abroad is not easy. You will be away from your family in an unfamiliar environment wherein you are expected to provide your skills and services to a local community. However, it can also be extremely rewarding. In fact, a lot of volunteers claim that they had more to gain from the experience than the community they choose to volunteer to.
To make your time as a volunteer in Fiji worthwhile and become a transformative experience, and not just to while your time away, here are some strategies you can use:
Talk to Someone Whose Volunteered Before
It does not have to be related to your current volunteer project or in the same destination as you are headed to. However, that would be extremely helpful if you can find one. Try to pick their brain when it comes to preparing for what’s ahead of you. Even though you are prepared mentally and physically about the challenges that lie ahead, it will still be tough to adjust. But the more you know ahead of time, the better able you can condition your mind and body of what is to come. Culture shock is a huge part of the struggle that people who volunteer abroad have to face. But there is nothing that you cannot overcome with enough preparation.
Offer Your Skills
To become a useful volunteer, utilize your skills as much as you can. If you are good at teaching, spend your time teaching school kids how to read or write. If you enjoy arts and crafts, you can train local women on crafts they can use to make livelihood from. It is easier for you to immerse in the experience if you enjoy it and you feel like you have something important to offer.
Raise Funds Before Leaving
You cannot depend solely on the funds available through the volunteering agency you joined in. It is important that you have extra money on your own so you can pursue projects that you think might benefit the community. Most of the funds available through the volunteer agency sponsoring your Fiji travel have already allotted those for basic expenses such as food and travel allowance for volunteers. Not all volunteers are wealthy people; thus, raising funds for your trip is a good way to be able to provide the needs of the locals that are not anticipated at the start. More details at Involvement Volunteers International.
Prepare to Fail
Whether you are new to volunteering in Fiji, or volunteering in general, it is always good to communicate with fellow volunteers and volunteer coordinators. Even the best laid out plans fail. And when your initial efforts fail or do not produce the results you want, it is important to come up with a backup plan. Volunteer organizations with lots of experience and credentials are able to make a way out of a sour situation. It is your responsibility to be in-the-know about the latest developments within your volunteer projects.
There are lots of challenges that go with the decision to volunteer abroad. But with the pointers above, you can turn that volunteer project into something valuable for the community, and for you as a person. Visit them online at http://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad.html.