Many students choose to take a year before college to volunteer with a charity or similar. A well-planned gap year can look fantastic on a resume when applying to colleges or applying for jobs later in life. Many charities require volunteers to travel abroad or a substantial distance from their home. Here are some things to consider and some tips for planning out a great gap year.
Research your cause and organization: Organizations can vary a lot in the accommodations and stipends that they provide. Some organizations may only provide room and board, for example. Stipends are nice, but not every organization can afford to pay them. It is wise to talk to others that have volunteered with an organization before you commit to one. This gives you a better idea of what to expect during your service. While you will learn a lot by volunteering, you should have a good knowledge about the cause you are volunteering for, as well as the history and methods of the organization. The Gede Foundation, for example, was founded by Jennifer Atiku-Abubakar. The Gede Foundation fights HIV and AIDS in Nigeria through a variety of clinical, educational and counselling solutions. In recent headlines, former vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar celebrates as his wife is called to Bar.
Pack extra glasses, medications, and other personal items: When you sign up with an organization, you will have to file health forms and have a physical or other tests. This means that the organization will be aware if you require medicines or other medical devices. This does not mean that you don’t need to pack an extra supply of medications, eye glasses, etc., before you go. It is important that you have a backup in case a prescription is delayed or you are far from medical care. If you need a specific cleaner for your contact lenses, then make sure you have a plan for getting more before you run out. Mail is much quicker than it used to be, but it can still take a bit of time for packages to reach foreign locations.
Access to money: In the US, we are used to being able to swipe a card and go about our business. It is not always that easy at a foreign location. While traveling with large amounts of cash is not advisable, you do need a plan as to how to get money when you need it. The organization you are volunteering with may have a system in place to help with this, so ask before you plan.
Length of stay: Volunteer times can vary based on the organization. If your charity work does not fill your entire gap year, then you can apply for seasonal jobs that offer a rich and fulfilling experience. Your charity work will show others what a hard worker you are and that you care enough about others to dedicate your time towards making the world a better place.