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Summer volunteer projects

Travelers who long for new experiences have to spend a lot of time compromising until the next best thing comes. The two programmes I spoke about,  EVS and the AIESEC exchange may be great, but they do require a commitment for time.

Since there are so many people who like travelling or new experiences but don’t have enough time, I will say a few things about some summer opportunities. Many organisations organise voluntary projects around the world that last only a few weeks, like Vine UKVolunteers for Peace, Service Civil International and their British branch, International Voluntary Service.

logosciint ivs-logo_blue

The projects will focus on a local issue like the environment, the underprivileged or the cultural heritage. Details on projects are usually uploaded around springtime but to get an idea, you can take a look at the search engine of SCI or IVS of the volunteer placements.

They usually cover the accommodation and food but volunteers have to pay the tickets. This will probably limit most volunteers to Europe or the Mediterranean countries, but it is a very interesting and alternative way to approach a place. There usually is a small fee, but there is no age limit and you can also go with a friend!

The general concept is, “deeds, not words”. Even though you will work for just a few hours per day, you will make a difference to a local community and learn new skills. Volunteer work is not taken for granted – if you don’t do it, nobody else will do it in your place. Whether you want to help a small village in South France organise a music festival or learn how to do pottery in Tunisia, whether you want to be an entertainer in a camping for disabled children on a Greek island, or set up a small local radio station in Berlin, you can find it there. If you can afford to go further than that, even better.

The people I spoke to in the organisation told me that they don’t know anyone who’s done it only once. All of the volunteers come back for more next summer.

Apart from the work, which usually takes only a few hours of your day, you will interact in a unique way with a local community, but most importantly, share a great experience with other international volunteers. This may give you also a good opportunity to organize a big trip around the country after the project is over. It might be easy and fun, it might be challenging and enriching, but no matter what, 2 or 3 weeks later, you will definitely have a good story to tell!

Author: Dimitra Rizou

dimitra.rizou@my.westminster.ac.uk

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November 5, 2008 Posted by | Dimitra - Travel | , , | Leave a comment