When accompanying partners volunteer

Surveys about global mobility often show that people accompanying their partner on an international assignment are not themselves working abroad. But they rarely attempt to find out why or if there might be other ways for traveling partners to stay professional on the move.

As we were not too happy with the statistic information available about traveling partners we asked the members and friends of here we are to participate in a global mobility survey of our own in the spring of 2017.

One of the questions we asked our members and friends was: While living abroad have you done any type of volunteer work?

72% of the traveling partners who participated in the survey indicated that they volunteered while living abroad.

Of the 28% that did not volunteer while living abroad 21% indicated that their host country did not allow them to volunteer, 29% indicated that they had looked but not found opportunities – language being mentioned as a barrier. And 50% stated that they had not looked for chances to volunteer since they had chosen to spend their time abroad on other priorities – working being one of them.

Where do accompanying partners volunteer?

We asked the accompanying partners that volunteer, what type of volunteer jobs they did. The answers were almost as varied as our members, but they all sounded very much like something considered professional work force tasks, including: teaching, training, graphic design, web design, newsletters and communication tasks, project management, event planning and coordination, treasurer, office work, board member, chairman, visiting patients, assisting young handicapped persons – and of course volunteering as a Focal Point or a Key Resource Person for the here we are network.

We also asked the traveling partners what type of organisation they volunteered for. Please see the numbers below.

It should be added that many of the survey participants included volunteer work in more than one type of organisation, therefore the numbers should not be merged.

It can also be added that out of the 72% traveling partners that volunteered abroad, 54% both worked and volunteered broad.
46% volunteered but did not also work. You will find much more information about working partners in the post: Are here we are members working?

We also asked the volunteers if they felt that volunteering helped them stay professional on the move. 56% indicated that it helped them maintain skills they already had while 59% said it helped them develop new skills. For 21% however, the impression was that volunteering did not help them keep professional.

We would like to thank everybody that took the time to answer here we are’s global mobility study this spring. You have given us valuable insights in the lives of global professionals and accompanying partners  that will further spark our efforts to keep opening opportunities to consciously build and share professional skills abroad.

You can find more information about here we are’s 2017 survey in Wonder what here we are members look like?


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