Updated: Jan 27
One of the FAQ: How do I pick the best country? 🤯
Yup, it's true it can be tricky and hard to only choose one! Especially when there are over 100 poor countries in the world. Been there.. But guess what!? It's easier than you think! Let me share with you my best advice.
1. Ask your friends.
Yup! You might think that they won't be able to help because they've never gone volunteering abroad, but you never know! They may help you by asking their friends and someone will know someone else and the chain will grow until you find an experienced International Volunteer. Have you heard about the Six degrees of separation? It is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. Cool right? So what I would recommend you to do is: Post it on social media! You'll be surprised.
Just invented the term :) Continent, Country, City.
First choose a Continent according to your available time, budget, skills, and likes. For example, if you only have a week to volunteer, you can opt for the Continent you are at, it will make things easier and you won't spend an entire day (or more) moving from one Continent to another. But if you have a month or more, the other side of the world sounds like a great idea!
Take into account your budget, the further you go, the more expensive it can be (at least the flight). This might not always be true, for example, it costs almost the same a flight ticket from the US to Europe and from the US to Brazil -and we are in the same continent. Your budget will tell us as well if we would need to pick a more affordable country.
What about the weather? Does it play an important role? Sure it does. Let's say you can't stand the heat, well, my friend, avoid going to extremely hot places. Or if you live in a warm place try not to pick (mostly in your first volunteering trips), very cold places. It might become an expensive trip since you would need extra clothing or stuff.
Last but not least of the most important things to consider: the language. Would you mind not speaking the same language? Take into account that not everyone speaks English, specially in remote villages. If you don't mind communicating with signs like a mime, go ahead! You'll have lots of fun trying to communicate, I promise you!
3. Look for a country that truly needs help.
We all agree that most of the world needs help, and what I mean with: "a country that truly needs it", is to find places were they might need it more, where support is harder to get from the government, where the society in need is bigger than the ones who can help.
I've heard maaaany people telling me: "Why don't you stay in Mexico to help instead of going to other countries? Yours needs you enough already" Sure it does! I am aware of that, and of course I do campaigns and more. But the idea of helping in other countries as well goes beyond all those points of view (I'll make a post about it, promise!).
You can google: "Poorest countries in the world", and go from those. *Remember to always keep yourself safe, avoid countries in war or big conflicts that might be dangerous. Those countries can be helped in another way without putting your life in danger :) we love you and want you safe.
4. Feel the connection, the excitement in your heart.
If you read Part 2 of this article (My personal Experience), you'll see how Thailand was in my heart, I couldn't explain it with words but I just felt inside me that it was the place where I wanted to do my first Volunteering trip.
If you don't feel any country in your heart yet, is fine! You can always use the other 4 tips or ask for a clue. It might sound a bit weird for you if you've never done it before, but I talk to God, the universe, and my mom. I mean, no literally - it's not like a conversation, but you can try that, too. Talk to whoever you believe in, and if you don't believe in anyone, just ask your heart: Please send me signs of where is the best place for me to go. Please let me know how it goes :) if it works -or it doesn't- send me a message, I would love to know about it, please!
5. Join an community
If indecisiveness gets the better of you, you can always reach out to experienced volunteers for their suggestions. There are many International Associations that you can connect with and either join them or ask them for some advice!
Some (reliable) examples are: The Red Cross, UNICEF, UNHCR, the UN Volunteers, and VSO.
Ooooor, you can also join our community! 🤗 We might not be as big as the United Nations, but we will be close to you guiding you through the process like that experienced volunteer friend you need to clear out all your doubts! Click here to get in touch with us!
EXCITED ALREADY?! We're here to help you choose the ideal country for you, the perfect program for your likes and skills, find the funds for your trip, and give you our best advice to prepare you for a life changing experience! Join our 4-week online course: Becoming an International Volunteer.
See you on the next post and on Social Media!
Wishing you always the best,