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Volunteering Abroad can Ease Student Woe

Volunteering Abroad can Ease Student Woe

Wednesday 21st September 2011

Youth charity Raleigh International is offering the chance to get away from it all

With many young people depressed about not getting into university, youth charity Raleigh International is offering the chance to get away from it all. A recent study found that 90% of Raleigh volunteers had a more positive attitude to work and life at the end of their expedition.

According to the latest figures from UCAS, more than 220,000 young people didn’t get into university this year. These young people are now left with a tough choice of waiting for next year and paying much higher tuition fees, or stepping out into the fiercely competitive world of work. Faced with this uncertainty, many are now feeling despondent and depressed. Youth and sustainable development charity, Raleigh International is offering young people the chance to get away from it all by volunteering overseas. A recent study carried out by Dr Andrew Rothwell from De Montfort university found that 90% of Raleigh International volunteers felt they had a much more positive attitude to work and life in general at the end of their expedition.

As one of the few charities in the gap year sector, Raleigh International is committed to helping young people through a journey of personal development whilst also ensuring the projects they work on are sustainable. The charity acts as a bridge between education and work, providing the opportunity for young people to gain new skills and experiences that can help secure a place at university as well as enhancing future job prospects. Many young people return from their time abroad feeling refreshed, with a new sense of purpose.

Jenni Birch, from Warwickshire volunteered with Raleigh International after she had to take an unplanned gap year. She is now about to start studying environmental science at Manchester Met. She said:  “For me, confidence has always been an issue – Raleigh definitely helped me in that respect. I'm generally more independent and confident meeting new people. I'd recommend Raleigh International to anyone. Although my break was unplanned, I now feel miles ahead of others who have just gone straight into university in terms of the things I have done and the experiences I have gained.”

Kayleigh Carr, 24 from Arbroath has just returned from volunteering in Costa Rica for 10 weeks with Raleigh International. She gave up her job as a senior stylist after 6 years to volunteer with Raleigh International and now plans to start a new career in Community Learning and Development. She said: “I was unhappy in my work and bored with my life, I wanted to push myself to my limits and a friend who had done Raleigh said it would change my life – and it did. The experience was amazing. I have recommended it to lots of people as a way of putting your life into perspective and realising your full potential, whilst helping people across the globe. Volunteering with Raleigh International has just reinforced how much I want to do community learning and development as a career and how much I enjoy helping people.

Raleigh International takes groups of young people from different nationalities, backgrounds and life stages on expeditions overseas. They work on sustainable community and environmental projects combined with a tough adventure phase. Raleigh’s unique approach to personal development means volunteers can gain valuable skills such as teamwork, communication, adaptability and problem-solving, as well as coming away with increased confidence.

Stacey Adams, Raleigh International’s CEO commented: “Overseas travel is an appealing option for many young people but at Raleigh International we encourage young people to make constructive use of their time abroad. During a 10 week expedition, Raleigh International volunteers will work on a variety of projects with people from all different backgrounds – through this, they can expect to gain highly valued skills such as teamwork, communication and decision-making, as well as a boost in confidence.”

Autumn applications have now drawn to a close but applications for Spring are open. Young people are urged to apply as soon as possible to ensure they have enough time to sort out their vaccinations and fundraising. Raleigh International has a bursary award available for young people who would find the fundraising target a challenge too far. For more information and to apply visit www.raleighinternational.org.