If you decide to join programs for volunteering abroad already possess the most important qualification: the desire to make a positive change. Some people might cringe at the idea of wanting to change the world, but there are a lot of volunteers out there who had made it their life’s work. And yet, the challenges that the volunteers faced are often overlooked. Setting out into a foreign country with a culture that you are not familiar with among other challenging conditions can be tough even for experienced volunteers. Nothing could ever prepare you for what is to come once you decide to venture out into a new country and new projects.
To become successful and efficient as a Nepal volunteer, however, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. If you are volunteering abroad, it pays to incorporate these things into your planning stage.
Step 1: Learn about the culture before you go.
Whether you work as part of a volunteer Nepal medical team or teaching kids in Nepal, you will be expected to deal with the local people. Do not just show up and expect for things to be easy if you learn about the culture as you are there. Instead, do yourself a favor and learn as much about the culture even before you go. This will help prevent culture shock as you already know what to expect. There are little behaviors that you are used to back at home that might be culturally unacceptable in your chosen destination. Hence, you can save yourself the embarrassment and the shock during the cultural exchange by doing the research beforehand.
Step 2: Learn the language.
This is another important step that reliable volunteers need to do – learn the language. Language is the most important aspect of a country’s culture. It is also something that you rely on to communicate with the locals when volunteering in Nepal. If you can speak the language, you will find it easier to communicate and the locals will embrace you more easily. If you think that learning how to speak the language is a lot of work, you can start with common phrases or words. You do not have to speak the language fluently. If you know the common phrases, then you could make the transition easier for you, and for the locals.
Step 3: Be realistic about what you intend to accomplish.
Some volunteers are so keen on wanting to make a change or create a positive impact that they tend to set unrealistic expectations about what they can do. But no matter how you prepare for your volunteer stint, there are tough conditions that will meet you once you get there. Whether it is geographic, economic, political or religious, you cannot undo the damage that has hit a country. Hence, focus on your “small” victories and efforts and be proud of what you’ve done for them.
Volunteering abroad will never be easy no matter how many times you’ve volunteered in the past. The steps and tips above are designed to make the transition easier. However, each country is different so you have to adjust your approach accordingly. If you think you are ready, you can visit https://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad/ to explore different volunteer programs that you could join in.