What is voluntourism?
A combination of volunteering and tourism, voluntourism is a popular form of international travel that allows you to contribute to sustainable development while exploring a new country and culture. Voluntourism is a similar experience to volunteer travel or a volunteer vacation and many people find that doing meaningful volunteer work while also participating in tourism is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
Voluntourism: More than just combining volunteering and sightseeing
As a voluntourist abroad, you will be best placed to discover a new country and explore its unseen side, learn about the culture first-hand, and play a vital role in the community.
When they are abroad, most of our volunteers live with local host families. So in addition to the worthwhile work you do at your project, you will also experience a depth of cultural immersion and exchange which is impossible for typical tourists. Your host family will welcome you into their home and help you become part of the community, sharing their daily lives and customs with you. Some volunteers have even found themselves celebrating birthdays and weddings with their host families! Many former volunteers also keep in touch with their host families after they return home, and many return to visit.
When you choose to join a voluntourism program, you are also joining a global network of volunteers who are living and working with diverse cultures on projects that have a positive impact. Our volunteers come from all over the world, and you will find that most of them will share your passion for giving back and your desire to broaden your horizons.
How does voluntourism benefit the community?
There are a number of ways that voluntourism can benefit local people:
- When you contribute to a well-run and sustainable volunteer project, you are helping to implement long-term development. Use your skills, time, and energy to make a difference that will last long after you have returned home. By helping a local teacher improve their English and classroom skills through a Teaching Project, you will indirectly impact the children they teach. When you help a struggling entrepreneur get their business off the ground at a Microfinance Project, you are helping support an entire family for years to come.
- By participating in voluntourism, you are contributing to the local economy. In their free time, most volunteers take advantage of the opportunity to go sightseeing, like going on game drives and island tours. Many developing countries rely heavily on the income from tourism and voluntourism companies and volunteers support local businesses.
- Most voluntourism companies employ local staff. This provides jobs for local people and in most cases, employees have the opportunity to receive further training and education.
Voluntourism is increasingly popular and it is extremely important to carefully research the organization you are considering travelling with. Experience, sustainability, and financial responsibility are essential to running programs that truly benefit the population. The impact on local communities is and has always been one of the core motivations of Projects Abroad since the company began in 1992.
Voluntourism: Volunteering Opportunities with Projects Abroad
We offer voluntourism trips to suit any interest, experience level, or age. We have hundreds of different types of programs in more than 30 developing countries. Our programs run year round and each volunteer chooses when they want to start and the duration they would like to stay for. Each of our 10,000 annual volunteers are supported by nearly 700 trained staff around the world.
If you would like to learn more about how you can participate in voluntourism, call or email us to talk to a Program Advisor. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and we will work with you to plan the best possible volunteer placement!