When planning to volunteer abroad alone, it’s normal to experience some apprehension, and even wonder if the break wouldn’t have been so much more enjoyable with a friend or partner in tow. The reality is that spending a lot of time with someone - anyone, can eventually become tiresome.
Traveling with friends or loved ones is a wonderful way to learn more about one another but there will naturally be moments of disagreement.
When volunteering alone, you have the opportunity to discover self-fulfilment and engage in something wholeheartedly, without distraction.
Before you decide which type of volunteer vacation is right for you, keep an open mind and read our rundown of the top six benefits of solo volunteering.
The decision to travel alone is a brave one to take but one that can leave you feeling empowered in the long run. Arranging your trip, packing, preparing and getting to know your destination all falls to you, encouraging reliance on yourself rather than on anyone else. When you travel with friends or family, it’s easy to let others take the reins, which can mean you don’t get the fullest of experiences; when you’re alone, however, you quickly learn to become self-sufficient and organized, because it’s necessary for the success of your trip.
Meet interesting new people
If you volunteer abroad with a company, chances are you’ll come across lots of new people in your first few days away. If you’re staying at a volunteer dorm, you can expect to be sharing your accommodation with other like-minded travelers from around the world. If you’re booked into a homestay, meanwhile, you’ll usually meet and live with a local family. Then, at your project, there will be more new faces! Traveling alone means you’re more likely to overcome your nerves and meet interesting new people as there’s nobody else with you to take up your attention.
Build your resume
Volunteering abroad is a positive element to add to your resume. Traveling overseas, alone, is a great achievement, and making a difference to communities in need is even more impressive. The fact that you chose to venture abroad on your own, with nobody to rely on except yourself, shows initiative, strength of character and determination - characteristics that any employer would look for. What’s more, if you learn new skills or build on your abilities while you’re away, this can also help employers view your job application in a positive light.
Boost your confidence
Whether you’ve struggled to feel confident in the past or not, a solo volunteer vacation can help give you a bit of a boost. Venturing to a new country, where nobody knows you, gives you the freedom to be exactly who you want to be, without the confinement of being expected to act in certain ways. This freedom, in turn, can build confidence as you learn more about yourself as a person and what you can achieve on your own. Now’s the time to try exciting new experiences, make new friends and create memories that will last you a lifetime.
Spend less money
Volunteering abroad on your own can be much cheaper than traveling with friends or family. As a lone traveler, you’ll only be paying for your own flights, accommodation and volunteer project - the rest of your money can be spent exactly as you choose. There’s no-one to push you into decisions about group tours you might not be keen on but feel compelled to join, and there’s no obligation to eat out every night to fit in with a social circle either. Essentially, travelling overseas alone means you can be selfish at nobody else’s cost.
Enhance problem-solving abilities
Spending time alone is a good way to reflect and achieve clarity, especially if you need a bit of space in your life. Volunteering abroad gives you an insight into life on the other side of the world, and can help you solve your own problems by helping others with theirs. On a more practical level, you’ll come up against challenges during your volunteer project - there are different ways of doing things elsewhere in the world that you might not be accustomed to, for example. Solving these problems can provide you with new skills and a different outlook.
There are wide-ranging benefits to solo volunteer vacations. Making a difference where it matters most can be all the more effective when you commit to a project free from distraction. Learn how to rely on yourself, gain a boost in confidence, make new friends from around the world and develop your skills when you volunteer solo. To find out what uVolunteer has to offer individual travelers, check out our program guide today.