Monday, November 15, 2010
Choosing the best time to volunteer abroad
One overlooked item when planning to volunteer abroad is time. Many volunteers look at project location, program, project duration and cost. Many of them don’t factor in the best time to of the year to volunteer abroad. As with travelling abroad, time of the year to volunteer overseas is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors include, season, weather, peak, and off peak .Finding the best time to volunteer has many advantages as you can make most of budget deals and volunteer work. Although predicting when is the best time to volunteer overseas or travel abroad is not an exact science volunteers should make the most of the advice available. Not planning when to volunteer abroad leads to many participants being disappointed and frustrated. In order to avoid being disappointed volunteers should choose the best time to volunteer abroad by considering the following:
Volunteer abroad program
There are numerous programs being offered to potential volunteers, but some are time sensitive. For example volunteer conservation projects which involve animals and marine life. This is because most animals migrate from one region and move to other regions. For example wildebeest migration from Kenya to Tanzania occurs between March to July, in the following months there will be few wildebeest left in Kenya until the months of August and September. The migration patterns are not easy to predict and one should be careful when planning short volunteer programs. Apart from wildlife and marine programs, there are others like Volunteer teaching whereby they are not available. During certain months the schools are closed and the programs cannot go on. As volunteer, one should work with the school calendar and migration patterns in order not to miss out.
When leaving home for another country the volunteers should consider public holidays of the countries they are going to. Most public holidays are only a day and in those days many government offices and some public institutions are closed. Others are much longer and meaning accessing the government offices are closed. Apart from national holidays there are religious holidays like Christmas, Ramadan, Easter, Lent, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, Hanukkah, and Boxing Day. Other holidays include Labor Day, New years day which are celebrated in different days of the year depending on the country. These days will affect your volunteer vacation as most people will not be working in those days. Knowing significant holidays on the country the volunteering helps you to plan on the best days to visit. Some volunteers go to certain countries in order to see how they celebrate their national holidays for example many people go to see bull fighting in Spain.
Visiting countries during the high seasons or peak seasons things are very expensive. Hotels and hostel, airfares and restaurants are very highly priced during this period. Not planning when to volunteer abroad leads to many participants being disappointed and frustrated. Peak and off peak seasons vary according to where the volunteer is, in s/he is at home it could be off peak but it could be peak to where they are going. To take advantage of budget deals the volunteers should constantly look at airline websites and to find out which is the best time to buy airline tickets. The best time for any volunteer to travel is normally during the shoulder seasons, this is normally during the high and low season. This is when airlines, hotels and hostels offer the best deals on the seasons. Also during this time other volunteers will be available. During the off-peak season there are normally fewer volunteers and foreigners. Sometimes with volunteer will be the only foreigner and could be very lonely.
Lastly, volunteers should consider in which season they are travelling. They should consider the season of the destination country rather than their own. In certain seasons it’s not practical to volunteer due to weather patterns. In Florida for example during the months of June to September is tornado season and it is normally difficult for volunteers. Also in certain parts of Africa, especially in rural areas due to heavy rainfall there is normally flash flooding and the rivers burst their banks. With the flooding it is hard to access basic resources and moving around is very difficult. In other parts of the world there are typhoon seasons in which the volunteer should try and avoid. In certain seasons there is a high prevalent of diseases for example Malaria infection is highest during the rainy seasons.