Voluntourism

Interested in volunteering abroad? This term has been coined, voluntourism: essentially volunteer travel or a volunteer vacation where people volunteer while also participating in tourist activities. While many come back with rave reviews of their travels, voluntourism has received extensive critique in the way it can be harmful for the local communities participants are hoping to help.

Having had something of a similar experience doing a study abroad in college, I was left conflicted, although deeply positively impacted, by the experience. While not all voluntourist experiences are created equal, in their impact and/or harm, I encourage you all to critically explore the ways in which we give, volunteer, and work to make this world a better place.

I found this article on the practice extremely helpful in that it does not outright reject the practice, but focuses on critically investigating programs you may want to consider. Its insight and advice are far more articulate than I could ever be!