Volunteer Tourism

Looking for a way to immerse yourself in a different culture AND make a difference? Consider a volunteer vacation. Opportunities exist for people of all ages to use their skills and abilities in a variety of situations.  Some organizations specialize in one particular type of volunteer work (such as Habitat for Humanity), while others like Global Volunteers and Global Citizens for Change offer a wide range of experiences teaching, managing, communicating and working with specific age groups. Projects vary widely from building homes
and providing education and medical assistance to helping farmers in a
Third World country upgrade
their techniques.

When it comes to choosing what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go, consider:

  • What strengths you want to use
  • What languages you speak
  • What your budget is and what the costs will be (travel, accommodation, equipment, meals, expenses)
  • Whether fundraising is a possibility (getting corporate support or government grants)
  • Which culture you would like to immerse yourself in
  • What environments you’re comfortable living in
  • The timing of your visit (don’t get involved in disaster relief unless you have training and experience)
  • Safety and security in the area (including emergency plans should you need to be evacuated for any reason)
  • Your health
  • Travel requirements (innoculations, travel documents, limitations on foreigners)
  • The reputation of the organization you are going to be volunteering with (beware of scams and make sure you will get training and preparation before you leave)