Unlike in America, many European students embark upon a gap year either immediately before or after their first four years of university. Depending on when a student embarks on this journey, prospective colleges or employers will judge them on how well they made use of this time. Real-world situations and lessons are impossible to mimic inside a classroom. Volunteerism, especially abroad, is a great way for students to gain a broader perspective of the world and a deeper understanding of the human condition in general. 

That being said, there are also plenty of volunteer opportunities to choose from during the college years, and they carry their own set of real-world lessons that look great on a resume and can be applied throughout someone’s life. This demographic comes with its own set of challenges, however. Studies have shown that, although college-aged students have boundless passion and ideas about the world they want to live in, they are a difficult group to enlist when it comes to putting ideas into action. 

For this reason, it’s important for recruiters to stress the benefits of volunteerism when petitioning for help. In addition to standing out from competitors on a resume, employers will be more likely to overlook other fallibilities if a candidate has served in a volunteer capacity. In addition, if a person has experience running a team of volunteers, it adds even more to their list of skills such as time management, problem-solving, leadership, organization, and knowledge about any software they used along the way. 

Another benefit of volunteering in college is the mental health aspect. Mindfulness has been a topical issue in recent years because it helps people to cope with stress. The act of helping others and being aware of your own good fortune is a great way to step outside of your own issues and find peace. 

There is an additional benefit to doing volunteer work during your college years – giving back to your local area. Strong community-school relations are fostered by students contributing to the well-being of people around them, and Americorps is a federally-supported, domestic volunteer program that works with institutions like colleges and universities to help the needs of others. 

This article was originally published at https://navy-lanier.org/