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Sports Volunteering Abroad

Sports volunteering abroad is the chance to combine your love for sports with traveling the world...

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Volunteer Projects and Internships for Sports

Why volunteer abroad for sports?

Sport is a great means to unite people and promote physical activity through fun and games. It’s healthy, a great stress reliever and a wonderful way to balance energy levels. Organizations focused on introducing exercise programs to local communities in Africa or South America provide sustainable opportunities for those less fortunate.

Important values such as teamwork and dedication are learned through practicing sports and have shown positive effects on disadvantaged communities. It’s proven that keeping children off the streets and engaging them in something positive improves their personal development. Children who engage in sports programs are also proven to be more successful in educational environments as well.

Many children in developing countries simply don’t receive the special care and support they deserve which has led to socio-economic issues like teenage pregnancy, petty crime and substance abuse. This phenomenon is especially visible in rural areas of Africa or South America.

Luckily, there are organizations in place that are dedicated to community development and providing a safe space for local youth. By introducing sports programs and engaging the local youth in different opportunities, the programs are successfully bringing across values such as teamwork, structure, discipline and self-confidence.

As a sports volunteer abroad, you will be a role model for the children of the local neighborhood. Besides teaching students the skills to play a certain sport, you’re taking time to bond with them and helping them to learn for life. This connection will allow you to positively encourage and influence them in their future development.

The main aim of these programs are the following:

  • Improve the future prospects of disadvantaged children
  • Improve health and social issues by engaging youths in physical activity
  • Provide insight into the special importance of a healthy lifestyle, increase confidence, teach teamwork and other skills that will benefit children
  • Create intercultural understanding where both local children and international sports volunteers in the programs can learn from each other
  • gain practical work experience while teaching children. Continue reading to find out which skills you need as a sports volunteer abroad!

Which skills do I need to volunteer for a sports program abroad?

You’re excited about volunteering abroad but wondering if you have the right skills to join a program? We will discuss some special skills which would be great to have if you are considering to volunteer abroad for sports and work with local children:

Sport skills

If you are considering to volunteer abroad for a sports program, you’re undoubtedly someone who is interested in this area. You might enjoy doing a specific sport like soccer, surfing, tennis, rugby or even kitesurfing or perhaps you are an all-rounder! It is important for you to have theoretical and practical knowledge of the sports and games you are going to teach. There are organizations and projects available in both cases. Lovers are bound to find sports volunteer opportunities abroad to their taste!

Social skills

As a sports volunteer abroad, you are constantly working with people from different backgrounds. Volunteers will need to be social individuals with an open mindset eager to communicate and connect with the local society they work in. Social skills are key to a great volunteer work experience!

Teaching / Coaching

Do sports internships and gain study credits while you volunteer. A sports volunteer program is an excellent chance for students. When volunteering in this field, you will be teaching children of the local community a particular or various sports. It would be great if you have some experience in teaching or coaching youth. Although experience isn’t a requirement, volunteers should be enthusiastic about coaching or teaching others. A sports volunteer program is an excellent chance for students. Do a sports internship and gain study credits while you volunteer. You will get the opportunity to learn during the volunteer experience and may, in some cases, receive a training from the organization when they start their program.

What language skills are required?

English is the main language on all projects so it’s important that you have a good understanding of English. This is important to communicate with the staff at the project center and other volunteers. For projects in South America, it would help if you have a basic knowledge of Spanish prior to going as most locals in the district don’t speak any English. Learning some Spanish words would definitely help kickstart your sports volunteer adventure!

What will I do as a sports volunteer?

There are a plenty of sports volunteer opportunities dedicated to bringing sports to disadvantaged children of the local community, each focusing on a different sport. They are all aimed at uniting the youth and enjoying themselves while doing sports!

The main focus is on the children and creating a safe environment where they can exert themselves in a healthy way and learn new skills through games. Certain projects are linked to the school and used as an incentive to encourage students to finish their schoolwork.

Some are individual sports like swimming, surfing, skateboarding and tennis while other are team-based sports allowing children to improve teamwork skills. Many organizations, especially in Africa, are dedicated to coaching or training young ones in popular fields such as soccer and rugby. Volunteers with a passion for less mainstream sports such as cricket, netball or kitesurfing need not fear. There are great sports volunteer opportunities out there asking for volunteers in precisely this area!

There are many different projects abroad focused on bringing sports to the local neighborhoods but we’ve listed some activities which most projects will have in common:

  • Interaction with the locals
  • Assistance with teaching lessons and sport activities
  • Playing and participating with local children
  • Helping with setting up and cleaning up equipment
  • Providing help and support to the organization where needed

Sports Internship

Students studying physical education can always gain international work experience by volunteering abroad for sports. A sports internship will allow you to connect with the youth of that country and give you great insight into the locals. Sports is a wonderful way to unite people and divert their attention away from some of the troubles they’re facing on a daily basis. Learn things you would never learn at school while you do a sports internship. Experience what it is like to work abroad and connect with others in a meaningful and healthy way.

Best places to volunteer abroad for sports

Most organizations that are focused on bringing sports programs to the local community are located in South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

If your passion is swimming, surfing or kitesurfing, your sports volunteer adventure will likely lead you to South Africa where incredible waves await you and your surfboard. Volunteers keen on sharing their soccer skills are welcomed with open arms in African and South American soccer-loving countries like Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya.

If you are a natural when it comes to sports in general, sport coach volunteers are widely sought after in various countries in Africa and South America. Adventurous volunteers attracted to locations off the beaten track like Mongolia and Fiji will also find their perfect location as they contribute to the local community.

Whether you’re a volunteer for sports or doing sports internships, there are endless opportunities to discover some of the most exciting places in the world.

Top 5 benefits of volunteering for sports

You’ll definitely be contributing to a greater good if you decide to volunteer your time abroad and you’ll be touching more lives than you think. But apart from that, here are five benefits of volunteering abroad for a sports project:

1. Health and happiness

Most people will agree that helping others feels great. Research shows that the act of contribution makes people feel happier because it gives them a sense of purpose. You will also become part of a warm community. It’s also proven that moving and physical engagement induce happiness hormones and improves health markers. Volunteers for these projects are destined to radiate health and happiness!

2. Experience

A sports internship is a wonderful opportunity for students studying physical education to gain international work experience. For those with a professional background in teaching or coaching sports, this may be a great opportunity to gain special experience in a completely different work setting. Volunteering experiences are always appreciated by future employers and bring along great opportunities to improve skills.

3. People

Not only will you be connecting with locals but you will also connect with other volunteers and staff members who are passionate and work for the same cause. You’re guaranteed to meet some inspiring people and develop meaningful relationships during your sports volunteer work.

4. Self-empowerment

Deciding to volunteer in a different country and culture requires you to get out of your comfort zone. It will be challenging at first but it will also feel like an accomplishment. You will gain strength and self-confidence from the experience which will help you pursue other things in life you never thought possible.

5. Travel

This is the ideal opportunity to combine travel with something meaningful. Always wanted to discover a certain part of the world and learn more about the culture? This is your chance to explore and simultaneously connect with the locals on a profound level.

How can I volunteer as a sports volunteer?

So you’re ready to volunteer as a sports volunteer but you’re not quite sure how to get started? Take a look at the following 3 steps that will prepare you for your sports volunteer program abroad and an unforgettable adventure:

  1. Check whether there’s a match between you and the project by looking at their requirements.
  2. Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it would be a location you are excited about.
  3. Get in touch with the organization and see whether your expectations and your schedule match up

Once this is sorted. Let’s take a look at the practical steps:

Insurance (Health & travel)

We recommend getting both health and travel insurance. In fact, this is even a requirement for most programs abroad. Get in touch with your program contact person to find out if an insurance plan is already in place for you.

Visa, passport, and documentation

Once you know your destination, take the following 3 steps before setting off on your life-changing adventure!

  • Look into the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in.
  • Make sure you have a valid passport considering the requirement of the host country.
  • Prepare the correct documents to fulfill the visa application.

When these items are sorted, you are good to go!

Travel safe and get ready to teach your favorite sport to disadvantaged local people and children in some of the most exotic locations!