Navigation Menu
Questions You Need to Ask Before Volunteering Abroad

Questions You Need to Ask Before Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering abroad is an exciting opportunity, but it can be nerve-wracking if it’s your first time. Managing your expectations is important in order to get the most out of the trip, and to do that you need to ask the right questions.

But beyond your own personal expectations, it’s also important that you have the right information to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

Any good volunteer organisation should be happy to answer anything you want to know, so don’t be shy about asking. And if the answers you’re getting back are evasive or not fully transparent, you may need to consider a new project.

We chatted with volunteer sending organisation Original Volunteers for insight into some of the most important questions you should ask before volunteering abroad.

Read More
5 Ways to Make Travel Look Good on Your Resume

5 Ways to Make Travel Look Good on Your Resume

With fierce competition for the same jobs these days, it’s very easy to get swept up in the mindset of “I’ll travel later”, not wanting to leave a gap in your resume.

It’s long been thought that a large gap in your resume will mean being treated unfavorably by a prospective employer – especially if your explanation for the gap is “I was traveling the world”.

Though here’s some news – travel may actually boost your employability. As long as you can explain the benefits of your travel experience to a potential employer it could actually help your resume stand out, and improve your chances of being shortlisted for an interview.

But travel isn’t as novel as it used to be, so how can you properly market your time abroad to make your skills and experiences look good?

Read More
How to Be an Ethical Volunteer

How to Be an Ethical Volunteer

A quick Google search (or scanning of JK Rowling’s Twitter account) makes it clear that ethical volunteer tourism is a hot topic in today’s travel climate—and for good reason.

It’s important that we, as individuals who want to spend our time and resources in international service, are doing so in a way that is effective, productive, and sustainable. After all, no one “wants to become that volunteer who has just built a bridge where no bridge was needed.” —Lonely Planet.

So, should we write off all volunteer tourism as the wrong way to spend your vacation or extended periods living abroad?

Read More
Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Take on a Role with Street Child and Visit a Country as More Than Just a Tourist!

Kathmandu is a myriad of experiences: it’s dusty and beautiful, chaotic and serene, all at once. But one thing is definite: you’ll never discover all of it if you head here as just a tourist.

Come as an international volunteer, however, and you’ll get to discover the city’s secrets, learn its culture, and experience something so much more than a holiday.

Hannah, from Perth, Australia, is two months into a three-month research volunteer opportunity with UK-based charity Street Child, and she can’t believe how quickly her time in Nepal’s capital city has flown by.

Read More
Top Volunteer Projects in Guatemala

Top Volunteer Projects in Guatemala

Guatemala is a hidden gem among tourists, and a perfect destination for those interested in an authentic cultural immersion experience. While gaping at the expansive landscapes, exploring volcanoes, and becoming entranced by the colorful artisan crafts of the Mayans, volunteering in Guatemala has become another point of interest for those seeking a more fulfilling travel experience.

It is no secret that Guatemala’s government struggles to provide adequate resources to their citizens. Being the biggest country in Central America, with the largest economy, it’s baffling to realize that over half of the people live in poverty. While the tourist industry booms, the common people suffer.

So if you are looking to volunteer abroad, Guatemala is a great place to start. There are projects for every type of personality, skill, and interest, so knowing your options is a great starting point. Check out these top volunteer projects in Guatemala, and make your next trip a reason to get involved.

Read More
The Great and Not-so-great of Work Exchanges and Voluntourism

The Great and Not-so-great of Work Exchanges and Voluntourism

You wake up to the sound of birdsong outside your little stone hut, a fresh mountain breeze entering the space through the hand carved, traditional wooden vents that pepper the gorgeously textured natural walls. You wriggle out of your snug sleeping bag and step outside to be greeted by the Himalayan mountain range – the tallest peaks in the world rising resplendently from the green valleys far below you. Their flanks glisten in the gently filtered rays of another perfect sunrise. You say to yourself, today I’m gonna help some people, and it’ll be a good day.

This is life when volunteering, in particular, a work exchange in Nepal; but a similar scenario is attainable anywhere in the world. Replace the Himalayas with the Pacific Ocean; or replace your stone hut with a tent in a lush European forest, or a treehouse in the jungles of Costa Rica.

‘Voluntourism’ is a rather critical term thrown around a lot these days, but in my opinion it can be a wonderful, ethical, and sustainable way to travel, so long as you properly screen the families or local/international organisations with which you plan to work.

Read More
Countries To Consider For a Volunteer Placement This Year

Countries To Consider For a Volunteer Placement This Year

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

And while every country needs volunteers equally, there are a number of countries that are notoriously resource strapped, and often overlooked by international volunteers who opt for more popular destinations when choosing their placements.

As such, the following are countries we recommend considering for a volunteer placement in 2016. These choices may mean branching out to a perhaps previously unthought-of destination, though each offers the opportunity to affect real change and impact local lives where help is desperately needed.

Read More
Tips For First Time International Volunteers – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Tips For First Time International Volunteers – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

When you’re planning your first trip abroad as an international volunteer, there are many considerations to think about beyond making a list of what you should pack. For instance, is the program an ethical one? How much will it cost? What is that money paying for? Who will the program truly benefit? Do you have the right skills?

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole. While investing in your personal development and growth as well.

When structured correctly, volunteer placements can be mutually beneficial to both the volunteer and the local community, though how can we as travelers know which programs are responsible and which are not? What are the signs of an ethical volunteer program?

As a leader in the field of ethical volunteering, we reached out to Mark Horoszowski from Moving Worlds about tips for first time prospective international volunteers, and the things every international volunteer needs to know before they go.

Read More
Volunteer Latin America on the Importance of Ethical Volunteering

Volunteer Latin America on the Importance of Ethical Volunteering

Combining volunteerism with travel is one of our favorite ways to explore the globe, though it’s absolutely vital to choose a project which makes a genuine difference to the community and society as a whole.

Realizing that this is now an industry which can turn a profit, some companies and organizations are ignoring the long-term effects of volunteering on host communities, and as such there is now a lot of cynicism about those who want to become an international volunteer to “do good”.

We speak to Stephen Knight today about volunteering in Latin America, and the importance of ethical volunteerism.

Read More
Why Volunteering Abroad Will Change You

Why Volunteering Abroad Will Change You

I’ve long since been an advocate that volunteering abroad is one of the best ways to travel – not only are there a large number of placement opportunities which enable volunteers to travel and live overseas for free, but it genuinely does shape you as a person. And it’s not a cliché to say so.

You would think volunteering abroad should be about the desire to help others and the want to contribute to creating a better world, however I believe these are both merely byproducts of the personal development which takes center stage as the most beneficial aspect of volunteerism.

Read More
Sunday Snapshot: The Time We Were African Celebrities

Sunday Snapshot: The Time We Were African Celebrities

During 2010, 1,500 young adults from all around the world gathered on Rowallan Camp in Kenya for the 13th World Scout Moot.

I traveled to Kenya with 32 other Rover Scouts from Australia, (a Rover Scout is aged 18-26), where we camped for a little over a week, participating in world leadership programs, cultural exchanges and one hell of an international party.

Though a large part of the moot (camp) was dedicated to volunteer efforts within the local community. The group I was associated with during this camp was assigned to volunteer in local primary schools, which was a life changing experience for all involved.

Read More
Walking With African Wildlife

Walking With African Wildlife

As the doctor prepared my knees for an injection on a cool spring day in Colorado, he looked at me skeptically when I told him I needed to be able to run from elephants and climb trees to escape charging rhinos.

He was probably thinking he needed to transfer me to a psychiatrist to address my fanciful delusions after he fixed up my knees. But that’s what the application form said when I applied to the Walking With African Wildlife volunteer expedition in South Africa through Earthwatch International. “I need this kind of mobility,” I told him.

Indeed, such skills were needed and utilized by others of my volunteer team, though I was fortunate to evade or stare down elephants, rhinos and others, without resorting to these particular measures. And the moments in which I did so were some of the most thrilling, mind-erasing, exhilarating, adrenaline-soaked moments of my life.

Read More
Why Volunteering Around the Globe is an Awesome Way To Travel

Why Volunteering Around the Globe is an Awesome Way To Travel

I’ve been travelling around the world for 4 years now and I don’t think I could have done any of it without volunteering. Furthermore, I don’t think I would have had half the amazing experiences that I have had if it weren’t for volunteering.

From learning how to make cheese in Canada, to helping fight the problem of street dogs in Peru, volunteering has taken me on some incredible journeys.

Read More
Volunteering – The Best Way to Gain New Skills

Volunteering – The Best Way to Gain New Skills

Volunteering has a lot advantages. It’s a great way to travel on budget, a perfect way to meet new people, a fantastic way to cope with language barriers. Each and every angle of volunteering might be a reason for someone to embark on a such an adventure; for me however I volunteer as a way of gaining new skills.

I had my first volunteering experience back in 2007. I was a 19-year-old Polish girl, who wanted to travel solo and who went to volunteer in Ukraine without even learning a local alphabet. Silly, right? I decided to apply and go because I wanted to explore the country, meet new people and do something “different”. Back then I didn’t think about one particular aspect of volunteering; something which seems to be very crucial to me in 2013.

That’s right ladies and gentleman; gaining new skills!

Read More
The Adventurous Life of a Student Volunteer

The Adventurous Life of a Student Volunteer

Our time volunteering in Costa Rica during January 2012, allowed us to take part in animal welfare projects around the country. Here is a brief overview of our project as put together by filmmaker Keira Austin. The benefit of volunteering as an International Student Volunteer was that at the end of our two week conservation project we were treated to a two week adventure tour of the country!

Click here to watch a full 15 minute documentary of our time as environmental conservationists.

Read More
A Video Documentary: Costa Rica Conservationists

A Video Documentary: Costa Rica Conservationists

During our time volunteering in Costa Rica during January 2012, film-maker Keira Austin followed us, documenting our conservation efforts. We joined a project organized through International Student Volunteers, which allowed us to take part in animal welfare projects in Costa Rica.

The first half highlights how the research obtained from our volunteer work has helped maintain a key habitat for dolphins and whales in the area of Golfo Dulce. This research was used to discontinue the establishment of a tuna farm in the bay of that is commonly used as a breeding ground for these marine creatures.

The second half follows as we help biologists collect research data for Poison Dart frogs, dolphins and whales in the Golfo Dulce region. This data was then obtained by the Costa Rican Government to help provide sustainable systems for conservation of wildlife in the area.

Read More