What the Best Volunteer Abroad Programs Can Do for You

The best volunteer abroad programs are the ones that provide students like you with life-changing experiences and work that has a responsible and sustainable impact.

A lot of people are motivated by the desire to make a difference, and do something important with their lives. And why shouldn’t you be? Wanting to make a positive impact, no matter how small, is an admirable goal. The challenge comes with figuring out how exactly to accomplish this.

Making a difference, doing something important— these phrases are often associated with volunteering at home or abroad. However, if you want to maximize the good you do, it’s important to choose the right kind of domestic or international volunteer opportunities. It’s easy to find volunteer opportunities abroad through programs that are only surface level. This kind of experience has often been dubbed “voluntourism,” and as such, it is something that the best volunteer abroad programs will avoid.

But with all the programs out there for students in high school to volunteer abroad, how do you choose what’s best?

The best way to choose a gap year or volunteer abroad program? Make sure that you have the right priorities going into your decision making process. Be wary of any organization that promises you seemingly grand rewards like the opportunity to change the world or solve poverty on your trip. 

Center your volunteering goals around understanding the world’s problems, learning to see challenges and opportunities from a local’s perspective, and working together with communities on the issues that matter most to them. This is the type of work that will make the most potent difference.

Take Action Lab is an immersive learning program that prioritizes depth and connection to help students have the best experience possible. What makes Take Action Lab go beyond the best volunteer abroad programs is that we prioritize meaningful experiences, through the following:

Research-backed Curriculum

With Take Action Lab, you’ll become part of a global student community, and together you’ll learn about becoming a changemaker, and the difference between “real good” and “feel good” when it comes to making an impact. Your ability to collaborate across lines of difference, contribute to meaningful projects and work with others will be hugely affected by this curriculum. 


Immersion and Apprenticeship 

With Take Action Lab, you will be fully immersed in a community abroad. You will become a part of the local community, forming relationships that will last a lifetime. This is the kind of international volunteer opportunity that changes lives. Being able to really immerse yourself in the culture and connect with the people that your apprenticeship and volunteering is for, will teach you more about problem-solving and volunteer work than anything else.


A Lifelong Network 

In addition to the lifelong relationships you’ll build with your community, you will also build lifelong friendships with the other students. A typical class has 50 students from 25+ countries! Plus, you will have an entire network of alumni behind you as you start college. This community will be a huge support for you to lean on. Many volunteering abroad programs lack this focus on connection within the organization. Make sure as you volunteer overseas or elsewhere that you make connections that will last longer than the program does.

Looking to volunteer abroad?

See how Take Action Lab could align with your goals.

An Opportunity for Students Finishing High School to Volunteer Abroad

The best volunteer abroad programs after high school can present you with lifechanging experiences, as well as opportunities to boost your personal and professional skill set, and beef your resume up in the process. Take Action Lab offers students the chance to:


Spend extended time in a new country.

Many volunteer abroad programs are only a couple weeks. With Take Action Lab, you’ll spend a semester abroad. Research shows extended travel time can have a beneficial impact on one’s personal growth and overall conscientiousness. The amount of time you spend on your program will allow you to more fully experience your host country — it gives you more opportunities to do activities, build relationships, and experience the culture.


Do more than volunteer.

To volunteer abroad in high school is self-satisfying, but if you do not find one of the best places to volunteer, it often fails to teach new skills. Take Action Lab allows you to partner with a local organization and gain real work experience while developing the intangible traits that are valuable in college and the workplace — drive, curiosity and resilience. Make your work work for you. Get ahead with teaching, travel, projects and volunteer work that will really make a difference to your resume and skill sets.


Get ahead in college.

While some people mistakenly worry that a gap year will set them behind in their college career, the truth is that our alumni are better prepared to maximize college and get ahead in their careers. Some studies show that ‘gappers’ even have higher GPAs!


Acquire the necessary preparation.

All of our students go through extended training prior to their departure. This time allows students to familiarize themselves with the country, culture and current events. You can feel secure as you get ready to jump into your new adventure. Thanks to our training prior to your journey, by the time you leave for your destination you will be well prepared.


Make lifelong friends.

What better way to make lifelong friends than by embarking on a life-changing journey together? Take Action Lab’s international volunteer opportunities give you that chance, and make sure you’re ready for the road ahead. You’ll find support and friendship from this open-minded and supportive community of students from all over the world!



Sources: Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201309/extended-travel-affects-personality



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Global Citizen Year is moving forward as part of our new, larger brand: Tilting Futures. New name, same mission, expanded programs and impact.