There are many ways to travel, but now, trips overseas can also be flavored by adventure and service. Emily Schauer shares 5 organizations that help you plan an international volunteer vacation.
1. Women in Progress
Women in Progress is all about women helping women. It is an international volunteer organization founded by two former Peace Corps volunteers, whose goal is to alleviate women’s poverty by empowering local women business owners. Women volunteers with skills in business management and skills training go to Ghana and work hand-in-hand with local women to enhance their skills.
Volunteers can spend as little as two weeks (more of an adventurous vacation) or up to four months (moving towards integration) working in Ghana, paired with a woman-owned business.
Women in Progress has numerous programs that are adapted both to volunteers just starting their careers and mid-career or retired professionals. They evaluate how a volunteer’s specific skills can best benefit a Ghanaian business owner, at which point the partnership begins to blossom and everyone gains.
Visit Women in Progress for more information.
2. Peace Corps
Founded in 1960 by US president John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has been making waves in development and cultivating a spirit of goodwill among many nations for over half a century.
Volunteering for Peace Corps requires a two-year commitment, which may be long for some, but the reward is worth the investment.
Peace Corps Volunteers work in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia, combining their own experiences and integration into communities with the traditional knowledge of the villages and towns they serve to develop better technologies and practices.
Whether working with a farmer or a business owner, volunteers are able to bring knowledge to many, help generate income and alleviate poverty throughout their service, one village at a time.
Though this isn’t for everyone, Peace Corps can be an incredible adventure, one whose reverberations will be felt through a lifetime.
Visit the Peace Corps website for more information about volunteering.
3. UN Volunteers
The United Nations Volunteer program seeks young professionals to bolster their ranks abroad, working for peace and development under the general standards of the UN. It is their approach to sustainable international development.
This is an incredible volunteer opportunity, as it allows for travel, integration into a new culture, and gives invaluable insight into the complex processes of UN peace and development goals and activities. Volunteers are given a monthly allowance and are generally expected year-long service or more. If you’d like a more professional-level volunteer experience, or are interested in international diplomacy and policy, this is for you!
For more information, or if you’d like to apply, visit their website
4. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
Whether you’re learning to make olive oil in Greece or tend bees and ancient Andean crops in Peru, the WWOOF program is guaranteed to be an adventure. For the organic-lover or anyone looking for a different kind of vacation, WWOOF provides the opportunity to learn the beauty and complexity of organic farming worldwide.
Volunteers can stay for a week or several months, depending on their plans and individual farmers.
Visit the WWOOF website to access country-specific lists of farmers and other great travel options.
5. Kaya Volunteer
Spend your gap year volunteering internationally, get TEFL certified, or simply create an ecologically responsible vacation to an exotic new place. Volunteering with Kaya makes all these options available for the service-minded traveler.
Choose to go to one of 24 nations with Kaya, spanning Latin America, Africa and Asia-Pacific for up to a year. Projects offered range from environment to community development to sports, or you can take one of several courses offered.
This program is very self-driven, as you choose where you’d like to go, how long you’d like to stay, and what type of project you’d like to work on. It is a great option for travel and adventure that allows you to make a difference, but allows for time to dive into a new culture and revel in the wonders of exploring a new place. Volunteer fees are calculated based on length of stay.
Go to Kaya Volunteer to sign up!