Nov 5, 2012

How To Change Your Life With Cross Cultural Volunteering

1. Opening Your Mind

Serving people of a different culture encourages acceptance of their values and beliefs, especially as you learn and understand more about them. Suddenly, you become a bit less ethnocentric and start to open your mind to the importance of other cultures. As you make decisions, you think not only of how they impact you and your community, but also the world as a whole.

2. Broadening Your Awareness

Take a moment to read today's headlines, and you will find story after story of wars and skirmishes around the globe, and even at home. Often these stem from one group stereotyping another. Many times these stereotypical attitudes usually mean that the culture of a group is being misunderstood. After your culture exchange travel experience, you start breaking down those stereotypes in your own mind. Once you've managed to break your own stereotypical views, you can use your experiences to help others to change their own views.

3. Improving Your Character

One of the best ways to grow and stretch as an individual is to dive into a work project in a foreign country. This means you may have to face some fears, you'll have to deal with language gaps and learn how to think on your feet. When your travel experience is complete, you will find yourself more compassionate, courageous, and patient than you were before you left. After you return home you'll find that these character traits stay with you.

4. Increasing Job Opportunities

In addition to the way traveling abroad changes your attitude and focus, it also changes your job opportunities. In 2007, Global HR News conducted a study, and 80 percent of the executives surveyed pointed to foreign travel as a key factor for their choice in placements within their companies. These decision makers believed that applicants who traveled had a greater cultural awareness and international perspective, which is vital in today's international business market.

We live in a world where communication is virtually instantaneous anywhere and being able to cope with multiple cultures is essential in today's tough job market. Having culture exchange travel on your resume shows that you can think outside of the box and are willing to work with people who view the world differently than you do. The benefits of cross cultural volunteering don't go away in the weeks and months after you return home. They have the potential to change your life for the long term. After this experience, you will never view the world the same again.

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