A volunteer works with young children on a high school summer travel programme abroad

7 reasons why summer volunteering abroad for high school students is a good idea

The reasons why volunteering abroad in summer 2019 for teens is a good idea
By Daryll Williams | 30th January, 2019

Disconnecting has never been more enticing.


There’s a big chance that a hectic school schedule, the 24/7 news cycle, and distracting social media is consuming you on a daily basis. As a result, it’s safe to assume that you often neglect looking for opportunities to expand your horizons and immerse yourself in an experience completely out of your comfort zone.


High school summer travel programmes can provide you with the chance to disconnect, develop your skills, and help you discover what you’re capable of at the same time.

The benefits of teenage volunteer opportunities abroad

We believe that travel can be transformative. Especially when you’re able to share experiences and integrate with people, cultures, and environments different from those you’re used to. Volunteering abroad is one of the great ways to achieve this, and you can already start getting the hang of it as a student in high school! 


Whether you have a country on your bucket list you’ve always wanted to visit, or a certain activity you want to try, we can help you find the perfect High School Special to make your summer one you’ll never forget. So why stay home this summer, when you can see the world?

High School Specials volunteers pose for a group photo at Wild at Tuli game reserve

If you’re – understandably – a bit nervous about spreading your wings, remember to focus on the positive impacts that volunteering abroad as a 15, 16, 17 or 18 year old will bring:


1. You’ll learn real-world skills that aren’t found in classrooms


As a student, it’s the perfect time to explore different career paths and find your passion.


On one of our High School Specials you’ll have the unique chance to see if the field of medicine is right for you, whether you really want to work with children, or if law and human rights truly is your calling. Regardless of which project you choose, you can use the experience as a test run for your eventual studies. On top of that, the cultural awareness will immediately set you apart from fellow applicants. You might even learn a new language or improve your existing second language skills.


“My favourite part of my medical placement was the ability to talk to the doctors; whether it was explaining a patient’s situation, or helping me to figure out how to do the perfect stitch. Every day was different and this made my experience so much more interesting and helped solidify my desire to pursue a medical degree.” Kaylie E, Medicine & Spanish High School Special in Argentina.


2. You’ll build global friendships and connections


One of the most enriching experiences of volunteering abroad are the friendships you’ll inevitably build. You’ll spend time with likeminded people and work towards the same goals together.


You’ll develop friendships with fellow high school students who have lived a life completely different from your own. Together, you’ll form priceless memories to keep with you for the rest of your life. On top of that, it is great to become part of a global community of volunteers who share the same experiences as you.


"The other volunteers came from all over the world: Italy, France, England, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, America and Nigeria. Having such a multicultural family made the experience extremely fun and interesting, as we shared things about our own cultures and taught each other different languages." Jenny G, Childcare & Community Work in South Africa.
South African Childcare volunteers relax after a community day.

3. You’ll contribute to a long-term positive impact


Doing good and caring about others doesn’t have an age limit. In fact, your teenage years are a great time to learn about global issues. Our short-term High School Specials also contribute to our existing long-term goals. By volunteering abroad during this time in your life, you can turn your travel into a force for good. The spirit of volunteering, above all else, is founded on the idea of giving back so much more than you get. It is an invaluable experience, and it will undoubtedly be one of the most unique summer holiday experiences of your high school years.


4. You’ll get to work in a team


Another key skill you’ll develop is teamwork. Making your project a success will involve working closely with different kinds of people. This will include local staff, community members, and other volunteers, many of whom you might otherwise never interact with. And although this might sound like a challenge at first, we can assure you it ultimately makes for a fun and rewarding experience.


5. You’ll develop confidence and independence


Adapting to culture shock, trying different foods, and (finally) getting away from your parents are all part of the experience! We’ve found that volunteers often return home with a sense of self-confidence in their abilities to problem solve and adapt to life’s challenges - and this is a great mindset to have! You’ll also have round-the-clock support and 24/7 safety measures in place to ensure you have the best experience possible.


"My time in Peru, even if short, was very sweet and left me memories that I will always remember! I went alone, something which I was scared about at the beginning, but actually turned out to be the best option and really helped me with my confidence." Jordana B, Childcare & Community Work in Peru.
High School Specials volunteers paint an educational mural.

6. You’ll see the world from a different perspective


Sometimes, you have to leave home to appreciate it. Meeting people from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds, age groups, and cultures will stretch your mind to new outlooks on life. Summer volunteering abroad will shed new light and offer new insights on how you once viewed old issues. You’ll develop more empathy towards others and mature your ability to understand other people’s emotions and ideas.


7. You’ll discover a lifelong journey of volunteering ahead


It’s great to get a taste for volunteering when you’re young. Going abroad in your teens plants a seed for broadening your horizons during your twenties as well. And when volunteering or internship opportunities arise later in life, you’ll be more likely to grab them because you know all of the wonderful benefits it can bring.


But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on the two most important questions for now: where will you go to volunteer as a high school student, and what good work will you do in 2019?

Want to find out more about our High School Specials?

Contact one of our Project Experts for more information

1300 132 831

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