Internships not your cup of tea?
Would you like us to assist in setting up a volunteer project for you?
Wait, what is a volunteer?
A volunteer is someone who serves in a community or for the benefit of natural environment primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group. Because these informal volunteers are much harder to identify, they may not be included in research and statistics on volunteering.
International volunteer is a person who volunteers outside of his or her own country, usually related in some way to a development program. This is normally a longer term commitment but recently volunteer vacations have made this a more casual way of volunteering.
Volunteer vacations are vacations which include some activities focused on furthering a charitable cause for which the participant receives no renumeration.
The types of volunteer vacations are diverse, from low-skill work cleaning up local wildlife areas to providing high-skill medical aid in a foreign country.
Originally most volunteer vacations were undertaken by people with a direct connection to a particular cause and were considered more as short term, intense volunteer projects rather than vacations. Many of these organizations are long-standing international development assistance organizations which placed short-term volunteers on work project sites. During the 1990s the travel industry developed niche products and firms to provide volunteer vacations to people who had no previous experience with a cause, and to cater to the increasing number of young people taking gap years. These providers expanded the market but also drew criticism for the impact of their methods. At the same time, the first edition of "Volunteer Vacations" by Bill McMillan was published, featuring fewer than 200 non-profit organizations which facilitated such service opportunities. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, more than 55 million Americans have participated in a volunteer vacation, and about 100 million more are considering taking one. Volunteer vacations participants are diverse but typically share a desire to “do something good” while also experiencing new places and challenges in locales they might not otherwise visit.
While some experts on volunteerism welcome the expansion of volunteer vacations as an opportunity to provide more resources to projects and to encourage a volunteer ethic in people, others have pointed out that the business methods used by tour operators, such as exclusivity deals, and catering to the needs of the volunteer rather than the volunteer project, exploit the communities the projects are intended to help.
If this is of interest to you or you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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