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How to volunteer and travel at once!

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Volunteering with children in Vanuatu

 

Summer holidays are coming up, so what are your vacation plans? Florida? London? The Bahamas? Shall I throw in another cliché? Well some of the most beautiful places in the world can be found in countries a lot less fortunate than ours, countries that could benefit from a helping hand. Eighty percent of the world’s population lives off less than $10 a day with no access to adequate healthcare, education or even clean drinking water. Our animals and animals are also in danger across the globe. So when planning your next getaway, why not consider a chance to see beautiful places and give something back?

Here’s a list of some of the best volunteering programs to help you decide which one is best for you and tips on how to go about it.

 

 

LATTITUDE GLOBAL VOLUNTEERING

www.lattitudecanada.org

 

Lattitude is an international youth development charity with a mission to educate and develop young people worldwide.

 

WHERE CAN YOU GO? Argentina, China, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, India, Malawi, Poland, South Africa, Vanuatu, Vietnam & more.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Community or environmental work, care, medical or school assistance or teach English in schools ranging from kindergartens to universities.

LENGTH? 3 – 12 months.

FOOD AND ACCOMODATION PROVIDED? Yes, accommodation types vary depending on program. Some programs also offer weekly ‘pocket money’.

COST? $3,620-$4,260 (cost can be fundraised and grants are available)

 

GLOBAL VOLUNTEERS

www.globalvolunteers.org

 

A non-profit organization working under the direction of local leaders to eradicate hunger, improve health and enhance IQ in partner communities worldwide.

 

WHERE CAN YOU GO? Costa Rica, Mexico, St Lucia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Tanzania, China, India, Vietnam, Cook Islands & more.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Development projects to help deliver essential services including: child care, gardening, labor assistance, classroom tutoring, health care, health education or teaching English.

LENGTH? 1-3 weeks but additional weeks can be arranged for an extra fee.

FOOD AND ACCOMODATION PROVIDED? Yes.

COST? $1,700-$3,200 ($200 student discounts available, option to fundraise money and scholarships available)

 

GOECO

www.goeco.org

 

GoEco aim to give a different tourism experience by encouraging ecological and volunteer tourism that promotes sustainable development

 

WHERE CAN YOU GO? Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, India, Maldives, Vietnam, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Fiji & more

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Working with wildlife (conservation, rehabilitation, research etc), humanitarian work (teaching, community aid, orphan care etc), internships, medical aid, marine conservation and agriculture.

LENGTH? 2 weeks – 6 months. You have the option to choose a desired length with most programs. Internships require a longer period of time and more commitment.

FOOD AND ACCOMODATION PROVIDED? Yes.

COST? $300-$3,500 (internships can cost up to $13,500)

 

PROJECTS ABROAD

www.projects-abroad.org

 

Projects Abroad is a company dedicated to encouraging youth volunteer work in developing countries.

 

WHERE CAN I GO? Ethiopia, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Samoa & more.

WHAT CAN I DO? Care work (children, special needs etc), teaching, conservation and environment projects, sports, archaeology, building, agriculture and farming or performing arts.

LENGTH? 1-12 weeks (extensions available)

FOOD AND ACCOMODATION PROVIDED? Yes.

COST? $2,200-$11,000

 

These suggestions are only a handful of the abundance out there and there are many more specific programs. For example, if you want to work with elephants, there are many programs in Asia and Africa that focus on elephant rehabilitation and conservation. With these programs you have the freedom to choose which country you would like to volunteer in and/or what community project you would like to get involved in.

Choosing something you want to do is easy; it’s planning the trip that can be the hard part. Make sure to research to find the program that is best for you.

 

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you on your way.

 

1. COMMIT

These sorts of volunteer projects are very beneficial for all involved, but a lot of hard work and dedication is required. If you are not passionate enough, then maybe this isn’t for you.

 

2. APPLY

Apply at least 4 months beforehand. The earlier you apply, the better.

 

3. BUDGET & SAVE.

You should have already been starting to put some pennies away but now it’s time to get serious. Budget your weekly allowance and save all you can. Make lunch instead of buying it. Ride a bike to save gas money. Think about every cent you spend. Give yourself enough time to save and look into scholarship opportunities.

 

4. FUNDRAISE

Most volunteer organizations encourage fundraising as it not only cuts the cost down for you (or eliminates it completely) but also raises awareness for the cause. Check with the organisations website for tips on fundraising.

 

5. BOOK THE EXTRAS

Now it’s time to book the necessities that aren’t included, such as flights, travel insurance and visas. Some organisations include health insurance in the cost so double check on their website.

 

6. PREPARE

Going to a developing country is daunting and you have to be prepared, both mentally and physically. Some third world countries carry health risks including diseases you won’t find here. Visit your doctor early to see if you will need any vaccinations. You also have to be prepared for less desirable living conditions compared to the comforts of home.

 

7. HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!

It’s not every day you get to experience and be a part of a whole new place and culture. Make sure to learn, thrive and be inspired. Volunteering can be such a rewarding experience and one to remember.

 

If you’re looking for a unique summer vacation, volunteering is something to consider. Being immersed in a new culture and helping it grow is an extremely rewarding feeling and as Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

By Caitlyn Leggett

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