Instead of buying into an all-inclusive resort or heading out on a seven-day cruise, consider spending your holiday abroad helping those less fortunate and experiencing another culture and lifestyle. You can book one or two-week trips where you work on building invaluable infrastructure, or volunteering in schools, while also exploring the region and getting to know the locals and their rich cultural history.
Whether you’re interested in teaching English, working with IT, training local teachers, or joining ecotourism, environment, and conservation projects, Openmind Projects offers a wide range of options on a limited budget. Get to know northeast Thailand while volunteering in a small community hospital, or teach English at a school on a beautiful island on the Andaman Sea.
As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility mandate, Lead Adventures have teamed up with a local group of companies and also donates grants intended for use by international volunteers. Additionally, the organization manages a government grant to promote volunteering and cultural exchange. Volunteers can visit the Galapagos Islands where they’ll get to swim with sea lions, snorkel with sharks, and work at local reserves. Another option is to volunteer at a daycare center in Quito, Ecuador. It all depends on what you’re most interested in doing!
Do you dream of visiting Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, or Latin America, while also contributing to environmental preservation? GoEco might be just the ticket—plane ticket, that is. If wild animals enthral you (rather than frighten you), try the African Wildlife Ranch and assist dedicated staff with conservation efforts, getting up close and personal with some of the world’s most captivating organisms. Travel to South Africa and make a new monkey friend at the Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, or jet off to Cape Town to make your mark on growing community projects.
Over 50 and Overseas
Dedicated to volunteers over the age of 50, Over50andOverseas was created in 2008 by John O. Dwyer, former Peace Corps, FEMA reservist, and avid traveller. The founder’s personal experience of international volunteering and his recognition of a lack of literature available to help guide new volunteers in terms of packing, preparing, and what to expect, led him to create one himself. The user-friendly site allows curious potential volunteers to select their region of choice and offers a wide-ranging list of organizations to choose from. It also answers questions about health and travel security.
As of today, 1,456, 635 volunteer hours (and counting!) have been logged at the organization Global Volunteers. Suitable for all ages and experience levels, volunteers are encouraged to participate in long-term community development projects by collaborating with locals to better the lives of our future’s youth. Visit for one to three weeks and teach conversational English to children, or aid in health education or nutrition. You can volunteer as a family, group, individual, or couple—and if you can’t make the trip yourself, you can always donate instead. There is no shortage of ways to make a difference!
Additionally, check out GiveGetGo, a volunteer organization created by three Canadian women. Read more on Laurie Myles and the project here!
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