Why You Should Consider Voluntourism3 min read
Sure, a beach vacation on the coast of Fiji sounds like the epitome of a rejuvenating vacation. But have you ever considered how fulfilling traveling to volunteer might be?
Whether you choose to help build a health clinic or teach English at a local schoolhouse, there are tons of ways you can see the world and help others at the same time. This is a great way to change up your typical travel experience—and I promise, it might even turn out to be one of the best trips you’ll ever take.
If you’re not sure voluntourism is right for you, here are some of the reasons you should consider it:
- You get to help others. Many of the projects you can get involved with center around improving the lives of those in communities of developing countries, such as building a new home or assisting with disaster relief programs in local areas. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll enjoy a level of satisfaction that you wouldn’t get on any other trip.
- You can learn more about the local culture. Immersing yourself into the local culture will give you a chance to view the world from the eyes of the natives; an opportunity that you typically wouldn’t get if you were to just visit the touristy beach along the coast. You can learn more about issues affecting their part of the world and how they handle it. Who knows, you might even get invited to experience some local customs, such as a wedding or a fishing excursion. Learning about other ways of living often gives travelers an opportunity to reassess their own personal life. You may even find that you value things back home much more.
- You can make new friends. There’s a unique bond you can make with those you meet during your trip—people you never would have crossed paths with before. It’s not often that you make friends while traveling that you’ll remember down the road. And if you’re traveling with a group of friends or a close loved one, it’s a great way to bond with them as well.
- You can gain work experience: There’s a lot you can learn about work ethic when participating in volunteer programs. It’s not only good for those who hope to be teachers or social workers—working in other countries with limited means is also a good way to build character and learn interpersonal and team building skills.
- You can travel more. Many programs don’t require you to work on nights and weekends. This gives you plenty of time to visit other areas or even nearby cities and countries.
While the list goes on and on, there are some great agencies you can get involved with if you’re interested in traveling to do volunteer work. As a piece of advice, some agencies require volunteers to pay a high cost to participate in their programs, most of which goes straight towards administrative costs. However, there are plenty of great organizations that won’t charge you much at all—some even offer to pay you! If you’re interested, here are some agencies we recommend you look into:
Photo by Kerri Hamm.