A blog to share our thoughts and experiences

Josie THOMAS shares her experience as a public health intern in Keta, Ghana

Top 5 reasons why you should take the leap and volunteer abroad

Join an AOH Global Program as a volunteer, intern or customize a group to see the world in a unique and rewarding way.
Written by Shelby Vogl

Leaving the comfort of home and the familiar surroundings that make up our everyday lives is never easy, but that’s how we grow as people and global citizens. We grow and learn from visiting new places, trying new foods, and immersing ourselves in an unfamiliar culture that allows us to gain a new perspective of our world. One of the best and most rewarding ways to grow as a global citizen is by volunteering abroad. While taking the opportunity to volunteer abroad in a foreign country may seem intimidating, it is a life-changing experience that will forever change the way you see yourself and the world around you. Volunteering abroad allows you to travel to destinations that you have never been to before and truly immerse yourself in a way that would not be possible with another form of travel. On a personal level, I know what a great impact volunteering abroad can have for even a short amount of time. Here are my top five reasons why you should take the leap and volunteer abroad.

Beef up your resume and learn new skills

A great way to set yourself apart from the sea of resumes that you will be competing with for employment is to volunteer abroad. Not only does volunteering abroad show that you care about the world around you, but it also shows that you are adaptable, willing to take risks, and that you have cultural sensitivity. In addition, volunteering abroad is a great conversation starter in an interview that will make you memorable and help you stand out from the pack.

Participants on a school of social work faculty-led group program hone their research skills by facilitating a focus group dialogue.

Make a real difference

One of the best reasons to volunteer abroad is to make a real difference in a community. By living in the community that you are volunteering in, you can actually see the difference that you are making in people’s lives. Being able to experience the difference you are making is something that you will never forget.

AOH-ProWorld Ghana participants celebrate opening a multi-purpose center built with volunteer labor for and in collaboration with the Ayedwe community of rural farmers.


Volunteering abroad is an excellent way to see the world in a unique and rewarding way. Through volunteering abroad, you can go to places that you have only ever dreamed of going and in most cases, these trips are significantly cheaper than if you would have gone on your own. Not only will you get to see the world, but you will also get to experience the culture of your destination first hand by living and working in your new community.

Make friends for life

Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to connect with like-minded people! Volunteering abroad helps you form a special bond with others that can last a lifetime. What’s more, when you volunteer abroad you are going to meet people from all over the world. Maybe you will meet your next travel partner, or maybe you will travel to one of your new friend’s home country and have a brand new adventure! When you volunteer abroad, the possibilities are endless!

Have a life-changing experience

One thing that I know that from both personal stories and hearing about other people who have volunteered abroad is that it will change your life forever. For me, volunteering abroad gave me a new perspective of the world and myself. It made me feel more confident in my abilities and myself. For other fellow volunteers, volunteering began a lifetime love of travel. Whatever the outcome is, volunteering abroad will change you in a way that is hard to explain. It is such an amazing experience that I would not have given up for the world. So if you are even considering going abroad to volunteer, take the leap and go, I promise you won’t regret it.

Group leaders and students on a global health custom group program visit the community where their project counterpart grew up.

Avanna Aikens, a student who decided to take a leap of faith and volunteer with AOH Global Programs

Avanna Aikens, a student who decided to take a leap of faith and volunteer with AOH Global Programs
 Written by Shelby Vogl

Taking the opportunity to volunteer abroad can be frightening to say the least. Leaving the comfort of your own home and stepping out into the unknown can be unsettling but from my experience, totally and completely worth it. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to Avanna Aikens, a student who decided to take a leap of faith and volunteer with AOH Global Programs. Talking with Avanna gave me an idea of what it is like to volunteer with AOH Global Programs and how rewarding it can be.


What program did you participate in? When did you go abroad?

I participated in the service learning program in June of 2017 for a month. During this time I gave presentations about health topics depending on the age group I was talking to. The topics could be about hand washing and tooth brushing, malaria, and STDs.


Why did you choose to go abroad with AOH Global programs?

They are partnered with my school. There was a range of different countries that I could pick and I chose to go with AOH Global Programs because I had always wanted to go to Africa.


Can you tell me about one of your best memories that you had while you were abroad?

I liked building relationships with the students. I still keep in touch with them through Facebook messaging.


How did volunteering with AOH Global programs change your view of the world and yourself if at all?

It did. The first time I went abroad was in high school for a mission trip. After that trip I was still undecided with what I wanted to do. After going to Ghana, it made me want to do more international work.


What would you want a prospective volunteer to know about volunteering with AOH global programs?

It’s a great experience, and not one that you could get with a lot of other study abroad programs because at AOH you can connect with people and form relationships and get involved in the community. You form significant relationships with those you work with.


Would you recommend AOH Global programs to your family and friends?

Yes I would.