If living a stone’s throw away from Disney and universal hasn’t got you sold on wanting to experience living in Orlando as a volunteer, we’re sure that the abundance of Floridian wildlife and opportunities to day trip to the Mexican Gulf will entice you. However, Orlando isn’t all beaches, sunbathing, and heading to Disneyworld. The city of Orlando volunteer network works tirelessly to assist in a multitude of causes: from fun projects like International Fashion week, to more serious causes like conservation projects, volunteering in Orlando will be a worthy experience!
What You Need to Know About Volunteering in Orlando
You may have visited Orlando before and assumed the area is affluent and not in need of volunteers; however, there are many shelters and organizations who would benefit from your kind help.
Popular causes and projects in Orlando. Wildlife and conservation organizations comprise the bulk of need for volunteers in Orlando. This isn’t surprising considering the fun, tropical climate of Orlando. This is a great opportunity for those of you interested in conservation or those wishing to pursue careers in these industries. If you prefer to help humans over animals, there are plenty of volunteer projects in Orlando, like working at soup kitchens, supporting after school programs, and more.
Short term volunteer projects in Orlando. Consider short term volunteering in the United States if you’re currently studying at university and only have a few weeks spare in the summer. Not only university students are accepted onto these programs, even teens can benefit from contributing to community service projects in Orlando. If time is an issue for you, meaning you only have time to get involved with a short term project, make sure you invest some time in finding out about the project properly, for example: who they are, what they stand for, how your work will impact the cause in the future, etc.
Long term volunteer projects in Orlando. If you have the time, think about volunteering in Orlando long term. This will enable you to see the vision of the cause and watch your work develop into something amazing. Long term volunteer projects are a great opportunity for those who may have already graduated or not yet attended university and can afford to give up more of their time to a cause they’re interested in. Ensure you take your finances into consideration as many projects are unpaid, meaning you’ll have longer to support yourself.
Life in Orlando for international volunteers
If you’re a native English speaker and are nervous about volunteering in a foreign country where English is not widely spoken, you’ll be at ease, plus, you’ll still be able to meet lots of people from all over the world due to the many international inhabitants living in Orlando. You may even meet Mickey himself!
Orlando city is welcoming to international volunteers of all backgrounds.The city is well known for not discriminating against a person and their race, gender, religion and orientation. This is great news for international volunteers in Orlando who are made up of multicultural views!
Socializing in Orlando is relatively easy. Various festivals are held throughout the year and are easy to find out about through social media and advertisements throughout the city. People are friendly here and going to these events will help volunteers to make some great friends.
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Volunteering may be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before! Think of your experience as a way for you to learn, as well as assist in a cause you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the superior overlooking your volunteer project. They’ll be happy you’re interested in getting involved with the cause. Also, if you have any suggestions you think they’d benefit from, don’t be afraid to share!
Don’t be put off by negative comments you may encounter when you say you’re considering Florida. There is SO much to do in Orlando. Huge open spaces, beaches, fresh markets and more—all within a short drive. It’s an international volunteer’s dream location, as the work will be meaningful and your free time will be incredibly laidback.
While Florida is known as the sunshine state, it can also be victim to some nasty storms. If you plan on volunteering in Orlando for a long time, pack your case with various weather conditions in mind.
Orlando is truly where dreams happen, and we hope you’ll soon realize that the dreams created here are a lot more meaningful than the stereotypical view of the city.
For more information on more amazing opportunities, read our comprehensive guide on volunteering in the US.