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Summer Volunteer Programs for College Students

The contribution of every student in a volunteer program amounts to a very valuable and positive change in the long run. Take a look at the types of programs that are offered, and the benefits of enrolling in a summer volunteer program.
For college students, summer is no longer just a time to frolic on the beach or head for a picnic. College students are now looking to do something more meaningful, and make a positive difference to the society and world they live in.
Research has shown that the number of volunteers for a variety of programs is increasing on a yearly basis. For those of you looking to have an enriching experience through such summer programs, take a look at the different types of programs, choosing the right summer program, and the overall impact of summer volunteer programs on college students.

Choosing a Summer Volunteer Program

A lot of important points have to be kept in mind when you choose a summer volunteer program instead of heading for summer vacations full of fun. With all the benefits it provides, there are certain realities about summer programs that you should be aware of.

Types of Available Programs

First, you have to decide what kind of a volunteer program you are interested in. There are a number of organizations that provide local programs, and others that conduct summer volunteer programs for college students abroad.
This means, you could either choose to help the environment in your own city, or you could go to rural Africa and impart basic education to the little ones there, to make them self-sufficient.
Here are the most common programs provided by different organizations
  • The Welfare of Children
  • Tackling Poverty
  • Environmental Issues
  • Teaching
  • Human Rights
  • Culture Preservation
  • Community Development
  • Health and Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare
  • Archeology
  • Teaching Sports

Deciding on a Summer Program

It's your choice to teach children the value of sports, help protect the environment, or preserve archaeological interests. One way of making the choice is to see if the program will benefit your choice of career.
If you are a student of medicine, you could opt for a program that works to improve the overall health conditions of people in countries with a lack of such facilities. This is not the only reason to for you to choose such a program, but it is one that will benefit you in more ways than one.

The Financial Aspect of Summer Volunteer Programs

Very few summer volunteer programs will give you a basic stipend for your volunteer work. Most of these are those organizations that carry out long-term volunteer projects. When you enroll for a volunteer program in a small organization, you will have to take up the whole financial responsibility of your involvement in the program.
You will be asked to fund your own travel. The accommodation provided will be basic, such as a tent, and you will have to prepare your own meals, none of which will be paid for.
In larger organizations, you may have to pay a few thousand dollars for enrolling in a summer program. However, these will provide you with training, accommodation, food, etc. Some part of your fees are also contributed to purchase supplies for the volunteer program. Find out about all these financial aspects before enrolling for a summer volunteer program.

The Impact of Volunteer Programs on College Students

There are several ways in which volunteering for different organizations will leave a positive impact on you. Also, considering the long-term impact of these summer programs is essential.
The first and foremost reason is that it helps you to understand the reality of the world you live in. Everything is not rosy. There are a lot of issues out there that require the help of volunteers like you. It teaches you to appreciate your surroundings and the positives in your life.
Summer programs for college students also help in increasing their self-worth and confidence. You learn to perceive yourself in a more respectful manner, as someone who can really help to make a change. It is a personally rewarding experience, that you can cherish for a lifetime.
It also teaches you a lot of skills that you probably will never learn. Living alone, enduring tough times, and spending time with the less privileged increases your strength and endurance, with which you can deal with other problems. Also, skills that you may be able to apply in your career later can be learned while working on summer volunteer programs.
Then, it gives you the chance to build a good network. Meeting new people and developing strong relations with people from different fields is always helpful for you.
Volunteer programs help you do your bit for the world. In the long run, when you see a positive change in the world, you will know, that part of it was contributed by you. As such, opting for a summer volunteer program is a better option than a summer job, that may pay well, but will never be as enriching as your volunteer vacation.

 Puja Lalwani

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