How can volunteering help you in your job search ?

Visit Projects Abroad for more information on volunteering opportunities

1. Your organisation began with students wanting a break from gap year. Do you believe that gap year activities such as volunteering are helpful to students later on in their careers?

Taking a gap year is a great way to see another part of the world as well as getting some experience and making a difference. The experience that you get on a gap year adds to a CV. Any employer that sees that you have worked with children in a small school in Southern India or have worked on a conservation project in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in Peru will be able to see that you have something that stands out. You are not the ordinary applicant. You pick up a wide range of different skills.

2. What can be drawn from the volunteering experience that might be useful for a career in business? Some volunteer experiences, such as environmental science, are more pronounced connections. How can all students benefit?

Some projects are directly relevant to a career aspiration. A medical project will help a potential doctor or nurse. A journalism project will help an aspiring journalist. Many of the skills you pick up are relevant in any career. Living with a nomadic group in Mongolia will show any employer that you are adaptable. Working successfully with a group of forty children in an orphanage in Bolivia will show that you are able to manage people. Learning to live a very different style of life without a hot shower for a couple of months in Ghana or Sri Lanka will show an employer you can probably fit into most situations.

3. Is it possible to have a lifetime career with NGOs?

Working within NGO's is a career option. It is a difficult career area to get a job in. On top of the qualifications you will inevitably need you will need to get plenty of experience usually volunteering.

4. Your website mentions internshipsin journalism. Please elaborate more on internships for students and how they can benefit from these opportunities.

Working overseas on a Projects Abroad internship often gives you the opportunity to get more experience than if you are at home. You will need to work hard and show loads of enthusiasm but you can often get great work experience. If you write for a Ghanaian newspaper you will be able to get articles published, if you work for a radio station you will be able to do some presenting, if you work with a localdoctor you will be able to go into an operation. The more interest that you show the more you will be able to do.

5. Do you offer TEFL certification in conjunction with teaching abroad as a volunteer?

With Projects Abroad you don't need a TEFL qualification to join one of our teaching projects. This is because in most cases volunteers focus on teaching conversational English rather than teaching the grammar and theory side of things. If you want to get paid teaching work overseas or work in schools long term a TEFL is a necessary qualification.

6. I noticed you have long term trips for up to one year available. What are these volunteer programs for and what is involved? What relevant experiences can be drawn from them and what will be learned from this experience?

Projects Abroadorganises placements for anything from a month to a year. Some volunteers choose to join a year long programme which is great. It gives you a real opportunity to get to know the place and get involved with the project. If you are teaching or working in an orphanage you can really see the students develop over the year. The longer length of placement means that you can really show employers that you can really stick at a job for the long term.

7. How does international volunteering shape the way a young person's future career will be in a way that domestic volunteering cannot do?

Any volunteering is a real positive not just for the CV but also for the individual. International volunteering gives volunteers a real confidence.It shows them that they can work in a very different environment. There are often additional skills you pick up volunteering overseas such as being able to speak another language.

8. What are some common traits you see in volunteers who do well and then go on to excel in the job world?

Volunteers who do well overseas will usually transfer those skills to when they get home. To be a successful volunteer you need to be flexible and adaptableas well as determined. Often the confidence that volunteers get from their overseas volunteering is reflected in their performances in the work place when they get home.

9. Your site seems to be targeted towards students. Do you also accept older people and those who are not in school programs for your volunteering? Are there any restrictions on who you accept as a volunteer?

Projects Abroad have volunteers joining our programmes from 17-70 years old. We have a wide range of different volunteers from gap year students and university students to career breakers and retired volunteers. Often older volunteers are able to bring some of the skills they have from the workplace to their projects overseas. We welcome volunteers of all ages.

10. Can you tell me about some important skills that may help a volunteer adjust to a new country, and how they can acquire these skills? Does your company offer any kind of skills training, such as language courses, to help volunteers prepare for and adjust to the volunteer experience?

Volunteers who join Projects Abroad are sent a full briefing before they arrive at their project overseas. The main induction takes place when they arrive in their destination. This covers a wide range of topics from the day to day skills of living in a very different part of the world to the specific skills of how to work in the rainforest or in a school.