Part II of travel inspiration – volunteering abroad is here! A few more caring ladies have helped me write this post. I hope all their stories intrigue you and who knows maybe this year you will be out there giving back in some way too. There is nothing more rewarding than volunteering abroad for a meaningful cause.
NAM from LAUGH TRAVEL EAT
“Conservation has always been something that’s close to my heart, so I decided to spend 1 month of my summer holiday in 2014 to volunteer for a sea turtle rescue center in Zakynthos, Greece. I paid 540 euros for the 4 weeks, which included accommodation and a donation to the center.
The Earth, Sea and Sky Ionian Conservation center is run by a passionate local. He sees the threat of tourism on the Loggerhead Turtle nesting ground and wants to help conserve it. The rehabilitation part of the center was under construction during my volunteering period. I mostly helped run the gift shop, as well as do beach surveys and talk to locals and tourists at the information center.
I was one of the longest staying volunteers during that season. I have met many volunteers from all over the world: US, Australia, China, Scotland, England, and Romania. It was a great experience and I got to experience the Greek island life as well. I would recommend this volunteering opportunity for anyone who wants to take on responsibility and make a difference in a small conservation center. Though there is less hands-on conservation other than beach surveys.”
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STEPH from WORLDLY ADVENTURER
“I’ve volunteered a few times in South America and on all occasions, I’ve had to pay for my accommodation and my living costs, but I haven’t paid any agency fees as I always work directly with grassroots NGOs and charities. My first experience was working for seven months with an NGO that builds libraries in poor rural communities around Sucre, Bolivia. My main highlight was when I appeared live on Bolivian television to be interviewed in Spanish – a language I had only been learning for a few months at that point! It was also incredible to spend a few weeks living and teaching in a tiny village in the middle of the Bolivian countryside – an experience I will never forget.
A few months later, I volunteered in Peru, where I taught life skills to young people in orphanages and children’s homes in and around the Sacred Valley near Cusco. What made it such an eye-opening and truly unique experience was that I was working in a place that so many tourists visit but so few get to actually see what life is like for the local people, many of whom live in extreme poverty. It really made you see the impact of your efforts.”
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ERIN from 10 MILES BEHIND ME
“I volunteered for almost four weeks in Bangalore, India with a social enterprise called Leave UR Mark, which connects travelers directly to internships and existing nonprofits on the ground in India. I never imagined the amount of volunteer support that I ended up receiving from Leave UR Mark – starting from before I even booked my trip, with help with my visa and what to expect when I arrived.
The first half of my experience was more like an internship, working with an Ayurvedic health center to help promote their business by writing blogs and doing social media. For the other half of my time in Bangalore, I volunteered in a girls’ home, spending time with a few girls in particular in an attempt to help them realize they had a lot to offer.
The cost of the program is for housing, in a nice, big, comfortable apartment with other volunteers working on similar projects. Leave UR Mark staff includes a community manager to help you through any issues with your volunteer experience and also to offer ideas and assistance for things to do in the city and on the weekends. The caretaker in the apartment makes authentic Indian dinners that are consistently delicious.”
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So there you have it, get out there and do something inspiring this year! It is never too late.
Check out Part I if you missed it!
Also if you love it don’t forget you can save it to your Pinterest board!