Projects Abroad prepares for new volunteer projects
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The spring semester is underway and while American students are preoccupied with classes and assignments, many are also thinking ahead and planning for the summer break. The options are endless: participating in an internship, getting part-time work, volunteering locally, traveling, or joining a study abroad program are consistently popular choices. For the majority of students, it is nearly impossible to fit several of these options into their summer schedule, limiting what they can experience. But what if there was a way to combine a number of options into one distinctive program?
International volunteer organization Projects Abroad offers hundreds of meaningful projects and internships in developing countries. Participants travel to their chosen destination, learn about cultural exchange first-hand, and get involved in a multitude of activities at their volunteer or internship placements, resulting in a productive and unforgettable break.
In 2015, more than 3,000 volunteers joined Projects Abroad for the summer, reports Christian Clark, the Deputy Director of Projects Abroad USA. Margaret, a pre-med student in Pennsylvania, was one of them.
“I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my summer,” she recalls, “but when I came to my college guidance counselor with the vague idea of going to a Spanish speaking country on some sort of medical internship, she immediately recommended Projects Abroad.”
Margaret then decided to travel with Projects Abroad to Cusco, Peru for 8 weeks to take part in the Medicine Project. The experience had a significant impact on her. “My time in Peru vastly improved my grasp of the Spanish language as well as solidified my decision to go to medical school. Besides that, it helped me to gain the skills to survive and thrive in areas different from what I am used to, something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
With this summer looking to be equally successful for the organization, Projects Abroad is gearing up for the season with three exciting new projects:
Public Health in Sri Lanka
Although conditions are slowly improving in Sri Lanka (the gap between income equality has shrunk in recent years and more communities have access to electricity and clean water), there are still communities that remain severely disadvantaged. One of the biggest problems they face is a lack of access to health services and basic treatment. In Colombo, interns work alongside local medical professionals to help provide basic medical care in these communities. This placement is suitable for everyone interested in medicine and healthcare, and is especially useful for pre-med students building resumes for medical school.
Canine Therapy in Argentina
This project involves working with children and animals in a Spanish-language environment. Volunteers work with disabled children and young adults and dogs and assist with specialized therapy sessions in Cordoba, Argentina. Joining a project like this is especially useful for students interested in learning about different types of treatment like speech therapy, kinesiology, neuro-rehabilitation, and psychology.
Building in the Philippines
Volunteers are still needed in the Philippines to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of Cebu in 2013. At the Building Project, volunteers renovate and build houses and schools in underprivileged communities. No construction experience is needed – a local builder will teach volunteers everything they need to know.
The majority of new volunteer projects and internships run throughout the year. However, summer is a popular time of the year and Projects Abroad recommends applying as soon as possible to secure a place on the placement of your choice, especially if wishing to travel during June, July, and August. For more information on how to get involved with volunteering and interning abroad this summer, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects.