Taking a gap year has been growing in popularity and provides an opportunity for growth and learning, especially for those who aren’t sure what they want to do yet. And let’s face it, who does know what they want to do straight out of school!

If you’re going to take some time off, you should try to maximise the potential benefits of this period. Why not consider going out into the world and experiencing life through volunteering abroad? Using your gap year to gain work experience, travel and volunteer can be instrumental in developing self-awareness. And that’s just the beginning.

‘Doing good’ is a volunteer’s most likely motivation.

Current research shows that personal growth and development, social needs and a sense of purpose are all factors in motivating individuals to engage in volunteer behaviours.

The top three motivations listed in order are:
· I wanted to improve things/ help people (46%)
· The cause was important to me (31%)
· I had spare time to do it (25%)

Interacting with different cultures is now becoming even more important as factors such as digitalisation and globalisation support a multi-cultural environment. Being aware of different cultural values and norms is not only fascinating but is critical to promoting peace through coexistence.

People are also realising the importance of learning, understanding and appreciating diverse cultural norms of foreign business partnerships. Why is this necessary? Rather than generalising, it is an important skill to be able to shift perspectives and put yourself in the shoes of others. The confidence and experience you gain from travelling abroad and interacting with different cultures can give you a competitive edge in the professional world.

Cultural sensitivity will help you with your communication on both personal and professional levels. You learn the most in uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations. It can be scary, but once you figure out that you can connect with people despite their differences, you become a more competent individual, ready to face the world.

And that’s where we come in.

International Voluntary Service (IVS) is a sending organisation for the benefit of UK residents. IVS promotes peace through the reciprocal international cooperation between non-governmental, not for profit, grassroots organisations with a shared vision and working in localhost communities around the world.

We hope that during 2022 we will once more be able to offer a programme of volunteering projects. Before the Covid19 pandemic projects ran from anywhere between one month and one year. We support applications for UK residents with the hosting organisation and take care of all the admin. By allowing you space to breathe, you can prepare for an opportunity to learn in a completely different way.

Get ready and immerse yourself in a completely different culture, so please check our website for updates during 2022.