Overcoming culture shock while volunteering

Culture shock can affect anyone, whether you're a first-time volunteer or have been away many times before. There are lots of new factors to consider on each volunteering placement. Not only do you have to adjust to a completely foreign culture, there are new colleagues, tasks, languages and climates to come to terms with too. You're not just visiting a different country – you actually have to create a life for yourself there and face up to extreme poverty that you aren't used to back home. Even veteran volunteers can find this challenging at the beginning of a placement.

Down to work in Kasama, Zambia

In an extract from his blog, Tom Collins, who is currently volunteering with VSO Ireland as a Financial Management Advisor in Zambia, discusses his first three years on placement. Tom previously volunteered in Cameroon from 2008 until 2011, where he worked as Institutional Development Advisor to the Maga local council in the Far North region of the country.

Every Baby Deserves a Chance to Live

Siobhán Neville (Dublin) and Peter O'Reilly (Co. Kerry), both paediatricians, have just returned from volunteering for six months in Lindi, Tanzania. Based across several local hospitals and health centres, they helped to improve neonatal mortality rates by assessing practices and recommending changes to support both mothers and newborns. In this blog post, Siobhán discusses the challenges and successes encountered on her placement.

Tips for Applying for a Volunteer Position Overseas

You’ve been considering volunteering for a while and have finally found your dream role overseas – wahey! Before you launch into your application, it’s important to understand what is being asked of you and how to best sell yourself on your CV. We’ve seen A LOT of applications in VSO over the years, some better than others, and so we decided to share our knowledge and insider tips with you.

How to Maximise your Fundraising Efforts this Summer

From bake sales and marathons to talent competitions and pub quizes, VSO volunteers have raised much-needed funds for our programmes overseas.

If you want to fundraise for a volunteering placement or charity close to your heart, summer is the perfect time to do so. There are countless runs and sports events to choose from, and the fine weather makes BBQs and outdoor events much more pleasant than at other times of the year.

The Benefits Of Volunteering At Home And Abroad

VSO volunteer Lisa McMahon working as a Teaching Methodology Advisor in Murehe Primary School

Without volunteers, VSO Ireland (Voluntary Service Overseas) wouldn't exist – that much is obvious from our name alone. Our education and healthcare programmes wouldn't have helped some of the world's most disadvantaged people. We wouldn't have changed policies and practices in marginalised communities for the better. And I certainly wouldn't be writing this blog post.