Basics of Volunteering Abroad

Volunteer in Northeastern, Thailand

Volunteer, Guatemala

 

Why volunteer?

If you are in search for something different and new, then global volunteering may be for you. If you would like to learn more about your own strengths and ways then volunteering can truly help. If you want to intern and obtain credit through a university or college then this may be a unique way to continue and improve your skills for your selected profession. If you are a traveler and want to settle in for short time making new and often life long friends while helping others then volunteering can be the path. If you are a boomer or retired then helping abroad may be a way to experience something different while helping others. If you are high school student with teachers who would like to learn in a different way or experience global service volunterr project learning then volunteering globally is a unique way to gain knowledge, credit and entry into various advanced educational programs. If you just want to have fun and try something new, no matter what age, background or experience volunteering is great. Families, friends, married teams or partners may want to work together on a new global project to share with others while helping too.
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How long can I volunteer in Thailand?

If you are interested in helping to team teach with a Thai English or computer teachers there is plenty of help needed. You can volunteer for either short term or long term stints. You will be able to work with students who truly need to hear the English language spoken clearly and also learn computer skills. Often the Thai English teachers in the Isan area and throughout many other parts of Thailand do not have the time or the opportunity to speak and learn with English speaking people. As a team player and a computer and/or English assistant you can volunteer for half or full days with Thai children, old or young. It doesn’t matter if you your first language is English. Volunteers need only speak, write and read at an average level. So decide how much time you can spend and if you are like most of our former volunteers you will return again during following years.  Your local hosts will provide a letter to give to your home Thai consulate which may be needed by those volunteers wanting to help for three or more months.
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Who should volunteer and what Thailand projects are available?

Volunteer work in Thailand is great for all ages, nations, and occupations. Our volunteers come from Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, the Islands and other nations. Volunteers with families are always welcome, as are solo travelers, teams of travelers, gap year students or workers, retired or student groups wanting to participate in global community service projects and learn about cross cultural views and values. Mundo Exchange and partners have volunteered together with all ages and groups of international volunteers.  This year we had retired elders and seniors, like Marta, working along side younger gap year students like Val. The experience couldn’t have been better for not only those Thais we serve but also for the volunteers who together often discussed philosophical issues, social problems and global ways.

Some of Mundo Exchange volunteers have either taken ESL, TEFL, TOEFL classes and were certified either before or after volunteering with Mundo. In this way they were able to see if teaching abroad was really something they were interested in doing as a profession. Some of our volunteer hosts hold both teaching and TEFL certificates so they easily work with interested volunteers on curriculum development and classroom  techniques.

If you are not interested in working as a English or computer team assistant and want to do something different we will work with you to set up the project that best fits your needs. Some of our volunteers help medical groups, others work on setting up eco and environmental projects, still other work on art projects that are used in the farming communities of Thailand. Let us know how you want to volunteer, your interests then we work together with your Thai hosts to try to make your volunteer dreams a reality.

As an individual volunteer or family you might want to help tutor children and adults after school and work or you might want to help a few days a week at an orphanage when the children are off for holiday or ill. We have many good places to tell you about if you would like to help at an orphanage.

Qualities of Successful Volunteers

Volunteers should have a fairly good sense of humour, be flexible in attitude realizing life and ways in Thailand are often in flux and changing from day to day; be open to new ideas and ways; accept the ways of the community as they are and refrain from criticism; these are the qualities that we as volunteers think are the most important to start your Thai volunteering experience.  As you decide on your holiday plans you might consider helping out for a few days or months or take the time off as you backpack across the world to learn in a equally good way about Thai culture. No matter where you are in the world or what organisation you go with we commend you all on your good work and ways.
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Volunteer helping Handicraft Project, Thaialnd

 

Where will I help as a Thailand volunteer?

Volunteer positions are available all over Isaan Thailand. In Isaan, Mundo Exchange and partners provide projects that mostly help farming families and rural workers. Since it is one of the poorest areas of Thailand and once Laos the people often are able to speak Isan language which is different from mainstream Thailand. You can also stay at a teacher home or at home stays where you are given a more indepth view of what Thailand life, ways and culture is like.
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Why Mundo Exchange Team

As a volunteer I decided to volunteer to work with Mundo and the local Thai Team because after communicating with past volunteers who were already planning to return to help again I found that their ways were more like my own. They only take a few volunteers at a time and they truly want to help volunteers get to know the people and culture of Thailand while also helping those in need.  I really didn’t want to spend my time with other travelers and Western people. I wanted to learn about a culture and people new to me while helping the educationally and financially underprivileged. Mundo provided cross cultural training, travel, language training and an orientation that allowed me to truly experience Thailand in a way I could not have done as a traveler. They also helped me after I returned home by writing a letters to my university and for employment too. They also keep me informed after 4 years about what my friends and past projects are doing. When I wanted to stay longer and help with another project they found a way to make this work at no additional cost for their time. They gave me the opportunity to not only volunteer in Thailand but also intern with their small nonprofit and learn more about what ngos and civil societies with government status in country and out can do. I had a great time getting to know the locals, their ways while actually helping Thai children and adults. It gave me a way to learn more about myself and learn to be more accepting of cultures, ways, and laugh at situations and myself too for my Western ways of thinking and approaching life. The people who help with Mundo are all volunteers too. Some locals are paid but through independent funders not by the use of donations or volunteer fees. Mundo used my volunteer financial support only for helping to pay for my stay as a volunteer and for supplies to projects in need. The volunteer home where we lived gave me a way to be on my own or with others too of all ages and backgrounds. Mundo Exchange people enjoy life, enjoy helping and it is never boring.  Another thing I like about volunteering with Mundo Exchange is that they take life easy, get involved in community life, and follow the Buddhist ways of speak good of others or do not speak, do good for others who may have not had the same luck or opportunities, think good and keep your mind from troubled ways.  The food, music and local hosts are amazing too. Great global community service projects, great people, great ways.  Mundo takes old and young volunteers a like and they help volunteers get the best experience in country. Local host positions are ususaly temporary as it is hoped that after helping for a few years with volunteers and Thailand projects that the young hosts will continue their education, find work that leads to new knowledge, or return to help their own communities. For some of the older hosts it is a way for them to meet young and older people from countries they have never met before. For me and those who volunteered with me it was one of the best experiences of my life, never to be forgotten.  And like other volunteers who have helped the Mundo Exchange Thailand Team I will return and continue our friendship and cross cultural work throughout the years.

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