Monkey Forest Tales: Are volunteer experiences worth it?

In the past some students have asked if volunteers experiences are really worth it. In today’s post I will talk about it from my own experience. My short answer is YES it is worth it.

I’m from a country where social, family and financial pressures make you think that any free job is not worth it. Why? because if you finish your career you need to start working and stop depending on your family, except if your family have some means to support you.

In my case, I have some family support at some times, but not all the time. Some volunteer work I did were using my own resources. I didn’t start doing volunteer work after a few years after graduation. A bit later than many people from Europe, US or Australia who sometimes start volunteering at a younger age.

There are different types of volunteer work, and all give you different kinds of experiences, from administrative, logistic to fieldwork experience. Most important to understand is that these different volunteer experience can give you experiences that can be used in your CV as skills that you bring with you when applying to a new job.

Some other volunteer experiences give you opportunities to meet new people, visit places otherwise you won’t be able to visit, or help to study animals that you are interested on but don’t feel sure you want to expend too much time working on. In all cases, the experience you get will depend on how well you choose where you do your volunteer experience.

As well as when you choose where to study, is important to search about the institution, people, and area in which you are planning to do your volunteer work. In some cases, how much money will you require to do it is another consideration to have in mind. If you have doubts, ask questions, look for people who had made volunteer work with the same organization and ask them questions, research the place you will visit. All that information can help you choose the experience and make the best of it.

In my experience, all volunteer work has challenges. In some cases, those challenges comes from working with people from different cultures and backgrounds, others come from natural conditions of the place in which you have to work and other come from your own personal preferences of how, when and with who you like to work. For me, volunteer experiences are learning experiences that sometimes are need it to really know what is best for me and where I work the best.

So, if you are thinking of doing a volunteer work in science, my best advice is to research a bit first about, conditions, cost, and type of experience you will get and then make your decision knowing that you are not only going to learn about some interesting topic, but also about yourself…

© Copyright Disclaimer. Sketches were made by Cleve Hicks, pictures reproduced with his permission. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.

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