Many people want the adventure of volunteering abroad but are hesitant to embark on such a journey alone. If the volunteer opportunity is in an unfamiliar country and the prospective volunteer isn’t yet fluent with the language, they can have more concerns than a case of the travel jitters. New to international travel, they may not yet realize that any traveler from the US, Canada, the UK or Australia will arrive at their destination and undoubtedly meet an “ex-pat” from one of these countries within days, if not hours. Nevertheless, one should never forego the opportunity simply because they prefer to travel with a companion. There are a number of options available for those who prefer this type of travel, including enrolling in a program with a friend, joining a church volunteer mission or persuading your family to accompany you on your volunteer mission.
Enrolling With a Friend
If you have a close friend who shares your beliefs in volunteering and community service, enroll in a program together. The type of program, program regulations and your differing skills will help determine how closely you will be able to be together. In some vacation trips combined with some volunteer service, you and your friend might be roommates and be able to remain together during service assignments and recreational opportunities. Other programs may allow you to room together but prefer to assign you according to your specific skills. Make a point to remain open to making new friends even if you are traveling with a companion. One of the skills a traveler learns to master is that of establishing a life, a home and friends in a new place. Don’t turn down those opportunities when offered.
Joining a Church Service Group
Another way to travel with the benefit of something familiar is to join a volunteer service group sponsored by your church, denomination or parish. Even if you are temporarily unacquainted with your companions, you still share the tenets of your belief system and similar means in which to demonstrate your faith. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new friends of the same faith and similar backgrounds, partially alleviating some of the anxiety natural in such circumstances.
Enlisting the Whole Family
The option to travel with one’s family as companions and co-volunteers has long been a popular one in some religious denominations. Recently, private organizations have begun to offer a combination vacation and service trip designed for the entire family. Shorter in duration than other journeys, these trips are routinely offered during school breaks such as the New Year’s Holiday so that school-aged children may attend without missing part of their schooling at home. Naturally, families reside together although they may have to share accommodations with another family in some programs. All aspects of the trip — service and recreation — are scheduled and designed so that a family with children of various ages can travel and participate.