Third world countries are a popular destination for graduates and students to take a gap year and go do some form of charitable volunteer work. Cape Town is a city that is split into two distinct halves: the beautiful coastal metropolis that is used to attract tourists and the poverty stricken slums that people try their best to ignore as they take pictures of the scenery. To volunteer South Africa and give back to the poor citizens who watch you pay exorbitant amounts of money for a drink in Camps Bay is both free and richly rewarding for your soul. The rewards are not seen in monetary terms but that doesn’t make them any less beneficial.
Experts reported that doing volunteer work reduces stress. Focusing on someone other than one self is guaranteed to reduce stress levels. Studies have shown that 4 hours of volunteer work a week has the same effect on relieving anxiety and stress as a 10% pay rise. Social work is, therefore, a great way to take a break from the stress of work or studies.
Helping others releases serotonin in the brain, which boosts your mood and makes you more empathetic. If your work or studies make you isolated, doing some social volunteer work will help lift your mood. Happiness is strongly linked to the immune system, so if you are constantly finding yourself coming down with a bug, try doing some volunteer work when you’re healthy and see how long you stay healthy thereafter.
Employers look for empathy and compassion in employees. One of the easiest ways to spot these characteristics is in the volunteer work section of a CV. Volunteering in your spare time between semesters or between jobs is a great way to improve your CV and help you land that dream job. Who knows, you might even find your future career while volunteering. If you use your skill set while volunteering (pro bono work), it counts as work experience and will count well in your favour with potential employers.
If you feel like you’ve lost your direction or a bit down in life, volunteering can help you learn a lot about yourself. Many volunteers discover hidden talents that they would never have known had they not volunteered, thus building their self esteem and self image. This could be the catalyst to getting your life in order and going for your goals.
Volunteering brings communities together. No matter what your background, when everyone is working toward a common target they form bonds which strengthen over time. In a time where the human race is divided and labels are being thrown around, a united community is a step in the right direction. African Sunrise Volunteers is one of the best agencies to deal with if you are interested to go and volunteer in South Africa.
When you volunteer you see the difference your time and effort makes. Giving money to a charity is admirable but being able to see, with your own eyes, the upliftment of a person and their community as a whole. The broken windows theory applies well here. If a community is gentrified, it will be less likely to fall back into disrepair. Community members become invested in the wellbeing of the community and will partake in the upkeep of it. Your effort could have long term effects in people’s lives.
Volunteering is a great way to socialize and make new friends. People travel all over the world to volunteer for social work programs. There is no better opportunity to meet like-minded foreign people with a heart of gold. Through the networking opportunities volunteer work provides, you could meet a potential employer, travel or business partner or even your future spouse.
So even though it may seem like you would be working for nothing, volunteer work has many health benefits and provides plenty social and career opportunities.