Volunteering abroad is an ever-growing interest among travelers and GoOverseas recently released their 2012 Official Volunteer Abroad Report which summarizes some of the most popular locations potential volunteers search for.
According to the report, young people are looking to take gap years and other available opportunities to volunteer in developing countries; “India came in at number one for the most global monthly search for volunteer opportunities.” Other top countries with low GDPs included South Africa, Thailand and Haiti.
Overall, top ten most searched countries for volunteer abroad opportunities ranged in location, geography and culture – with no general theme. The only pattern that was observed for 2012 volunteering abroad is disaster relief opportunities. Natural disasters play a significant role on where volunteers decide to dedicate their time and effort. For example, there was a significant rise in the global monthly searches for volunteer opportunities in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquakes, and Japan, after the 2011 earthquakes. After these disasters occur, people are inspired to get involved in the disaster relief process, by providing a wide array of resources and expertise.
The report also notes other correlations among google searching for volunteering abroad opportunities. For example, individuals interested in conservation volunteering tend to volunteer abroad in tropical countries, such as, Australia or Costa Rica. “African and Asian countries with diverse animal and plant populations are also popular volunteer destinations” for conservation volunteers. Additionally, the report breaks down the monthly google searches for volunteering abroad by continent – highlighting important factors and other considerations for each continent. The report also notes that volunteers who wish to stay for longer periods of time tend to focus on projects based on advocacy and policy, which have greater impact, when continued for a long-period of time.