May 10, 2016 - Posted toStudy and Education
Heading off To The Land of the Amazing For A Purpose
There have never been so many opportunities for students to engage in voluntary work in staggeringly beautiful countries; doing incredibly important and difficult tasks, whilst gaining valuable experience and some fantastic kudos for their CVs and resumes - not to mention meeting some astounding people, (and creatures) along the way.
Summer volunteer programs for college students have never been so exciting - nor have they ever been so sophisticated and organized. Some of the amazing voluntary opportunities that we are going to look at here involve international student volunteers visiting countries that it is not always possible to even gain access to; this alone makes volunteering a serious contender for the way in which you spend your summer vacation.
One of the things that are always mentioned when students have been on a voluntary program abroad are the incredible lifelong friendships that are formed with people that they could not possibly have met in any other way.
The scope and reach of these summer opportunities for college students
Comprehensive; from studying the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands to lending a hand with conservation projects for orangutans in Borneo, through to building Mountain trails in Tibet and helping construct wells for fresh water in Africa. The world truly is your oyster - it is something that you will never forget.
One of the major things that students take back with them is the experience of living and working in other cultures. Religious, economic and social life can be enormously different from that at home. Giving a sense of perspective, which could never be obtained in any other way. Students acknowledge, years later, the life-changing epiphanies that some of them have experienced whilst being exposed to such varied and extreme differences in culture and attitude.
In some of the examples below, we will be looking at many such experiences in greater depth, and you can read brief notes from the students involved as to how volunteering changed their whole outlook and way of looking at the world at large.
For some students, taking their first steps outside the comfort zone of their family home and from the companionship of close friends can be incredibly daunting - frightening even; for others, it is their first opportunity to have ever broken free of a dysfunctional or possibly violent or mentally challenging background. Volunteering is often a way of finding your first steps to your own happiness as opposed to the happiness of others have decided to "inflict" on you.
This concept is examined in more detail in this fascinating article which examines what brings happiness and how to challenge the assumptions that we make about what it really means to be happy and contented in the situations in which we find ourselves.
This whole idea has particular resonance for anybody wishing to take on a summer volunteer program, and one of the key aspects of slipping yourself gently into an uncomfortable environment - something way beyond that which you have ever experienced. Have a look at this series of articles which states - the benefits of volunteering are enormous.
The sheer satisfaction of helping others and making a difference - really making a difference not just clicking a “like” on a petition or a post - cannot be overstated. You will never regret the decision to volunteer your summer for the good of others.
So let's have a quick look at 15 summer opportunities for college students that are recruiting now and that you can get involved in and you will see exactly what we mean:
- Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands This has to be one of the most remarkable and magical opportunities for any student could wish for. Tread the same island see the same astonishing creatures that Darwin discovered when he was researching his groundbreaking Origin of Species Book which changed forever the world of zoology philosophy and religion.
- Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania these three incredible African countries Give students the chance to teach English, help farmers with business advice, build a soccer field or convert a wasteland into a community building - and see wildlife and experience some unforgettable scenery into the bargain.
- Peru - Lima one of the most affordable programmes - teach English, volunteer at an orphanage or community centre, help at a medical centre or hospital, build houses or do other odd jobs for the poorest in the community and explore a fascinating and diverse country.
- Thailand visit incredible beaches and try the delicious cuisine in this ancient land - all whilst teaching English, assisting in a medical centre or elephant conservation project, or helping at an orphanage or school.
- South Africa projects such as shark conservation, eco-tourism, teaching English and other subjects like sports, law and construction and business make this stunning country one of the most interesting options in the program.
- Camp Ecuador a long standing favourite for students - wildlife, scenery and beaches make this an ideal choice for environmental and conservation jobs.
- Italy needs no introduction - the food, the history, the culture and the countryside, wine and beaches all make the job of teaching English all the more wonderful.
- China ancient, mysterious, original and vast - this amazing country of incredible scenery, food, culture and history is a proven winner with students looking to improve their Mandarin and see the country first hand by teaching English.
- Costa Rica a veritable paradise of volcanoes, jungles, beaches; the lush and diverse ecosystem, and a conservation program to suit any biology student as well as animal rescue and teaching - sea turtle conservancy is also an option.
- Nepal the rooftop of the world - Everest being the biggest draw - greets the volunteer student at every turn but needs help with healthcare, education, building and finance - teaching English is especially popular.
- Romania a beautiful landlocked country in the heart of Europe. Transylvania and the legend of Dracula loom large in the forests and castles and together with the mountains in the background. Romania needs help with education, healthcare, bear conservation, construction and child care.
- Ghana is an African country going through a massive transformation; trying to join the 21st century is presenting a challenge to women’s empowerment, farming practices and global impact - there are lots of challenging volunteer opportunities for adventurous students looking for something different.
- South Korea this economic powerhouse is an amazing country to live and work in - English teaching is a sought after skill and would give you an insight into what makes the Asian Tiger economies tick. With street food, nightlife and Korean culture it is a student paradise.
- Israel a fascinating and troubled land with a history rich in turmoil and religious confusion a trip to Israel is one of the most eye opening programs you could join. How better to get a unique insight into how the Middle East’s odd man out flourishes and works amidst the chaos. Teaching, kibbutzing, and medicine are amongst the opportunities offered on this incredible program.
- Cuba go to Cuba this year and witness the birth of a new society after 50 years in the wilderness. Opportunities are limitless and the program will give you an insight into the momentous changes that the country is grappling with. English teaching, social programmes and healthcare all have openings for volunteer work.
As you can see, there are many testimonials and summaries from students who have done these voluntary programs - and the amazing thing is that very few of them are negative in any way - that, in itself, is reason enough to look into this further.
Nothing can prepare you for the difference that this experience will make it to your life. Working on some of these programs is truly awe-inspiring and humbling. If you really want to see how one person can make a difference to somebody else's life in a meaningful and everlasting way; hooking up with these volunteer programs and participating, with some of the most generous and intelligent people on the planet, is the way to do it. This is something that you would never regret.
We hope that we have whetted your appetite and giving you some ideas as to how to choose your program and start planning; so it simply remains for us to ask - "What are you waiting for?"