Written by Courtney Bowen at travelcuts
Volunteering to Voluntouring
Volunteering has morphed into a new experience because more travellers are interested in making a difference when they are travelling. At home you might volunteer to help out at a soup kitchen, at a fundraiser day for a local organisation or plant seedlings on the weekend to add some greenery to your suburb.
When travelling, you have the opportunity to see how others live and see how the world works outside of your normal day to day. Sometimes depending on where you visit you will see and observe living conditions that aren’t nearly as adequate as you’d expect. You might see native animals that are being taken advantage of as a tourism attraction or you might see people in poverty and young children growing up without drinking water, proper schooling or even proper housing.
Destinations can be marketed as clean, beautiful and peaceful holiday spots, when in reality apart from the tourist scene, the local communities are living in very different circumstances. As a result, travellers are looking for ways to help and give back to communities when they travel as opposed to just enjoying the tourist experience.
A number of programs have grown out of this traveller interest to make a difference and many call the experience ‘Voluntouring’.
Voluntouring is all about experiencing a destination, meeting the people, eating the tasty local foods and getting to know a place. At the same time however, you contribute to the local community through assisting with programs, projects and activities that respond to a need in that community.
What are the benefits to volunteering
There are a lot of benefits to volunteering, some of which include:
- Travel the world! – Travel and volunteer as you go. Plenty of options for ticking off the bucket list and making a difference on the go.
- Learning career changing skills – You can receive academic credit for participating in various programs, contributing towards your university or college qualification. Otherwise add it to your CV because recruiters and employers love to see volunteering experience especially in your skill set or area of work you are pursuing!
- Meet people and make new friends – the best part about travelling and making a difference while you’re at it is that you meet people of like-minded interests and you meet the locals! Make lifelong friends while enjoying the local community’s hospitality. Learn some of the local language and enjoy being invited to participate in the traditional activities.
- Volunteering – it’s often a life changing experience, makes you a better person, a more-worldly person and a more conscious traveller. Apart from self development, you contribute physically to a community in need.
Our trusted volunteering partner, Global Vision International (GVI) offers 150 volunteer abroad projects in 13 countries across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Australasia.
You might find yourself assisting with the conservation of turtle populations in Costa Rica or setting up fresh water collection points in Nepal. You might assist with educating children in South Africa on health and hygiene or creating empowerment opportunities for women in India.
Want to volunteer?
Help improve the standard of living in communities through community projects, education and conservation. See what we have on offer for you.
Ready to experience volunteering for yourself? Chat with a travelcuts expert and start planning your next adventure!