Are you planning to volunteer abroad? Obstacles come with the territory and it’s better to know them beforehand to be able to find solutions for overcoming them. While some of these problems are practical, others are in your mind; but both are very real and may come in the way of you having a meaningful volunteering trip if you ignore them.
While you have to overcome all these obstacles and more if you want to fulfill your desire to volunteer abroad, you need not get discouraged by them as solutions exist to each of these problems and you only have to look for them. Below are few of the common obstacles that would possibly occur while volunteering abroad and which needed to be dealt with seriously.
1. Fear of the unknown
If this is your first trip abroad, having doubts and fears are natural. Going to an unknown land and working with strangers is not easy. World media is active and you have heard horror stories of vacations becoming nightmares, volunteers being abducted and tortured and what not. Apart from that, you may also be worried about not being able to manage without home comforts, getting proper medical care or legal help, if required. The first obstacle in the way of volunteering is put up by our own sense of self preservation.
2. Commitments at home.
Even if you somehow overcome your fears, you still have to worry about family and work commitments. Responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children or your workplace may stop you from realizing your dream of volunteering in a foreign country.
3. Rules and Regulations
There are many barriers put by governments on travelling, in terms of detailed paperwork, getting visa, rules related to insurance and sometimes even advisories against travelling to certain places because of terrorism and threats.
4. Language barrier
It is difficult to get by in a foreign land without having at least some basic knowledge of the local language, especially if you are planning on spending a good length of time and working with the locals.
5. Cultural issues
It is quite likely that the culture of the country you are visiting is vastly different from that of your own. Be it social values, religion, dressing norms, you have to be prepared to adapt yourself to that culture for the time you are there or you will create hassles for yourself. If you find it difficult to be adaptable, culture will definitely be an obstacle for you during your trip.
6. Loneliness and depression
It can get terribly lonely and depressing to be among those strangers for a long time, especially if you are facing a language and culture barrier and as a result, are not able to cultivate friendship with co-workers. Not all of us are made the same way and if you find it difficult to make friends at home, you will find it doubly so abroad. Also, you may stop yourself from being friendly if you are unable to trust those around you.