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Choosing Where To Go

“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood”.
~ Sir Richard Burton – African Explorer ~

Choosing where to go and do your Overseas Volunteering, is an easy one! With opportunities in virtually every country around the world, the world literally becomes your “Oyster”.

There is, as always, a variety of factors to be considered, here’s a few to be thinking about:

A little common sense should tell you to avoid war torn areas like Iraq, unless you are for example, medically qualified and sign up with one of the larger organisations like the United Nations, which of course is a wonderful thing to do and promises to be a very exciting first (and possibly last,) Overseas Volunteering adventure, and I for one, will applaud you and shower you with admiration.

However, this post will assume you’re not quite ready to try your hand at ducking bombs,  jumping over landmines or evading capture from radical militia, at least, not the first time out!

There are of course many countries that are generally peaceful but have volatile borders you may want to stay clear off,  like Thailand/Malaysia etc

Most Governments issue warnings and advice on travelling to undesirable  or potentially volatile locations and this information can be viewed on their websites. For Great Britain the website is : www.fco.gov.uk.

Most people will start by choosing their location either by picking a continent or country that they have always wanted to visit, i.e: South-East Asia, Africa, South or central America or by choosing what they want to do when they volunteer.

The amount of time you have to spare for a project may also play a part in where you travel to. If for example you have literally only got one or two weeks spare, you may find you’ll end up losing quite a bit of time travelling to and from airports/ flying to far flung countries, not to mention the time you can spend adjusting to different time zones!

It may well be more rewarding to spend your time more locally, for instance, if you’re living in England and have a week or two to go volunteering, it could be worth considering Eastern Europe, the Ukraine, Belarus etc, instead of Chile or the Philippines!

Whilst we are on the subject, you may also want to consider the flight time,  if you’ve not flown far before, 9 – 24hrs on a plane or planes, can seem a little daunting first time regardless of how excited you are! If the thought of flying makes you a little anxious, check out “Overcome Your Fear of Flying Now!”, a superb book on controlling your anxiety or fears.

Often, particularly in third world countries, you’ll need up-to-date inoculations for a whole variety of possible illnesses like typhoid, tetanus, yellow fever etc. Your local travel clinic or doctor can arrange these for you. Some countries may even refuse you entry if you are not fully uptodate with your jabs!

Now all of this may seem as though I’m actually trying to put you off going, not so, I’m just pointing out some facts that may end up dictating were you go.

6 Responses to “Choosing Where To Go”

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  2. Tessa Skelton says:

    I enjoyed reading your article and appreciate having the factors to consider/pitfalls being given so clearly by a seasoned volunteer. Thank you

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