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Susan Gibson
How to be an Amazing Volunteer Overseas

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

Do you want to travel and make a positive impact on the world? This book is designed for you. How To Be An Amazing Volunteer Overseas will give you essential advice on how to decide what to do and where to go. It will help you to prepare for life in a new country. And most importantly, it will set you up to get the most out of your experience by learning from local leaders and contributing in a meaningful way. Full of practical tips and personal stories from the author’s experience having worked and volunteered in 70 countries, How To Be An Amazing Volunteer has been endorsed by leaders in the international development community, and is a must-read as borders begin to open up post-pandemic and purpose-driven Gen Zers around the world look to broaden their horizons while making a positive impact. Net proceeds from book sales will go to support education programs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya and a First Nations community in Canada.
“Volunteering is about connecting to people, being of service,” writes Gibson in this straightforward debut. Springboarding from her own extensive volunteer experience, including working in over 40 countries across the world, she walks readers through the step-by-step process of discovering volunteer opportunities that are “uplifting, rewarding, and life-changing,” focusing on partnering with NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) to deliver valuable assistance where it’s needed most. Gibson includes snapshots of her personal diary entries and family communication for levity as she organizes her clear-eyed advice around four main steps: “deciding to go on a volunteer trip, preparing to travel, adapting to a new country, and readjusting to life back home.”

Readers will appreciate Gibson’s succinct, easy-to-follow guidance. Her insights include a rundown of reliable methods of determining the legitimacy of NGOs and volunteer sites, a breakdown of fees volunteers should be prepared to pay for the experience, and different medical needs that can arise when traveling outside your country of origin. She emphasizes the importance of anticipating culture shock and offers advice on how to combat it, and readers will enjoy the travel stories she shares—such as her refusal to accept one flight’s offer of a full bottle of vodka with her plane ticket, or a colleague’s mishap with culturally inappropriate clothing.

Throughout this succinct guide, Gibson emphasizes the remarkable opportunities that volunteering overseas can provide, encouraging readers to “do with others, not for others.” She includes touching memories of helping one woman realize her lifelong dream of learning to write her own name, alongside more emotional recollections of impacting lives awash with trauma. Gibson’s packing lists and checklists for safety and common language phrases to learn are the icing on the cake. Anyone who enjoys travel and wants to add value to others’ lives will find this a satisfying place to start.

Takeaway: A highly practical guide that simplifies what it takes to volunteer abroad.

Great for fans of: William MacAskill’s Doing Good Better, David Nott’s War Doctor, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s A Path Appears.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A