Category Archives: Research

Can Being an International Volunteer Land You a Job?

By | Genevieve Brown, IVPA Executive Director, Research, Tips for Volunteering Abroad | No Comments

Can becoming an international volunteer help you get a job? According to The University of California San Diego Extension’s Center for Global Volunteer Service (CGVS) the answer is maybe. By spending time abroad volunteering you may be developing important skills that translate to the workplace back home.  CGVS recently completed a survey studying global volunteer service and the workplace.

The survey was completed by 1010 adults from across the country. They found that respondents thought that those participating in international volunteering also developed leadership skills, creativity and resourcefulness  Other benefits may be developing compassion and a willingness to give to others and intercultural awareness.

Voluntourism continues to grow in popularity. CGVS reported the highest ever exposure and participation in global service.

“Over half (52 percent) of respondents said they had joined in a discussion within the past year about participating in a volunteer service project or trip to regions outside their own community or country — a 7 percent increase over the previous UC San Diego Extension survey in 2009 and the first time that figure has risen above 50 percent.”

The younger populations also report very high interest and exposure to international volunteering. Out of college students surveyed 91 percent said they knew someone personally who had been a global service volunteer and 87 percent of high school students gave the same response.

So how can you leverage an international voluneer trip when applying for jobs? Make sure to highlight the experience on your resume. Remember to quantify your service by giving numbers that tell a story. For example, you could say that you taught English classes to 30 kids or gave 80 hours of service in building a home. You can also use stories of lessons you learned or skills you developed when in an interview. Prepare with practice questions beforehand so you narratives flow.

Volunteerism Around the World

By | Research | No Comments

The United Nations Volunteers recently published a guidance note titled: Drafting and Implementing Volunteerism Laws and Policies.

I came across it because I am interested in knowing more about volunteering and the cross sections of international and domestic volunteers.

My favorite quote was “Achieving the MDGs by 2015 is a task for everyone, and voluntary action will be critical.This quote emphasizes the importance of global engagement.  We all have responsibility.

Some other takeaways included the following:

  • Laws and policies should be developed to support the goals of the country. (Countries should have goals!)
  • Laws and policies should be developed with civil engagement and participatory research and input. (This sounds great but I wonder if other countries struggle with civil engagement like we do in the US)
  • “The most successful volunteerism initiatives have operational plans which detail specific activities, goals, responsibilities, and deadlines for all stakeholders, including government and volunteer organizations. “

Some of the countries mentioned included Macedonia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, United States, and Pakistan.

The paper also briefly touched on the culture of volunteerism.

“Where a culture of volunteerism exists and flourishes, volunteerism law and policy initiatives can find rapid success as they are taken up by pre-existing volunteer constituencies. By contrast, where volunteerism is poorly  understood or not embraced by the population, volunteerism laws and policies may fail to be implemented properly or may be ignored altogether.”

The Impact of Volunteering Abroad

By | Genevieve Brown, IVPA Executive Director, Research | No Comments

Approximately a month ago the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis and the Global Economy and Development at Brookings released the interim results of their study on the impact of international volunteering. This portion of the study specifically looks at the perceived impact of international volunteering on the volunteer.

They found that the volunteers reported an increase in International Awareness, Intercultural Relations and International Career Intentions and that this increase was statistically significant when contrasted with the comparison group.

Brookings and the Center for Social Development continue to produce some of the highest quality research on international volunteering. I can’t wait to see read their next report.

The Latest Research on International Volunteerism in the United States

By | Genevieve Brown, IVPA Executive Director, Research | No Comments

The Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis recently released a research brief as part of their ongoing research on international volunteering in the United States.

This brief gives a great summary and some actual figures about international volunteering trends in the U.S. Some of the highlights include the following findings:

  • Over one million individuals reported volunteering internationally in 2008.
  • The majority of international volunteers served with a faith-based organization.
  • The most common activities of volunteers included general labor (33%), mentoring youth (29%), providing counseling or medical care (23%), and tutoring or teaching (22%).