Why do you volunteer abroad? It isn't a poll I'm taking, and GeoVisions isn't conducting focus groups. I'm just wondering why you go abroad and spend time volunteering?
I have all these questions I want to ask about volunteering abroad. Why aren't you volunteering in your home country, for example? I mean, if you're volunteering, don't you want to improve things in your own country? Why go to the expense of volunteering abroad?
Do you know that in the last 6 months, Google hits for "volunteer abroad" have gone down? Does that mean people are losing interest in going abroad to volunteer? In a word, "no." Google hits for "voluntourism" are up. People are wanting to combine travel or a tour with some volunteering. So do people choose voluntourism because it's a way to go abroad on the cheap? I don't think so. Volunteer vacations can cost $3,000, $5,000. Many of these trips can be very expensive. Am I right or am I wrong?
Maybe it's the cultural exchange piece. Do you have a better chance of exchanging cultures living with the locals? Probably. What if you choose an organization that has their own volunteer houses? You then spend your day volunteering on a local project, and then you head back to a bed, a kitchen, a western-style toilet and huddle up with the volunteers on the project. Wouldn't you want a home stay if you're into cultural exchange?
Speaking for Americans, if I may for only a moment, I think we're a compassionate people. We are more comfortable in a "community" and so we're always striving for that. Community can be found where you live, where you visit, and online. Can the community we find online be as real as the community where we live or work?
The words "compassion" and "community" share the root com
, which comes from the Latin word for "together." When you think about the word "passion," you may immediately think of a favorite image of romantic passion, but surprise: "passion" comes from the Latin pati
and means "to suffer." "Compassion" literally means "suffering with." A compassionate community would then be a group of people who come together (community) to suffer with. Or, a group suffering together.
I feel like Andy Rooney on 60-Minutes. He asks tons of questions, getting at the truth. But he's funny. I generally am not.
I'm a Boomer, and I think the future of Voluntourism is Boomers. I know a couple of our competitors who think the future of Voluntourism is college students. To the extent that they have people on staff to help award college credit. We don't agree with them. For college students, the future is Internships. Sure, college students will always be volunteering. But the future? The trend for students now is Internships, and the trend for Boomers is meaningful travel.
If you're 18-21 years of age, you have told us that you need experience and you need an Internship. Otherwise, you're not finding a job when it's time to graduate. If you prepare for finding a job now, you'll be in a position to volunteer when you're older.
If you're a Boomer, you've done the student thing, you've done the work thing. You have money. You have time. You know exactly WHY you're volunteering abroad. And you don't need college credit as a lure.
What do you think? Are you ready to turn that "compassion" into college credit or do you prefer an Internship for your resume? Are you a Boomer, ready to share your compassion through cultural exchange? Or do you prefer an Alaskan cruise?
Let me know what you think.
This is the time of year we see new programs hit our site. Within the next 4 weeks you will see GeoVisions add 20+ new programs, and we'll announce each one via this Blog. As you can see below, we're "switching it up" a little.
I am highlighting our three newest programs: one volunteer program, one Work and Travel Internship and one Au Pair. We like a wide variety of programs to offer people. We don't want to be "type-cast" so we stretch out a little.
But also, GeoVisions is a U.S. State Department designated Work/Travel organization. We have partner sites in 30 different countries. That translates into a great network of interesting program content.
I know...we already have Conversation Partner-Mexico. But wait...we have an entirely new and very unique way of seeing Mexico: Through the eyes and ears of local tourist officials!
That's right! Expanding on our current Conversation Partner program in Mexico tutoring staff and students in select language schools, there is now a unique opportunity to kick it up a notch by working directly with local tourism officials and speaking conversational English with the tourism staff.
Where would you be tutoring? Mainly in local tourism kiosks in resort and high tourist areas of Mexico. The kiosks can be on the street (handy for tourists) or at airports as tourists arrive into Mexico. Local tourism officials are there to provide local information to tourists and they are eager to learn conversational English to make it easier to communicate with the tourists entering Mexico.
Can you imagine? Be a Conversation Partner with a tourist official. They learn conversational English and you find out the really great places to visit and enhance your stay in Mexico.
This new project is really a very unique way to learn about Mexican culture, how tourists are viewed by the locals, and to assist the tourism officials in becoming better conversationalists with tourists.
Work and Travel Internship
Internships in a Work and Travel office abroad are nothing but fun. Our newest is in Lima, Peru. Earn $300 per month plus receive free accommodation by interviewing college students headed to the U.S. on the J-1 Work and Travel program.
The Work and Travel program in the U.S. allows college students from other countries to travel to the U.S., work legally during their summer break, and then travel for a month before returning to their home country. Those students need to be interviewed about what it is like to live and work in the U.S. and also for their English language ability and skills.
The minimum stay for this Internship in Lima, Peru is 3 months and the maximum stay is 10 months. There is an interview process after you make your application.
Focused on fun and interviewing Peruvian college students, the benefits include $300/month and free accommodation. There are Internships and then there are Work and Travel Internships. Availability now in Argentina, China, Turkey, Chile and Peru.
Au Pair Spain
If you are a female, U.S. citizen, and between the age of 18 and 30 with at least a high school diploma, (I already know what you're thinking...) you can become an Au Pair in Spain.
If you want to stay more than 3 months, a student visa will be issued to you. All you then have to do is take 15 hours of Spanish language classes each week.
What makes this Au Pair program unique is you can choose how many hours a week you work. Depending on the hours you choose to Au Pair, you can earn more or you can earn less. Earn €70/week if you work 25 hours each week plus 2 evenings. Earn €95/week if you work 35 hours per week plus 3 evenings. And for every six months you work, you receive a week's paid vacation.
The minimum stay is 2 months, maximum 10 months.
So there you are. Do you have program ideas we should consider? Places we don't currently serve? Please use the Comments section and let us know. We are always interested in what our readers have to say.
Our paid Interns have been in China for two weeks and today we received two new photos.
Our office in Beijing reports that the Interns are working hard and adapting to life in China. They are working on the high school program (Chinese high school students coming to the U.S. for an academic year) and with Work and Travel students (Chinese college students coming here to work for 4 months and travel.)
What do they do? They interview Chinese students and screen them for their English ability and also talk to them about life in America.
The visas have been successfully extended and the host families where they live are happy to have them and they are enjoying living in Chinese homestays rather than an apartment. They were offered both options but chose homestays to get a real feel of living and working in China.
So all of this is good news. The bad news is that GeoVisions has filled 100% of the positions for the rest of 2010. If you are interested in a paid Internship in China that costs only $800 look no further. But it will be 2011 before you can go. Still, now is the time to get your application to us. 2011 will be full before you know it.
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