If you're looking for both a fun and meaningful way to occupy your summer holidays, consider volunteering overseas. The chance to travel and make a difference in a community is not only a great experience but is also something you can proudly add to your resum├®.
"Volunteering gives people the opportunity to help out in a place they're needed that might not have the opportunity to give a paid internship or pay somebody to work full-time," says Chad Allen, director of program development at International Student Volunteers (ISV).
ISV is an organization that conducts volunteer and travel programs for students around the world. Their four-week programs consist of a two-week volunteer project and a two-week adventure tour. On the volunteer projects, students have the opportunity to work with local children or assist with environmental and wildlife conservation in host countries that ISV works with.
"The criteria we look for in our volunteer projects is that there's a genuine need by the host organization," says Allen. These projects must also be safe, fun, and have both short- and long-term goals that can be accomplished overtime.
Jane Marino, an ISV alumna has participated in four volunteer projects with the company. From protecting endangered turtles in Costa Rica to rescuing illegally sold animals in Ecuador, Marino says the experiences have truly changed her life for the better.
"I learned to really appreciate the luxuries I have and to give back my time, resources, and energy whenever possible to those in need," she says.
"Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to travel, it gives you the opportunity to interact and experience new cultures, and it gives you the opportunity to combine something that you're passionate about with the ability to help people in communities that are in need," adds Allen.
Travelling and volunteering are two of Marino's passions. "When I was faced with the decision to work another mundane summer job in Ohio or visit an exotic country, learn a language, and make a positive difference, the choice was simple," she says, adding that she's always worked one to two jobs to support herself while at school.
Volunteer work is also an excellent piece to add to your resum├® and portfolio.
"With the job market getting more and more competitive, people are always looking for something to put on their resum├®s that will make them stand out," says Marino. "Several graduate programs even require their applicants to complete a certain number of volunteer hours as an undergraduate student."
According to Marino, volunteers who complete over 100 hours of service with ISV are presented with one of two awards. The President's Volunteer Service Award for those residing within the United States, and the Global Volunteer Citizen Award for Canadians and those coming from other countries around the world.
"Volunteering abroad will not only set you apart from others when applying for jobs, graduate programs, and med school, but it will also enrich your life in so many ways."