Here’s a fact: Going on a humanitarian trip abroad will change your life. And although how it will change your life is hard to define, change you it certainly will. Why? Because volunteers travel to other countries to make essential contributions to community projects and make a difference in people’s lives. Along the way, many find that not only did they help others, but others helped them. In many cases, the people you meet and the excellent work you do will create a two-way exchange of ideas, change your perspective, and open your eyes to the world. Let’s look at how humanitarian trips in Guatemala and beyond can alter your existence.
1. The Definition of a Humanitarian Trip
Whether you are away for one week or more, the people you help will go out of their way to make you feel at home. It won’t be long before you understand the concept of “home away from home.” Being in others’ homes introduces you to local traditions, new ways of living, local cuisine, and customs that you otherwise would not have been exposed to in any other situation.
You’ll also live alongside other volunteers. Suddenly, your “home” is filled with other like-minded strangers. Imagine getting to know a bunch of new people and living with them in close quarters. It may sound intimidating, but it will also change you in ways you won’t know until it happens. While saying goodbye to home, family, and friends is difficult, we promise, you’ll find a new home away from home and expand your network of friends.
2. A Closer Look at Personal Growth
If there is one thing that humanitarian trip volunteers all agree on, it’s that personal growth is a huge part of traveling abroad and helping others. Imagine for a moment, that you’ll be in a foreign country, likely speaking a different language, and developing life skills far outside your comfort zone. Talk about confidence-building!
No matter how old you are, spending time in a far-off place and forcing yourself to confront and transcend your fears and insecurities helps you grow tremendously. Once you’re done, you’ll return home with a level of confidence and understanding you did not have before you left! Volunteering abroad will allow you to prove that you can do anything. Volunteering your time while seeing the world gives you a greater awareness of your own privileges.
3. Developing a “Global Mindset”
Those of us in the humanitarian business often refer to something as a “global mindset,” but what exactly does it mean? Put simply, a global mindset is defined as the ability to recognize, read, and adapt to cultural signals, both overt and subtle, so that your effectiveness isn’t compromised when you’re dealing with people from different backgrounds. That sure sounds like a sterilized definition, but put simply, a global mindset helps you develop cultural awareness and appreciation for “otherness”.
If you come onto a humanitarian trip with an open mind and willingness to learn, it will alter your mindset, whether subtly or overtly. You will be put into a position to provide valuable contributions to your host community. This is one aspect of going on a humanitarian trip that is guaranteed to change the way you think and feel. What kind of global citizen do you want to be?
4. Humanitarian Trips Make You More Patient and Understanding
It’s true when they say that patience is a virtue. And when it comes to volunteering your time in a foreign country, two of the most important traits you will develop are patience and a willingness to learn. It’s not hard to understand that when you are traveling around a foreign land meeting new people and trying new things, some things won’t go your way. There will be hiccups. Maybe your bed isn’t super comfortable or chickens crow all morning. Part of stepping outside of your comfort zone and growing involves developing your sense of patience and understanding.
As you gain the ability to develop your intercultural communication skills and patience through interactions with locals and other volunteers, you grow as a global citizen. The relationships you create and the growth you accelerate will help you adapt to life back home. Imagine returning home and being told how much you’ve changed, how more patient and understanding you are. These are the things that bring warmth to the soul. And humanitarian trips help make them happen.
5. Volunteerism, Your Studies, and Your Career
If you feel stuck and lacking in motivation for your studies or work, taking a break for international travel to help others could be just what you need to reinvigorate your sense of purpose and motivation in life. Could you imagine a better way to escape the grind of your studies or time clock and rejuvenate your soul and mindset than bringing joy to others? Going on humanitarian trips supports your personal and professional growth. More patience and understanding can only help you at school or work. These are virtuous traits.
Sometimes humanitarian trips completely change the course of a person’s life. You may decide you want to do something different when you get out of school. Or maybe you want to completely alter your career choice. The fact is, you will learn so much – and be exposed to so much – that it is not unheard of for you to make drastic changes to your life. And this isn’t a bad thing. Volunteering abroad takes personal and professional growth to the next level. While you’re away you may develop new skills or improve current ones. Discovering new things about yourself is what volunteering abroad is all about.
Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and change your life even as you change other lives? At Be Humanitarian, our existence is based on providing incredible experiences to young people and adults. We arrange humanitarian trips that change lives and open minds. Learn more about us today and get in touch!