When your volunteer term abroad is coming to an end and there are just a few weeks remaining before your return home, it’s natural to be feeling homesick and looking forward to seeing your friends and family again. This is particularly true if you’ve been spending multiple months overseas. It’d be time to start thinking about all the logistics of returning home and making a successful volunteer project transition. It’s also an opportunity to do yet more things to support the cause you care about and travelled thousands of miles for. Here are some things you may consider doing prior to your journey back home.
Your feedback is a gift
Be sure to take the time to get in touch with both the volunteer placement agency and the host organisation to tell them about your experience. They will greatly appreciate the feedback, as it helps them to learn what they’re doing right or wrong from a volunteer’s perspective. It also helps them to improve in particular areas while letting them know which part of the experience you’ve found especially invaluable.
Write online reviews
If you had a great time at your host organisation, let the internet know! Go onto the Facebook pages of the volunteer placement agency and the host organisation and leave them five stars! Do the same on Google Reviews or other volunteering sites. This can be extremely beneficial for the organisations to help them gain more support and volunteers. Taking five minutes out of your day to leave a quick review can do wonders for the organisation’s visibility.
Write your story—get the word out!
No matter what your writing level is, people will absolutely love reading about your international volunteering experience from your perspective. Write about your impressions while you’re still immersed in the volunteer project.
Your story will really help future volunteers to follow your path and learn from your experience, setbacks included! You can write on your social media profiles, your personal blog, or volunteering forums. You can even send your written story to the volunteer placement agency you went through, so that they can post it and use it to advise potential volunteers.
Review your volunteer project goals with your host organisation
It’s a good idea to organise a meeting with your manager at the host organisation and review the goals you have outlined together on your volunteer project agreement to see if you have accomplished what you had set out to do, as well as to note your achievements and to review what you had hoped to gain from your experience.
Pass it on and pay it forward!
One of the best ways to keep your volunteer abroad experience alive is to mentor someone else and organise a proper project handover so that someone else can inherit your work and continue the project. This is the right time to discuss the transition with your manager, finalise your project and do whatever is necessary to ensure someone will be able to pick up from where you left off.
Say your goodbyes
Whether you have feelings of relief, excitement, sentimentality, or anticipation, the place where you’ve lived, the work you’ve done, and the people you’ve shared your life with have surely made an impact on you. You don’t want to go rushing off to the next chapter in your life without a proper final thank you and goodbye. Take your time to get your farewells in and thank the people who have contributed positively to your overall experience in Cambodia.
Why not… plan to return next year?
Sometimes you start as a volunteer, and end up as a lifelong friend. That is when it’d be the right time to plan your return for next year!