Everything you learn when you volunteer abroad

No, I’m not a gap yah wanker

You've probably been bored to death looking at photos of Annabelle on top of Machu Picchu, or hearing how Freddie 'found himself' through Buddhist meditation in Thailand, and now you wouldn't dare do something so pretentious. Well, there is a way of doing all the fun stuff without looking like a total dick: international volunteering. Whether it's through uni or not, volunteering abroad is way better than being a posh twat.

Not everyone has the bank of Mum and Dad to rely on

While Henry swanned across the globe on his parents' carte blanche, some of us had work or studying to be doing. Volunteering isn't cheap, but it's much more rewarding fundraising and actually working for the money rather than being handed it. Plus people will respect you more, because nobody likes a daddy's girl.

T is for top of the world

T is for top of the world

You'll meet your BFFLs while you're there

You'll soon discover that the people that you volunteer with are one of two things: either you'll hate each others guts, or more likely you'll find out you were all separated at birth and you've finally reunited with your long lost twins.

You spend so much time with each other that you know each other's birthdays, middle names, and the order you shower in (body, face, pits & bits, then hair if you must know).

Ok guys, act natural

Ok guys, act natural

You'll be in tears every day from laughing, and you'll be in tears when you have to leave them at the end of the trip.

You'll fall out with your BFFLs while you're there

Spending so much time so close to a bunch of strangers can be pretty testing, especially when their boundaries have pretty much disappeared after week 1. No, Adam, you can't just climb into my bed to 'keep warm'. Freak. And can everyone please pick up your sweaty bras?

It won't last though, you'll have laughed it all off the next day and you can go back to being the big happy family that you were before.

No girls, we're shooting the album cover, piss off

No girls, we're shooting the album cover, piss off

You'll plan to meet up after the trip's over, but never do

Mario Kart Otley run? Sure, I'll be there…

The actual volunteering part

It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're doing it. You could be building playgrounds in Uganda, rehabilitating turtles in Greece, coaching sports in South Africa, or teaching in Thailand. Whatever it is, you'll be making a difference, and that's what matters. Not only will you be having the best time of your life, you'll get such a rewarding feeling from helping out wherever you can. You cant bet that Oliver didn't get that feeling when he was skiing in the Alps.

You thought Freshers was bad, just wait until you discover foreign booze

Yes, a potato was used to take this photo

Yes, a potato was used to take this photo

If you thought you'd had a hangover before, honey you've got a big storm coming. Drink that's cheaper than a sausage roll and stronger than that bouncer that dragged you out of the club that one time (what a dick, right?). Prepare to have your socks blown off. The world of alcohol outside the UK is like Willy Wonka's factory, but boozy.

You haven't lived until you've sat watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean sipping an ice-cold Carling Black Label with your mates. I realise that I sound like one of those pretentious twats now, but believe me when I say, it will change your life.

The most beautiful thing in the world. Next to some weirdos

The most beautiful thing in the world. Next to some weirdos

Skydive, Safari, swimming with Sharks, and climbing a mountain? Tick

The main purpose of your trip is the volunteering, obviously, but there's also a chance to do everything those posh bastards do on their gap year too. Whatever tickles your pickle, you can do it. Swim with Penguins in Cape Town? Go for it. Watch a Leopard hunt in the wild? Why not. Throw yourself out of a plane just for the hell of it? Yes please. Nearly get eaten by a Shark? Ermmm… I guess?

The point is, you don't have to take a year out to 'find yourself' as an excuse to do all these amazing things. Nobody is going to call you a wanker for climbing Table Mountain, but they sure as hell will if mummy paid for your soul-searching journey.

You'll be sick of talking about it when you're back

Having to explain to every god-damn person on the planet what you did while you were away. What's that Susan? Where did I go this summer? Mars. I had a delightful time thanks for asking, and you're the 63rd person to ask that, so if you'd please fuck off that would be amazing.

One thing's for sure though: you'll never, ever regret it.