Oct820085:12 pm


A great article in the San Francisco Chronicle on the growing trend of “voluntourism”:

After a decade of unprecedented consumerism, the rise of voluntourism may suggest that the pendulum is swinging toward a more altruistic worldview. But there’s also a certain logic in our workaholic culture embracing the idea of a working vacation. Whatever the reasons, voluntourism seems to be attracting more professionals, families and affluent retirees – just the sorts of people the travel industry must court to stay alive in an era of exploding fuel prices.

This idea of a working vacation is certainly not new to those familiar with alternative spring break trips and similar programs.  Regardless, the idea of voluntourism strikes me as not only a way to give back but also a means to gain short-term experience working abroad.  Highlighted in the article are the micro finance organization Kiva.org, which began “a fellowship program that places trained volunteers with partner organizations for a minimum of 10 weeks,” and the nonprofit organization Global Volunteers, which supports volunteer vacations both abroad and in the United States.

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2 Responses to “Voluntourism”

  1. Amy says:

    Voluntourism sounds like an excellent idea. I personally love to volunteer; giving back to my community gives me an incredible high, and to continue that interest abroad would be absolutely amazing. However, I’m about to be graduating from college and I know I would never be able to afford to participate in “voluntourism.” What would your advice be for a broke idealist?

  2. Alanna says:

    I have to say, I am not impressed by voluntourism. If you have actual useful skills that can help people, then you can be paid to work abroad. If you have so few skills that you need to pay someone to take you, then how much good can you be doing?

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