CREATING GLOBAL IMPACT: THE IMPORTANCE OF VOLUNTEERING IN A NEW COUNTRY
Today’s interconnected world breaks borders, allowing for cultures to intertwine. Stepping out of your comfort zone to contribute time and skills in a new country not only creates positive change but also fosters personal growth and cultural exchange.
Here at ESN, we put great emphasis on giving back to the community and invite you, Erasmus students, to do the same! How can you use your Erasmus to create an impact in Porto?
First of all, why volunteer at all? Isn’t Erasmus for other things? *wink* *wink* Well, why not do both? Have fun in Porto while giving back to the welcoming host?
Volunteering in a new environment provides a unique opportunity to bridge cultural gaps. By immersing yourself in the local community, you gain insights into diverse perspectives and customs. This cultural exchange promotes mutual understanding, as well as breaks down stereotypes.
Personal growth and overcoming challenges
Moreover, volunteering abroad challenges you to adapt to new environments and navigate unfamiliar situations. This adaptability fosters personal growth, resilience, and a broader worldview. Moreover, volunteers often acquire and enhance valuable skills, from cross-cultural communication to problem-solving, making them more versatile contributors to the global community.
While the rewards of volunteering in a new country are immense, challenges are inevitable. Language barriers, cultural differences, and logistical hurdles may arise. However, overcoming these challenges not only adds to the richness of the experience but also equips each volunteer with valuable problem-solving skills.
Building lasting connections
Volunteering abroad offers the chance to build lasting connections with both the local community and fellow volunteers. These connections extend beyond borders, creating a network of like-minded individuals dedicated to making a difference. The relationships formed during volunteering can be as impactful as the work itself, fostering a sense of camaraderie that transcends geographical distances.
Where can you volunteer?
Having established the benefits of volunteering, one question remains – where can you volunteer? The easiest way is to closely follow our website and instagram! Every once in a while, we host Social Impact Days and post possible projects for you to volunteer at. You can also join a project on your own, here are a few notable examples.
CASA, an international NGO, aids homeless individuals, including children and the elderly, providing 200 dinners nightly in Porto's city centre. Weekly, 100-150 homeless receive meals, and 100 families get food baskets, especially for the elderly. CASA collaborates with Animais de Rua, supporting pets of homeless individuals. Contribute through website donations, corporate support, or participate in CASA's food collection campaigns held 2-3 times yearly.
You can volunteer once a week from 7:30 PM until 10:30 PM. Best way to get in touch is via their Facebook page. Your help makes a difference!
Animais de Rua aids stray animals by sterilising, treating illnesses, and providing sustenance. Focused on controlling feral colonies, they seek to offer homes and temporary families for animals awaiting adoption. Without a shelter, they collaborate with FATs, aiming to complement other animal welfare associations in Portugal.
Volunteering opportunities include, wild cat capture, clinic support, fostering, and non-contact roles like social media, graphic design, and translations. Get in touch via Facebook and join the cause!
There are so many opportunities to volunteer in Porto, the list would go on, and on, and on… If you have some free time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’re always happy to aid you in a search for a suitable NGO!
Join us and make your mark!