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Globetrotting with a Goal

By Kate Levinson

Why not combine vacation with some nonprofit work abroad? Check out these opportunities!

Your calendar's blank for spring break. Or the summer. Or the rest of your life. And a vacation sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Why not combine a travel adventure with a taste of nonprofit work abroad? You'll see the world, help build communities, strengthen your own cross-cultural skills, and maybe, just maybe, see whether you've got a future in international development work.

Check out these programs, and do some searching of your own. Try schools, churches and community organizations for other ideas. And don't focus too much on the price tag. Many students find grants or donations to help them foot the bill.

Bon Voyage!


With more than 500 volunteer projects, addressing issues from conservation to media, in 24 countries on five continents, take your pick of everything from location to trip length to extra travel - and make a difference doing it! They also offer certification programs in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and TEFL job placements. Here's a cool option: Spend a month at a hospital in Accra, Ghana for $1895.

Global Crossroad

Participants are spread throughout 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and tackle volunteer projects, internships and paid teaching placements in a variety of settings. Try a two week "Mini-Venture" to Nepal. Your $1299 will get you a volunteer placement at a Nepali orphanage after which you'll tour the city of Kathmandu and spend four days exploring with a Himalayan trekking team.

Global Volunteers

Take your pick of any continent in the world (well, minus the frozen one), and you'll find a volunteer placement there. Stay for between one and three weeks, or extend your visit to up to 40 weeks. You'll want to stay as long as possible when you're talking teaching English on the Greek island of Crete ($2,195 for two weeks if you're a student).

Volunteers for Peace

Your do-gooder possibilities are endless here, where you can browse volunteer placements until your eyes go crossed. For the money-conscious, trip prices start at around $250 a week and will literally take you around the world. How does spending two months helping at a residential facility for at-risk youth sound? Or four months working on agricultural sustainability in Guatemala? Not your thing? There are already more than 400 other programs planned for 2007.


For the teaching-inclined, this Harvard-originating program places volunteers for a summer or a year in a variety of countries. Don't worry if you don't have a teaching background; the only prerequisite is that you're fluent in English. Try a summer teaching high-schoolers in Poland for $3,990 (including airfare).

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Planning the Future: Building a community center in Hut Bay, India
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Get Me Out of the Tuscan Sun
One student's summer at an archaeological field school in Italy went horribly awry. Learn from the pitfalls of her experience, and prepare yourself for challenges as well as triumphs in going abroad.

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