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Volunteer Must Reads

  • What To Do When You Have Stomach Issues Abroad

    The first week of Costa Rica landed me in the doctor's office. It felt like someone was standing on my lower ribcage. I never experienced anything like it. Turns out all I needed was a 14 day dose of PPI's

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  • What's Wrong with Being Superman

    I write often about the 'superman syndrome.' To clarify exactly what I mean by that the superman syndrome is when volunteers enters a project thinking they are going to save the children, the animals, or the world.This can be detrimental

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  • 7 Basic Do's and Don'ts of Volunteering Abroad

    1. DO know yourself.

    One of the best ways to prepare yourself is by doing a little bit of volunteering at home. This way you can really hone down on the issues that are important to you: conservation and sustainability,

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  • 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Volunteering Abroad

    “Where do I start?”

    Some people come to us and tell us exactly what volunteering project they would like to do. They're the easy ones. Others come to us without a clue. And that's okay too.

    “Where do I start?”

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  • What would you not mind giving your time and energy to?

    Walking past perfect little brownstones bordered by perfectly-sized trees full of leaves on a seemingly perfect Old Town street on a crisp perfect September afternoon reminds me of my perfect existance. Wait. No it doesn't.

    I loved these streets of

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  • Why Volunteer as a Student? (Part 1: The Experience)

    Reason #1:  EXPERIENCE.

    There are countless number of volunteer opportunities abroad, each one more diverse than the next. From teaching little kids to rehabilitating wildlife to helping emerging rural businesses become sustainable.

    Many volunteers come in with a clear vision.

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  • How to Choose Responsible Animal Projects While Traveling

    For many of us the joy in traveling includes seeing local wildlife in exotic locations. We dream of the giant tortoises of the Galapagos, traversing the African savannah on a safari, swimming in the Great Barrier, riding on a polar

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  • Should You Volunteer Abroad as a Couple

    Its been said over and over, “Travel is the ultimate relationship test.”

    When couples travel together, they often discover that their relationships at home are quite different from when they are abroad. At home, you live in your literal boundaries.

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  • Why Volunteer as a Student? (Part 2: The Adventure)

    Reason #2:  A New Adventure

    I was eating my Chipotle burrito bowl on a snowy April afternoon when I eavesdropped on three students from my former university. They discussed Kant and Socrates, reciting from their books word for word before

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  • 6 Ways Volunteering Improves Your Mental and Physical Health

    (Studies published by United Health Group , National Service , and Harvard Health Publications )

    1. 94% of people who volunteered in the past 12 months says it improves their mood.

    2. Results from a large, ethnically diverse survey of older adults showed

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  • Why Volunteer as a Student? (Part 3)

    Reason #3:  Get Out of Your Head

    We get trapped sometimes, rationalizing actions. Sometimes the only way to fix it is by getting out of your own head, far, far away from things.

    Like many other students, in 14 hours

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  • Why Volunteer as a Student? (Part 4: It Benefits You)

    Reason #4: It Benefits You!

    Its hard to explain to others why volunteering is selfless when sometimes it feels so selfish.

    Once a week in Thailand, I lead adult English classes for working girls. Most classes were improvised. The teaching

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  • When is the Best Time to Volunteer Abroad?

    Anytime. Really.

    Volunteers who join The Volunteer Bay programs are joining programs that run all year long. Even if you decide to join or not to join the project, these projects are always working. They are staples in the community,

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  • 3 Considerations to Make for Before Volunteering Abroad

    Every country can bring you new and diverse volunteering experiences into your life. Sometimes deciding and planning on where to go and what to do can seem overwhelming, but with a little help, the entire planning process can go down

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  • What Everyday Moments Do You Enjoy?

    Part of my job here at The Volunteer Bay as Program Director involves me assessing each program to see how and if our international volunteers and the involving organization can benefit from one another. There's a long check list I

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  • The 5 States of Culture Shock

    Culture shock is experienced in 5 stages:

    1. The Honeymoon/ Rose-Colored Glasses Stage: You step off the plane and can't wait to immerse yourself in this new place. You're eager to try the new food, ride on a crowded train

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  • 4 Pros about Volunteering Abroad

    1. Live in a new culture. Volunteering abroad in a foreign country is a first-hand approach to experiencing just a small taste of life this planet has to offer. One of the best parts about being immersed in a new

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  • The Single Most Important Quality in a Travel Partner

    If there was one quality I would want in a travel partner it is the ability to adapt. Stuff happens when traveling. Flights get cancelled, busses break down, things get stolen. The ability to adapt often puts you three steps

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  • 6 Reasons Why To Volunteer With Animals Abroad

    1. You get to work up close with some exotic animals. Most of us only get to see elephants once in the zoo, and then they look pretty sad. Working with elephants and other animals abroad in a sanctuary or

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  • 8 Fun Tips for Fundraising Your Volunteer Trip

    Even though volunteering abroad is a cost-effective way to travel, when you add up all the costs, like airfare, insurance, spending money for sight-seeing, the total can possibly overwhelm you.

    You shouldn't let financial barriers keep you from pursuing a

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  • 7 Reasons Why To Travel And Volunteer Abroad Alone

    For some the thought of traveling or volunteering abroad alone is terrifying, but going at it alone has many perks. When you finally do overcome the fear and anxiety of traveling by yourself, you discover there are an infinite amount

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  • 13 Pieces of Wisdom on Volunteering

    1. “The meaning of life is to give life a meaning.”

    2. “I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, then I realized I am somebody.”


    3. “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” - Voltaire


    4. “Focus

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  • 9 Tips on Volunteering Abroad as a Couple

    When cruising for a week seems to boring, volunteering abroad is the way to go .

    If you ever have a half-hour conversation about what you should eat tonight, you might realize that the decision on where to volunteer abroad might

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  • How to Handle Naysayers

    “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

    So have you ever wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary, and then all you hear from a few

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  • 5 Reasons to be Kind

    I announced at lunch the other day my excitement for Thanksgiving, boasting it as my favorite holiday. My little brother went, “Why?”

    He listed superior holidays, Christmas, 4th of July, and Halloween, commenting how much more fun they were. Christmas

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  • 5 Reasons Why to Volunteer Abroad with Your Kids

    Volunteering abroad as a family can help shape your child's future. Immersing yourself in a new culture away from privilege can bring about invaluable lessons. You coerce your family to work together, share ideas and experiences, that will hold your

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  • 3 Major Volunteering Don'ts

    Volunteering abroad is an immersive experience. You're living in a new culture, possibly with a local family, absorbing everything thrown in your way. Your senses are more tuned-in than ever, and suddenly you feel like an insider.

    Being an insider

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  • How Volunteers Should Chose a Specific Project

    There was a middle aged woman I met the other day who helped run a free clinic in a small Wisconsin community. That said- she already impressed me. The next question she asked me was “How do you convince people

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  • 4 Traits Volunteers Going Abroad Shouldn't Have

    1. You won't be much use if you can't listen. When you go abroad to volunteer, you are joining a project that has been working on the ground for a long time. These people have committed themselves to solving a

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  • How to Teach Your Host Family English

    Staying with a host family while traveling or volunteering abroad is the perfect way to fully immerse yourself into a new culture. Sometimes, however, you might find yourself with a language barrier. While your host family will be able to

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