Many people would wish to volunteer their services for a worthy cause overseas. There is also the romantic idea of living in a different culture to yours for a while. They, however, need to prepare for such a change in their lives if they are to make the most of it.
You need to start by looking at the things that matter to you. You need to volunteer to work on something that shall bring change you wish to see. Your search for a suitable organization should have that as the primary criteria.
It helps to find out all you can about the area you shall be based. There are many things you will hear about life out there. There is also nothing quite like experiencing it first-hand. You are thus better reading more cultural, socio-economic and political facts about the destination.
You also need to examine what skills you have and what country you shall be applying them in. You need to be in a position to offer services that are needed in that region. Anything less and both parties shall be disappointed. You therefore need to make sure you are doing the right thing in the right place. This shall prevent you from wasting so much time and resources if you decide to quit in the middle of it.
You need to also think of your life and future career prospects. You will put down the details of such work in our resume. It helps if it something that shall add more value to it apart from the keen sense of volunteering.
You also need to volunteer only where you know you shall do as you have committed to. You should instil some sense of balance to work involved, if you are to do it well throughout. Your time there should allow you to have periods of recharging to get back to work highly motivated. Find out if there shall be sightseeing, visiting the region, free weekends, and such activities in between.
It is even better when you and a friend or colleague happen to be there together volunteering. You are who shall be there for one another. You do not have to do the same volunteer work, as long as you are regularly near each other.
You need to take time to measure and manage your expectations. You need to have less of what you think it shall be and more of an open mind. The reality of the ground serves as the best picture of what is to come. You need to be ready to work as soon as you arrive. Brace yourself for the culture shock, as this is the reality too.