It’s been a buzzword for quite some time and still, it’s something many people don’t like to associate themselves with or that can seem downright controversial – volunteering. The notion of altruistically providing a service without any financial gain is nothing new and yet, in light of an ever-changing international context, it seems to become more relevant than ever, especially among young people.

Going abroad and working as a volunteer might not have crossed your mind before, or you may have simply thought you’re not cut out for it. If you’re looking for more reasons not to embark on what could end up being the greatest adventure of your life, keep reading:

  1. You’ll get to know a different culture, and I don’t mean just by looking from afar, as if you would watch a movie, but actually immersing yourself in everything it has to offer – understanding customs and traditions, as well as learning the meaning behind all of it.
  2. You’ll see incredible places that you might have never thought you’d end up witnessing. Whether it’s something you’ve always wanted to visit or a hidden spot, unknown to usual tourists, you can be sure you’ll remain speechless at least once or twice.
  3. You’ll be faced with a new language that’s nothing like yours and that you never imagined you’ll want to learn. Although you won’t become an expert in six weeks, by the time you return home you’ll surely have some cool phrases to teach your friends.
  4. You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone and learn to deal with unexpected situations. No matter where you decide to go, you can be sure something will pop up that will force you to rethink your course of action, and guess what? You’ll be a better, more capable person by the end of it.
  5. You’ll become more aware, not only of what things are like outside of your own reality, but also of who you are as a person, of what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can best put them to use in order to help change something in the world.
  6. You’ll meet people that will change your life, either by exposing you to a different worldview or by teaching you something about yourself or the planet. Whatever you decide to do, the people you meet along the way will always be the greatest component of journey and the thing you’ll value most after it’s over.
  7. You’ll gain a new perspective on who you are, what you want to achieve and what your role in the grand scheme of things is. You can be sure that by the end of your experience there’s going to be someone completely different staring back when you look in the mirror, because of all the way you’ve developed in.
  8. You’ll get to explore interests you didn’t think to pay attention to before. Whether it’s discovering your love for sharing knowledge with others or a secret passion for fields like photography, there’s definitely something to be gained out of having freedom to do new things.
  9. You’ll gain leadership skills that will help you in everything you do after you come back. Your studies, your career and your personal life will all have to benefit from the abilities you develop while being a volunteer. And no matter the field you want to be active in, you can be sure leadership is going to make a difference.
  10. You’ll become an agent of change by actively working on making the world a better place. Having the chance to do your part and leave your mark in the community you’ll live in by contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals will be something that you’ll always remember and that will definitely transform the way you think about world issues.

If the list we put together doesn’t appeal to you one bit, it might mean that you’re that rare unicorn that really shouldn’t try volunteering; but if it did – and we have a feeling you’re at least a tiny bit curious- then why not give it a try and discover all the amazing things it has in store for you? Go to aiesec.org and find your opportunity!

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