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Volunteering is one of the best ways that you can give back to the community and enrich your own life at the same time. But giving back doesn’t have to be confined to the community that you call home. There are opportunities all around the globe to make a difference. If you really want to have a life-changing experience and make a positive impact, volunteering in a foreign country is a terrific idea.

Peace Corps

When it comes to volunteering outside of your own country, there are numerous organizations to consider. One of the most popular and long-standing international volunteer organizations is the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, and only US citizens can participate. If you want to join the Peace Corps, be prepared to dedicate two years of your life to the program. The position is very demanding. Not only will you have to manage the responsibilities and duties that go along with your particular assignment, you will also be expected to conduct yourself as a representative of the United States throughout your entire stay.

United Nations Volunteers

The United Nations Volunteers program is another great option to think about. Just like in the Peace Corps, when you volunteer with the UN you will likely be stationed in a remote location that lacks the conveniences of modern life—like running water and electricity. You have to be at least 25 years old in order to participate in the UN’s program, and you also must possess a university degree.

Gaining entry into the UN’s program or the Peace Corps will likely be difficult. The volume of applicants is very high for both programs. Here is a helpful article that discusses how to increase your chances of getting selected for the UN’s program. And if you want to learn more about the experiences of Peace Corps volunteers, this article is definitely worth a look.

Other Options

If you prefer a shorter time commitment than the Peace Corps, there are many other alternatives you should look at. Check out this list for some ideas. Many international volunteer organizations ask you to pay in order to participate. Before you spend any money, make sure that the organization you’re considering has a good reputation. Search online for reviews and participants’ stories. It’s important to make sure the organization is legitimate and worth your money.

While volunteering abroad is life-changing, remember that it’s not a vacation. You’ll be expected to work very hard in conditions that may be uncomfortable. You’ll likely feel homesick at times and want to give up. That’s why it’s so important to do your research before you make any commitment and ask yourself if you’re really ready. In the end, what you get in return from the experience will be worth any hardships you face during your assignment. You’ll gain more knowledge of the world and other cultures—knowledge that will enrich your life for years to come.