Seeing the world is so much more than just suntans, excursions, and exotic meals. It can also be a chance to contribute to a cause bigger than ourselves.
If you love to travel and have the heart to help others, there are various ways to do it—many times for free or for the fraction of the cost of a regular trip. Here are five ways that you can create a more meaningful vacation by helping others:
There are a number of programs that allow volunteers to help rebuild areas affected by natural disasters. Allhandsandhearts.org is a relief program that responds both locally and internationally to areas that have been torn apart by Mother Nature. They provide free room and board and three meals a day for volunteers. Also, if you can dedicate your time for longer than two weeks, your airfare is complimentary as well. Their efforts stretch from North Carolina to Mozambique.
2.)Teach English Abroad
Countries like South Korea, China and the Gulf Arab states provide handsome salaries for people who’d like to donate their time to teach English to locals. In places like the Middle East, salaries can be upwards of $80,000 USD per year, (making it a great way to pay off any outstanding student loans debt). Programs like internationalteflacademy.com connect people to teaching opportunities all over the world. They only require that you take an accreditation course to get started. A teaching background is not required.
3.)Provide Healthcare Overseas
If you’re looking to bring proper healthcare to communities that may not have reliable access, medical volunteering abroad might be for you. A medical degree isn’t always required (although there are guidelines). Organizations like volunteerhq.org accept pre-med and pre-nursing students. They offer opportunities in over 40 destinations and have provided over 100,000 volunteers a chance to impact the world. Fees to assist in the healthcare sector with this program for a week start as low as $250.
4.)Volunteer to Work with Animals
There are efforts all over the world looking to help animals and assist with the preservation of wildlife. Lovevolunteers.org has a low-cost volunteer program that offers hands-on experience working with a range of mammals from sea turtles to elephants. The program is perfect for those studying or interested in the field of zoology. They provide programs in South Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica and more. Options to volunteer range from one week to six months.
5.)Promote Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality in Africa
Organizations like africanimpact.com provide volunteer projects and internships that assist people in over 11 African countries. Their gender equality internship in Cape Town aims to empower women under a system that is traditionally restricted by patriarchy. They provide support groups, workshops and mentorship to help bring about positive change. They also help young girls in Tanzania to realize their potential through programs that teach the importance of mental and physical health and self esteem. The cost of the 8-12 week program is $4000 and includes transportation, meals, lodging and insurance.
Featured in Blackdoctor.org