Top Tips for Volunteering with Children Abroad
If you are planning a volunteer vacation there are plenty of options available. We find some of our most popular trips include applying to work with children in the developing world where you can help with education and development. If this experience appeals to you then read on as Melissa Woodbury shares her top preparation tips and how to make the most of the experience whilst overseas.
Before You Go
- Learn about their culture to have a greater understanding of the people.
- Have more than one debit/ credit card. When I was in Sri Lanka, I was in a touristy area and went to an ATM and it took my card. Luckily, I was able to get the card back the next day. This could have easily turned really bad.
- Bring a Polaroid camera. Then when you take pictures, the children will be able to keep some and have those same memories.
- Bring some small gifts for the children, such as stickers, pencils, or new books. I know when volunteering in Africa, the children love socks!
- Some schools will have a textbook for you to follow while other schools will just let you do your own thing. Be prepared! Have some games, songs, or ideas you may want to do while you are teaching. Ask the program about the age group you will be working with to help you prepare.
- Keep a journal to write down notes of stories or how you felt during your time there to remember everything. While I was there, I emailed stories and how the experience was to myself.
- I know it can seem overwhelming, but remember to just have fun!! They will learn the most when you’re relaxed and not thinking too hard!
- When I was in Sri Lanka, I was there for a month to volunteer. I was able to help in an orphanage, teach English at a government school and teach the monks. Talk to the volunteer coordinator, if you would like to volunteer in another way as well. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Stay for as long as you can. The longer the better, because that’s when you really get to know the children and can understand more what they want to learn.
By Melissa Woodbury