1. What are you looking from your volunteering experience?
The first thing you should consider is the type of project, since there are many
tasks to do in one place. It could be cleaning a hostel, harvesting vegetables,
doing art projects, construction, helping with the internet, teaching a
language or taking care of a pet. It is very important to know what you are looking for from
volunteering so as to narrow your search accordingly.
2. Carefully choose the place
It is important to
think about where you want to go. Sometimes choosing a remote and isolated
place, without other volunteers with whom to share time, gives us the chance to
disconnect and relax but also, if we have any difficult days, it can work
against us since we have nowhere to go and no opportunity to socialise. Or,
sometimes, choosing a city with a totally different culture from our own, or a
place with an extreme climate, can makes things challenging for us, but that is
all part of the experience too and this is where you adaptation skills will
come in handy!
3. Read previous reviews
Reading the reviews
written by previous volunteers is always important. You can see how the
host behaves with the volunteers, if the amount of hours dedicated to the tasks
is fair and if it conforms to what is described in the offer. You can also see
if, in previous cases, there were problems with other volunteers and thus try
to avoid them in advance.
4. Communication with the host
Make sure you have fluent
communication with the host, always be honest, and clear. Get rid of any doubts you have. It is
better to arrive at the place knowing what awaits you so as to not to be
surprised later! Make sure it is clear what tasks are to be carried out, the
number of hours you are asked to work, the arrival date, the period of stay,
where you will sleep, if the food is included or not.
involves, in many cases, leaving your comfort zone. You may be going to
live in a country with a different culture, or you may try foods that are not
what you usually eat at home. Keep in mind that in some places, the hosts are
vegetarians and you will have to adapt to eat vegetarian food. You also may
meet people who do not speak your language. Don’t be closed to anything, be open. Enjoy
every second as a learning experience.
6. Prepare in case something goes wrong
Travelling is not
always easy and, like everything in life, some things can go wrong. It may
even happen that your expectations are not fulfilled. Do not despair. Try not
to feel uncomfortable, be honest and talk to the host, and together you may be
able to work things out. In the worst case scenario, have a plan B by having
chosen a ‘back-up’ project at the ready to contact.
7. Enjoy and learn
Experiment and enjoy
every moment! Take advantage of
every opportunity that comes your way! You are going to experience moments
that you never thought you would! And most importantly, do not limit yourself,
enjoy and give the best of yourself and we at Hovos are part of the journey with you.