Gap Year Volunteering
A volunteering gap year can be a fantastic experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, and here’s the ‘but’ – you need to prepare thoroughly to ensure you pick the right activity, and don't disrupt volunteer projects by backing out or leaving early.
Choosing the right voluntary project is the first step. If you follow traditional route, you will need to find a good, specialist, gap year organisation to arrange your volunteer project. Finally, checking all the dull but essential formalities should be central to your preparation.
In recent years, the actual contribution of the work carried out by some gap year volunteer projects has been brought into question, the usual allegation being that the more unscrupulous companies push the projects that will get the most bookings, even if the impact of what the volunteers do is limited or even detrimental. This is highly debatable and certainly not a reason to discount the idea, there are a great many fantastic companies, but it is a reason to do your homework and ask the right questions before you book.
The key is to approach a wide range of organisations and look into their company values, experience and support networks. Next to some of the placements listed over there on the right you will see a link to a ‘company profile’ where one has been submitted. Here you can read into the organisations core values and get some background information. You will also find a link to their website if they have one where you can usually find first hand accounts from volunteers. This should be the absolute minimum research you do. The point is to pick a volunteer project that suits your needs and abilities, do your research, and to go into it without the rose tinted specs on.
Volunteer Work Categories