We love to be as helpful as we can here at The Great Projects, and that is why today we are telling you our top 15 things not to do when you go volunteering! Check out our list below.
Never Avoid The Local Food
There doesn’t seem much point in going to a country if you are not going to immerse yourself in the culture. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but how will you know without tasting?
Don't Forget To Read About The Local Culture To Avoid Any Offence
For example, in Muslim countries it can cause offence if women to walk around with certain body parts on show. Some offences can also lead to prosecution so you definitely need to know your stuff!
Never Have Unrealistic Expectations
Remember that the point of animal conservation projects is to allow them to thrive in a natural way, therefore expecting to be able to pet the animals is unrealistic. As the sanctuaries and enclosures have multiple animals and multiple species, there may well be animals in cages at times, but they are perfectly safe, perfectly happy, and the projects know what they are doing when it comes to caring for the animals!
Never Waste The Opportunity To Get Involved And Make A Difference
If you volunteer, you need to expect to get your hands dirty and give it your all. Otherwise, what’s the point? Humans are the main reason as to why these innocent animals need help in the first place, so we should be the ones to help them.
Don't Worry About Cleanliness
You’re going to be sweaty, dirty, and surrounded by wild animals all day. Glam is not a thing in the volunteering world.
Never Go In Unprepared
What are you volunteering for? Make sure you’re in the know about the animals you are trying to help and how you will be helping to make a difference by researching before you go.
A waste of time, and a waste of energy. Again, you’re going to be sweaty, dirty and around animals all day. Let’s be realistic about what you need. If you’re unsure, check out our blog post on the top 50 things to take with you!
Never Choose Not To Immerse Yourself In The Group - Talk To Everyone You Can!
Everyone is in the same boat on a volunteering project. Nobody knows anyone else but you are all there with the same passion and desire to help, so get involved and talk to the group! People will always surprise you and will help you to make it an experience you will never forget.
Don't Forget Tools like Skype and WhatsApp
Due to project remoteness, these could be the only way to get in contact with home. Always prepare for any possible scenario before you go!
Don't Forget To Document Your Experience
Take as many pictures and videos as you can so you can always keep the experience close by. Draw pictures and write a journal too to remember those precious moments!
Don't Forget To Look After Yourself
Ever heard of the saying ‘you can’t look after anyone else unless you are looking after yourself’? Chances are you will be working in the heat and therefore will be vulnerable to dehydration. Remember to drink plenty and take a break if you need to. Your body will not be adjusted to the climate straight off the bat so be prepared for this.
Don't Stay Rigid In Your Expectations
These are wild animal projects which means anything could change at the drop of a hat. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
Never Forget To Take Some Time For Yourself
The projects may be team work based, but you won’t be working all the time. Take some time for yourself and enjoy a walk or some quiet time to take it all in (just remember to watch out if you're on a project where lions may be roaming in the bush!)
Never Forget That Whilst You Are There To Work, You’re Also There To Enjoy Yourself
The animals and the staff at the projects are and will be ever grateful for all of your efforts, but don’t think of yourself as a conservation robot. Have fun and make the most of your experience!
And Finally...Don't Let This Experience Be Your Last!
The animals will always be in need as the number of endangered species continually increases and new threats unfold every day. Whether you’re there for a week or three months you really do make a difference, so do it again! Volunteer at The Great Projects today!
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