Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad in Zambia

by Marissa Sutera

Whether you love spending time with children or working with wildlife, a volunteer abroad experience in Zambia will take you out of your comfort zone and give you an opportunity to make a difference! Here are 10 reasons why you should volunteer abroad in Zambia:

Elementary students in Zambia

The Kids

It can be frustrating to see the dreadful conditions in which many impoverished Zambian families live, but when you get to spend time teaching kids, you will be able to provide them with things many people take for granted that they may not get the chance to experience otherwise. You get to educate them and give them the attention that kids desperately need.

Many of the kids are very eager to learn, and education is a privilege for them. Some of kids will be orphans, or living with extended family because their parents may no longer be around. Playing with them and giving them an opportunity to be a kid for a while can really impact them, and you too.

The Smoke that Thunders

These massive waterfalls also known as Victoria Falls are a must-see when you are in volunteering in Zambia. When you’re not volunteering, experiencing the beauty of the spectacular Victoria Falls should be at the top of your to-do list. Once you visit the falls in person it will be very clear why they are called “The Smoke that Thunders.” 

Make a Difference

At a time when Zambia is seeing so much growth, it is crucial now more than ever to have volunteer support in the country. Although their economy is growing, they still are fighting off major issues, like the limited access to water, proper health knowledge, and education. Those who volunteer abroad in Zambia can help to ease these issues, and teach Zambians how to reduce the poverty that they face.

The Casual Elephant on the Side of the Road

Crazy, but this does actually happen! Typically on the roads that are farther out from the main towns it is fairly common to see wild animals roaming around. Zambia has amazing wildlife and plenty of different safaris to take advantage of while you are there. It is definitely worth it to invest in a new camera as you can capture some pretty fantastic shots! 

Lake in Zambia

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

It can be scary and overwhelming at times to travel to a new country, especially when the country is so different from your own. Understanding the differences in culture and navigating in an unfamiliar area are challenges in themselves. It can be even more uncomfortable to volunteer and teach in such a foreign land. Yet, just like anywhere else, you get used to a new way of living and are able to see the world from a different perspective.

Your comfort zone stretches with you, and the more you step outside the boundaries the more it grows!

The Bugs

Yes, you read that right. For some, bugs may not bother you much. But for others, those creepy crawlers may gross you out beyond belief. Even the innocent fly may be an annoyance. Well, this will all change after you finish volunteering in Zambia. There are always flies. You will probably see some of the largest bugs you have ever seen before. And you will sleep with a mosquito net every night.

Now, you might be wondering why this is supposed to make you want to volunteer abroad in Zambia. Think about the first time you traveled. Were you scared? Or think about your childhood fear. Was it the monsters under your bed? How did it feel once you got older and no longer needed mom and dad to check your room before bed? That is kind of what volunteering in Zambia like. You will get used to all of this very quickly, and when you come home you will have no problem dealing with a small bug here or there. You will feel a whole lot more comfortable ignoring the pesky little critters than before, which can be a pretty big perk! 

Tonga, Bemba, & Lozi, Oh My!

With over 70 different tribes across the country, Zambia is very diverse. This makes it a very unique place to volunteer abroad. Such diversity makes for a culture that is rich in history and traditions. Discovering the different customs, such as learning a traditional Tonga dance, will only enhance your volunteer experience while also building a connection with Zambia.

A child in Zambia selling fruits

The Zambezi River

There is so much to do when you are not volunteering in Zambia. The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth largest River system, providing the opportunity for plenty of activities and sightseeing. There are areas where you can go fishing, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, and more!

Bargaining at the Markets

For those living in developed countries, you may not have much of an opportunity to bargain when you are shopping. You may be able to receive a small discount or shave some money off of that car price, but for the most part bargaining does not happen very often. However, in Zambia there are a lot of fantastic markets where you can go to buy interesting items, meet some of the locals, and yes- bargain! It can be a lot of fun to negotiate with the shop owners, and many of the items they sell are handmade with intricate designs and details. More likely than not, you will end up buying some things you are really not sure what you are going to do with!

Learn to Live Simply

Many Zambians do not have much. In fact, 80 percent of Zambians in rural areas live on less than $1 a day. Despite their hardships, they are joyful people that are very welcoming to any passersby. While you may go to Zambia to teach them, you might be surprised to find that becoming a volunteer abroad in Zambia will teach you even more than you ever could have imagined.