Lots of students want to spend their year abroad volunteering, but are put off by the costs – how on earth can you live abroad for a year with no money? I felt the same way, until I found out the European Voluntary Service. I’ve just graduated with a degree in French and Russian, and I’m currently doing a year-long voluntary project in Samara, Russia, working for an international youth exchange charity called Lastochki. Other volunteers I know here are working in kindergartens, hospitals and with disabled people. We’re learning lots, having great fun, speaking Russian all day every day at our projects, and none of us has paid a penny!
Alex is studying Religious Studies and Spanish at Cardiff University, and spent his year abroad interning in a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Northern Spain. He says "it's been a ridiculously good opportunity which came from simply sending off a load of CVs last year!" Here's his advice about working for Cives Mundi and tips to help you find an internship for your year abroad.
Elliott Waring is studying Spanish and PR at Leeds Met and is on his year abroad in Barcelona. You can follow his blog about his experiences, but in the meantime here is an excerpt about his volunteering experience at the X Games and how being bilingual is giving him more opportunities.
In November 2000, Alan and Pamela Skuse left their home on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, to volunteer at an orphanage in Tapachula, southern Mexico, for 12 months. The orphanage closed down after six months however, leaving the Skuses with a life changing decision: to return to Australia, or take on the overwhelming challenge of caring for the seven children full time.
Leaving the children to return to the streets and lives of poverty and abuse was not an option so, despite the lack of resources and support, the couple decided to take on the huge responsibility of establishing their own refuge, ’Albergue, Misión México, Dando Amor, Vida y Esperanza’ (Mission Mexico Refuge, Giving Love, Life and Hope).
I’m writing this from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I’ve been working as a volunteer in a favela for the last three months. The organisation I’m volunteering for is Iko Poran and I’m living in a shared house in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood with other volunteers. I study Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at Newcastle University and wanted to share my year abroad experience so far, so here’s a snippet!
Karen studied French and European Union Studies at The University of Edinburgh and spent her year abroad in Rennes, France, where she studied political sciences at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques Rennes. After graduation she spent three months in Burkina Faso and is now working as Women's Project Intern at the Moroccan Children's Trust in their London office. We interviewed Karen about her own volunteering experiences, and why the Moroccan Children's Trust is a great charity for year abroaders to get involved with.
These tried-and-tested apps will help you plan, enjoy and make the most of your time abroad...