GeoVisions Blog

This Week's Volunteer Abroad Briefing #2

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Nov 24, 2010

Volume I Number 2

We found this article entitled "Paying Your Employees To Volunteer Can Reap Big Rewards" fascinating.  Anyone out there work for a company who allows them to leave their job to volunteer and workers still get paid?  Please let us know in the Comments section below.

You can print out this bad boy and take it to your boss and see what he/she says.  It's a great idea and this article lists companies who practice this concept and it works really well.  Yeah...you can tell them GeoVisions thinks it's a good idea too!

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A GeoVisions medical volunteer in Peru.What Makes You Volunteer?  There are various personal benefits and reasons why people volunteer.  Most volunteers quickly recognize that its not so much what you give but the personal feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction you get in return.  Volunteering promotes an opportunity to contribute to your community, and an opportunity to apply your skills and to learn new ones.

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A backpacker trekking on a GeoVisions program.In the United Kingdom and Australia, the "gap year" is a traditional rite of passage for young adults, but the idea has never caught on in the U.S. Students take time off between high school and college to travel, volunteer and experience other adventures. Travel companies and gap-year advocates are predicting that the U.S. is about to start embracing the concept.

You can read the article here.  At GeoVisions, we do have some Gap Year students who have put together several shorter programs into one eight-month program, enabling them to travel extensively and plan out in advance their activities.

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In general, we typically think that younger language students have an easier time learning another language.  But Francois Grosjean, a psycholinguistics professor at a Switzerland university, writes that there is no age limit for learning a new language, and a person can learn a language at any point in their life.

"The main factor that leads to the acquisition and development of a language is the need for that language -- the need to interact with others, to study or work, to take part in social activities and so on," Grosjean writes. "If the need for a language is present, then language acquisition will usually take place."

The GeoVisions Conversation Partner program logo.50% of our Conversation Partners and Conversation Corps tutors are over 25.  And while they are helping people with conversational English, they are also learning the language of the country where they chose to volunteer abroad.  Conversation is the perfect way to learn a new language or to improve your language skills.

Read the article in Psychology Today here.

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Filed under "one sad guy" we found Ian Birrell's article in The Guardian a waste of our time.  But you may want to read it and weigh-in on your thoughts before we pitch it out.  "Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do" was written after Birrell read Linda Richter's report on orphan tourism.

When researchers and journalists hit the road, walk the talk and vote with their feet (and arms and hands) rather than their keyboards...let us know.  We're interested in reading all about that.

The absolute best response to that article was a Blog post from People and Places entitled, Journalists do more harm than good?  You go girl.

Tags: Volunteering Abroad, Volunteer/Work Abroad Industry Updates, Weekly Briefing

This Week's Volunteer Abroad Briefing

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Thu, Nov 18, 2010

Volume I  Number 1

Conversation Corps logo

Join the Conversation Corps in Beirut and live with a Lebanese family and tutor them in English.  Or, live with a family and tutor a group outside the family where you live.  Become a Conversation Partner in Beirut and enjoy the independence of leaving your family each day to work with several people at once learn conversational English.

And while you're thinking about these two incredible opportunities, Chris Michael will show you where to have a good time in Beirut without bankrupting yourself.  Read Beirut On A Budget and make your affordable plans now.
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At GeoVisions, we are always surprised by the number of people who apply to join the Conversation Corps in Spain, France, Germany, Austria or Italy, and assuming they can travel to Europe and stay as long as they like.  Actually, you can stay only 90-days on a tourist visa in the Schengen Zone, and then you must leave for 90-days before you return.

Conversation Corps in Europe utilizes the tourist visa, so you just arrive at your destination.

This article, from the WYSTC Blog, may be worth reading if you are looking for a work or student visa.  The process of applying for a visa maybe be deterring 450,000 tourists...a core finding of the latest European Tour Operators Association.
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Teaching English in a classroom in China.Headed to Asia to volunteer or teach abroad?  So is everyone else!
Delta Air Lines, United, Continental and other American carriers are expanding their services to Asia in response to an increase in demand and a lack of capacity. China's economic growth rate is triple that of the U.S., making the country a good bet.
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Tom Murphy, from A View From The Cave has written a new post about Volunteering Elitism and is a great read if you've thought about volunteering abroad or if you have already experienced it and you're talking to others about your experience.

Tags: Conversation Partner, Conversation Partner-Lebanon, Conversation Corps, Volunteer/Work Abroad Industry Updates, Weekly Briefing