Volunteering Abroad

By Julie Nguyen, Residence Advisor

Are you interested in volunteering abroad, but would like to know more about it?

Volunteering abroad, otherwise known as Voluntourism, has become somewhat of a trend among students at UBC. It is not uncommon to hear about students travelling to developing countries and doing humanitarian work. At the same time, if you have ever considered doing so yourself, you may be unsure of what to expect on voluntourism trips.

Here are a few things to consider before you embark on your own humanitarian adventure:

a)      Determine the purpose of your trip abroad

Why would you like to engage in this type of travel, and what purpose is it fulfilling? It is important to ask this question in order to figure out If you can fulfill your purpose through another activity.

b)      Determine the skills and abilities that you can offer to other countries.

Voluntourism is a great opportunity to broaden the scope of your personal development and skills, but also to offer your current expertise to others. Think about what skills you would be comfortable making use of in a foreign country, most likely with people who may not speak the same language as you.

c)       Ask yourself some difficult questions and be honest about your expectations.

Here are ten questions from Voluntourism.org that you should answer before volunteering abroad:

–          What is my personal minimum requirement for accommodation?

–          How much money can I really spend on VolunTourism?

–          What portion of my trip would I like to dedicate to volunteering and to travelling?

–          Am I mentally and emotionally ready to work on humanitarian issues? (E.g. poverty, starvation, deprivation, poor health, etc.)

The following write up was inspired by and based on Voluntourism.org. For more information, please visit that website, or check out the following:

Ethical considerations for voluntourism:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *