How volunteering abroad helps you make the most of your summer break

There’s that word, volunteering, where most undergraduates and people in general automatically attach a negative connotation.

The thing is though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you take the time to actually look at a voluntary opportunity in depth, not only can it be hugely rewarding, but open up more opportunities later on in your career. Now if you add the element of doing volunteering abroad into that equation, you can potentially experience something very special.


In this article I will talk about how taking a voluntary opportunity abroad is an effective use of your time during your summer break and also how it can benefit you when applying for future jobs.

Without generalising I bet that if you asked the majority of your friends what their plans are for the summer break, most would consist of holidays, partying, and generally just hanging around. However you can find a small niche of students who think long-term and outside the box and choose to do a summer voluntary placement abroad, and it’s these students who reap the benefits over the course of time.

Benefits to your long term career objectives
I work with and advise many students, and most have the general notion of voluntary work just being a crappy job for no pay, but in reality, if you can find some voluntary work that is related to your studies and give you some industry experience or skills, employers will look at you more favourably over other graduates who have chosen not to.

Combine this with the possibility of gaining some industry experience abroad within a different culture and now you become someone with a lot more to offer. You see, the thing is, employers value cross cultural experiences. I would know as I have contact with many recruiters.

For example a student who has undertaken a marketing or administration role in an Asian country will be able to give a different perspective about the role to a western employer and vice versa.

Imagine that when you graduate and apply for your first job within your industry that the recruiter or hiring manager looks at your CV and they can see that you have gained experience from doing one or two voluntary placements abroad within a similar role. How could they not be impressed?

Remember experience is what matters, voluntary or otherwise. However experience in a different culture, is priceless.

Benefits to your personal development
Many students who I have met that have done a voluntary placement abroad tend to have a richer and wider perspective on things. In addition to having more interesting things to talk about, they are able to see things from different angles and are more creative when problem solving.

It is said that the more you expand your sphere of experience, the more well-rounded a person you become. Some key elements in life as well as in a professional context are the ability to adapt, be flexible, absorb new information quickly, and execute in unfamiliar surroundings. These are all areas you will explore and expand upon in a voluntary placement abroad.

Finally you will get the opportunity to meet and interact with people that you wouldn’t usually, create memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life, and expose yourself to a different culture and outlook on life in general.

Be different
Due to social pressures many students tend to follow the norm and do what the majority of their friends are doing. I urge you to think and be different by exploring opportunities to develop yourself professionally and personally by doing a voluntary placement abroad during your summer break.

The benefits to you in the long-term outweigh the short-term benefits of a conventional summer break.

Check out these links to start applying for your volunteering opportunity…
In Asia:
In Europe:
In Latin America:


This article was written by Rohan Harris. He is the founder of, Director at Gouni Careers, consultant and public speaker. He is passionate about careers, guiding young people, personal & Professional development, as well as business.

The main goal of Inter-CV is to assist students in their career journey while in the UK, ensuring they make the right decisions to enter their desired industry. You can find out more at