In recent research conducted by multiple Volunteering services, they have seen a dramatic increase in students volunteering abroad between the ages of 16-25. But what’s shocking is the fact that university millennial are thinking about other people rather than themselves for the first time in centuries.
As generations have passed, studies have shown that the last two generations have been somehow promoting volunteering as statistics, show that parents are now also encouraging volunteering abroad.
After speaking to a group of students of all ages and gender from the university of Portsmouth I got the sense that the motivation towards any kind of volunteering was mostly for a positive career aspect. And unsurprisingly the girls leaned more towards volunteering abroad with the incentive of helping children who need shelter and schools. Our general chat also correlated with statistics that prove that generally ethnic students are more likely to jump on a plane and help out a under developed country than their white counterpart.
The likelihood of students volunteering is based on the lack of funds but most students don’t realise that realistically charities can support you on your journey part of the way. However most charities expect you to generate your funding through any way possible. Portsmouth has seen some varieties of this. For example, dressing up as a bear for the day walking around Portsmouth, pub quizzes in the Union on a Sunday night as well as the classic leg waxing in public.
University of Portsmouth offers the chance to get involved in any kind of volunteering, may it be local or international, through the creation of RAG (Raising and Giving). Having the chance to part take in team challenges such as the Kilimanjaro Adventure, trekking the Inca Trail and cycling from London to Paris. In 2012/13 we raised over £140,000, smashing our target of £100,000 and in 2013/14 we destroyed both of those targets achieving over £220,000 for local and national charities.
I spoke to Abigail Thompson, aged 20, studying at the University of Portsmouth about her volunteering experience as she wanted to look for other opportunities rather than following the typical route of going through the motions of university. She volunteered for a charity called Operation mobilisation. They’re a non-profit charity, involved in around 114 countries and are partnered with Christian churches locally. They support and partner with the people already in the countries with the same focus of relief work, encouragement of churches and equipment support. Abi volunteered on a ship called Logas Hope, ferrying around 400 volunteer crewmembers from 60 different nations.
She said “The only way I can describe it is like taking a really small community and self sustaining and putting them on ship.” She supports the idea that volunteering is available for everyone “It isn’t just for young people it’s not just for experienced sea farers anyone can apply as long as you’re in line with those beliefs.”
I also spoke to Alex Hamilton, also studying at the University of Portsmouth who was thoroughly against the idea of volunteering abroad during the course of his degree.
He said “I wanted to focus on getting my education out of the way before getting a chance to experience and help the world”. He went on to say that “university education is my main goal as I am paying £9000 a year and don’t want anything to disturb that”.
As we can see the University of Portsmouth is divided on the issue of volunteering abroad but in reality if we can help a community to thrive whilst allowing yourself to develop personal skills then it’s not an opportunity to be missed.
This article was written by Trushali who is currently in her final year at Portsmouth University studying Journalism.
Do you have any questions about volunteering abroad? We have a growing community of volunteers who are happy to help.