Volunteering abroad is something you can’t fully understand until you leap in and try it. But there are some simply terrific podcasts that can calm your nerves, and fill in the gaps for any volunteers who are listening.
So, if you’re all set for an upcoming volunteer experience in India, are already collecting research on birds in Costa Rica, or just got home from volunteering with children in South Africa, you can count on the fact that there’s a podcast just for you.
1)Travel guides and travel tips
The Amateur Traveler focuses in on all aspects of travel, covering a wide range of destinations all over the world.
They also have podcasts about volunteer travel. These cover topics ranging from travel guides for volunteer travel in various countries, to personal accounts of volunteer experiences.
By tuning in, you can get to know more about what a volunteer travel experience is really like. You’ll also hear about great volunteer locations, projects worth contributing to, and volunteer travel tips.
2) First-hand accounts from volunteer travellers
If you’re looking for firsthand accounts from volunteers travelling abroad, the Every-Day Explorer podcast offers just that.
Here you can hear about the parts of the volunteer experience that you may not read about in the program brochure.
These real-life accounts don’t sugar-coat the idea of volunteering abroad, and can assist you in making practical decisions regarding your program and travel itinerary.
And if you want to get a broader sense of the challenges and benefits of working to make a positive impact, the Big Vision podcast offers you just that.
Having interviewed over 70 individuals, Tara Sophia Mohr covers the stories of people making an impact across a range of topics, and through many different activities.
While these accounts may not all be centred on volunteering, they emphasise the point that every person has the ability to make a contribution.
3) Guides on global issues
Anyone looking to volunteer to make a positive impact needs to know where they are needed. The Guardian’s Global Development podcasts can keep you up to date with what’s happening around the world.
Each episode explores a current global issue, raising awareness about worldwide concerns.
So, if you’re passionate about volunteering to make an impact in current global issues, then these podcasts can assist you in choosing a program that speaks to your passion, and is most relevant to the global context.
4) Opportunities to learn more about wildlife and environmental conservation
And there are even podcasts zooming in on particular global concerns – like wildlife and environmental conservation. These can cut through the overwhelming amount of information out there, and sharpen your understanding of the global issues you’re most passionate about.
The Wild Voices Project is one of these podcasts. Here you will find interviews with experts in the field of wildlife conservation that paint a picture of what this work is really like. You can also listen to interviews with people who are not experts, but who have had some novel experience in the field of wildlife conservation.
There’s also the BBC’s Costing the Earth podcast, which is similar to the Wild Voices Project, but goes about discussing wildlife conservation with documentary-style flair.
These podcasts are the perfect place for volunteers to gain insight before taking part in a wildlife or marine volunteer program, or even for those already in the field to stay up to date with what’s going on worldwide.
5) Tips on improving your employability
Volunteer work looks good on any resume. But volunteering alone can’t guarantee you the job once you get back home. You might need some additional skills and knowledge.
The podcast series the School of Greatness shares inspirational stories of career successes. Lewis Howes – who used to be a professional football player – started this podcast with the hopes of highlighting habits that are commonly practised by successful people.
This podcast may have a business focus, but it goes way beyond that. It emphasises how our environments and everyday practices – like the types of work we do, and how much TV we watch in a day – can affect whether or not we reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Here you will find practical tips on how to be successful at work. And tips like this, in combination with your volunteer work, can set you up with all the skills you need to succeed when you return from your volunteering trip abroad.
6) Meaningful ways to make more room for mindfulness
Volunteering is about doing things with intention, taking time for connection, noticing and placing importance on the details. This podcast is about all of these things and will help you hone in on what’s important during both your volunteer experience and in your daily life.
And since volunteering is just one way to make more room for mindfulness, it wouldn’t hurt to get to grips with what mindfulness is all about, and why it matters.
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention in a particular way: purposefully, in the present moment, and without judgement.
But that’s easier said than done.
Luckily you can listen in on the Lively Show’s podcasts and find out all you need to know.
Further reading: Practise mindfulness by volunteering abroad
Whether for preparation, up-to-date information, or just to relive the memories of your volunteer experience abroad, you can find the perfect podcast for you.
Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programs and internships! Choose from over 150 community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment and conservation projects worldwide.