One of the hardest parts of living abroad that may not be obvious at first is figuring out how to be an engaged citizen of your home country from the other side of the world. It’s especially easy to feel that way now with the recent election causing a lot of division and tension in the United States. Short of returning home to be in the middle of the action, I’ve started wondering what I can do from where I am now in order to contribute to my community.
Fortunately, with internet access and some Google searching, there are so many different ways anyone can be involved from abroad. Here are some ideas to get you started!
One of the simplest and yet extremely effective ways to help out is by donating to an organization of your choice. Whether a one-time donation or a regular one, the choice is up to you. Donations allow organizations to keep running and offering supportive services to the community. Too many to pick from? Try using a site like Charity Navigator to help you choose which organization to donate to.
Volunteer for your home country from abroad? Yes. It’s completely possible! Are you a writer or teacher? Check out this piece on NGO’s looking for volunteers to support youth and adults in the States. Some of the organizations listed are looking for remote volunteers. Interested in helping digitally another way? Search for some organizations that you support and reach out to them to see how you can help from abroad.
Talk It Out & Make New Friends
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the bigger picture, but it’s often the smallest actions that make the biggest difference. How do you defeat division? Connect to the people around you. When we build bridges right where we are, it has a ripple effect.
Dialogue leads to major change. The primary cause of division amongst people? A lack of a desire to talk to one another, and especially to talk to those who we don’t see eye to eye with. Whether it’s chatting with a family member with opposing views or co-workers who you wouldn’t spend time with outside of work, plant a seed where you are.
With a multitude of options to stay in touch with our home countries, there are also plenty of options to be involved. Whether it’s from volunteering to create a flyer for a new start-up helping those in need, or chatting with an old acquaintance about differing views, each action we take is valuable.
How do you plan on making a difference from abroad?
Let us know below!
Nina is a dessert fiend, Nichiren Buddhist and elementary school teacher. Born and raised in the one and only Brooklyn, New York, she’s thrilled to return to Spain, landing this time in Madrid. She shares openly about all of her experiences from love to friendship to the ups and downs of life, in the hopes of connecting to and inspiring others. Discover more of her stories at WorldintoWords.com.