Volunteer to Teach Computer Skills Abroad

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Computers are so commonly used in our every day life that we often don't stop to think about those who don't use one. Many countries around the world haven't had a use for them until recently. Sometimes they can't justify the high price either, but many companies are now changing. The continuous advance in technology is demanding a greater necessity for computer skills.

Whether you're teaching a business owner how to track his expenses or educating a child on basic computer skills, you can make a positive change for these people's futures.

Photo credit: MarcinMonko.

There used to be only a handful of opportunities to teach computer skills besides at technology giants such as Microsoft. Now almost every business uses a computer, so the need for computer skills has skyrocketed.

Central America

Many businesses are starting to catch on to the benefits of using computers, and Central America is no different. Employers need their workers to be able to keep track of money more efficiently, respond to customer service via email, and maintain a basic website.

Head to locations like Honduras to help employees learn how to do all these things and more. Guatemala is also catching on to the trend. You'll help them increase the value of their business and make a higher profit, which will benefit everyone at the company.

Asia

Countries like Thailand and the Philippines are oversaturated with tourists. While this is great for business, many family-run stores are no longer able to take cash only or take inventory on paper. Computer skills oftentimes become necessary to streamline this process.

You'll train them on how to use credit cards and keep track of it on the computer, start basic accounting sheets to keep track of their income, and set up their first website. Having trained workers help them will take their business to a whole new level.

Africa

Many volunteer opportunities are available in Ghana for computer training positions. You'll help employees with basic IT and computer skills, as many have not used a computer before. These will help at their current job or for any future job they may have afterwards.

There are also several programs in place to teach children in secondary schools, who will need these skills to get a job after they graduate. These skills offer students a head start on their post-graduation life and access to a better future. Nigeria is another country that has a growing need for teachers to help improve computer literacy in its communities.

Teaching computer skills is needed in a variation of settings all over the world, no matter which sector you choose to volunteer with.

Teach Beginner Computer Skills

If someone has never used a computer, they'll need a lot of instruction in order to get acclimated. You'll start with the basics, from turning it on, logging in, and connecting the keyboard and mouse. They'll need to see what each program on the computer does, how to use the Internet, how to save a document, proper typing skills, and how to access it for later. You can also help with basic organizing skills, such as setting up folders for specific documents.

Create Basic Forms

Many businesses have been tracking on paper for as long as they've been in operation, but need a better system. You'll show business owners how to set up a spreadsheet to start tracking their expenses and profit. They also may need help creating basic forms to track workers' hours to make sure everyone's getting paid for the correct amount of hours.

Set Up Technical Equipment

Some people may have basic computer knowledge, but no idea how to connect anything to it. You'll show them how to connect a printer or other computer accessories, such as a WiFi router, and learn basic troubleshooting skills, should anything go wrong. They may also need help setting up speakers or multiple monitors that need to be used.

When you're looking for a program to teach computer skills, here are a few factors to consider:

Figure Out Your Goals

What are you passionate about teaching? If you love explaining the basics to people and seeing the joy on their face when they finally begin to understand how to use it, going to a similar program is for you. Not everyone has the patience though, so you might consider volunteering for a program that teaches students more advanced skills.

Whether you'd like to teach younger students or help older clients with their businesses, make sure you're qualified for whatever program you apply for.

Housing

Housing is usually included as part of the volunteering program. In most cases, you'll be with other volunteers in a large volunteer house or a dorm room. This cuts down on the cost of the program, and lets you bond with others in your field.

Qualifications

Depending on what you're teaching, qualifications are not always strictly necessary. The volunteer program will most likely interview you to make sure you're a good fit for their needs and do a customary background check. Expect to receive some basic training before your trip, but it always helps to prepare on your own beforehand.

If you're teaching more advanced skills, you'll need to have the qualifications necessary to volunteer in this field. Programs may require a resume or put you through small tests to verify your skills. Be wary of programs that don't have pre-requisites! They may require a closer inspection on your part to make sure they're sustainable and actually make a difference.

Contributed by Marissa Pedersen

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