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Volunteerism and Cross-Cultural Exchange: Resources on How Volunteering Abroad Can Benefit You & Many Communities Worldwide
Enjoy volunteering and giving back to your community? Always wanted to travel the world to meet new people and learn about different cultures? It's now easy to combine the two. Volunteering abroad has been around for many decades and has benefited its participants by broadening their worldviews and giving them opportunities for personal and professional growth. Here we provide a few useful resources on how to get started, how to fund-raise, and how to gain the most of your experience.
The organizations below provide information, connect prospective volunteers with current participants, and can help generally oversee your travel and service experience.
Cross-Cultural Solutions provides great resources about ways you can volunteer internationally, benefitting yourself, local communities around the world, and even your home country. It's a non-profit organization with a staff of 300 people in 10 countries around the world. Potential volunteer destinations include Tanzania, Thailand, South Africa, Costa Rica, India, Brazil and Ghana, among others. Volunteer activities can range from teaching in local high schools to improving healthcare access.
Go Oversees has an array of options, including teaching, studying, interning, or working abroad. They provide options for high school and college students, recent graduates taking a gap year, and professionals. Their website has guides on how to learn about different cultures, what to expect during your first volunteering experience, and how to travel safely. Make sure to check out the scholarships that they provide for their participants.
Projects Abroad allows you to choose from hundreds of projects worldwide. Their placements include teaching, orphanage & care volunteer, conservation & the environment, medicine & healthcare, journalism, law & human rights, and business in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Founded in 1992, they send 10,000 people abroad each year. As safety is one of their chief concerns, they provide staff and support systems in all areas and countries where their volunteers operate.
Many organizations also sponsor and provide scholarships for international volunteers. Volunteer Forever lists 200 grants and scholarships that you could apply for in order to provide support for travel expenses. You can also fund-raise yourself on GoFundMe.
International volunteering can provide life-long memories, expand your depth of understanding about other cultures and your own, improve your social and professional life, and make a difference in many communities around the world! Read about the experiences of Binghamton University students currently abroad in check out our blog about students' experiences in Peru through the Service Learning and Language Immersion Program in Peru :)