Voluntourism – Experience New Cultures While Giving Back

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Visiting far-off lands and exotic destinations like Southeast Asia (places like the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) are only a dream destination for some people. Many have the desire to travel but do not have the means to get there.

hungduan ifugao
Ifugao Kid in Hungduan

Southeast Asia has been a popular tourist destination for the past few decades. Majestic temples, bustling cities, beautiful rice terraces, exotic food, beautiful beaches, and elephant sanctuaries comes to mind if you imagine yourself in any South East Asian nation.

mother and child in batad
An Ifugao Lady in Batad

In the Philippines, a group of voluntourists’ helped in the restoration of the damaged rice terraces in Batad Igugao – a popular Unesco Heritage site. Tourism Organizations in the Philippines like PHILTOA are also supporting voluntourism to help in the preservation of the country’s wealth of wonders.

Voluntourism in other countries means, a tourist will be deployed in a country and will be given some sort of allowance to survive troughout their entire stay. In Ifugao Philippines, Volunteers are visiting the world heritage sites to offer help for free in the spirit of  Bachangan Ifugao term for Bayanihan or community effort.

ifugao culture

Cultural Immersion in Ifugao

To really get a feel of a country’s culture, you need to spend more than the requisite one or two weeks in these exotic destinations. Accommodation and food in most countries in Asia are affordable but there are ways for you to visit Asia without spending too much for airline tickets.

Ifugao Kid in Batad
Ifugao Kid in Batad

Volunteering may be the solution to your budget restraints while also giving you ample time to experience a country’s culture. It has become an increasingly popular way to experience different cultures while giving back to communities in need. Travelers have the opportunity to experience the real destination outside of the tourist guidebooks.

rice harvest ifugao
Rice Harvest Season in Batad

If your time is limited, a volunteer vacation (also known as voluntourism) is one option. A volunteer typically works from Monday to Friday on a volunteer vacation, allowing time on the weekends to explore the city and its surrounding areas on the weekends.

Voluntourists in Ifugao
Voluntourists in Ifugao

Long-term volunteer projects or intern projects are suitable for those who have more time to devote to a project. Typical projects include working with disabled children and physical therapy internships. Another popular volunteer opportunity in other Asian countries except for the Philippines is teaching English in primary and secondary schools.

Accommodations vary depending on the project. Volunteers usually stay in local community buildings, schools, etc. The host organization will provide lodging at no cost, but volunteers are expected to help with food preparation, cleaning, and other domestic chores.

Volunteering is a perfect opportunity for recent graduates who want to take a break before starting their careers, those ready for a career break, retirees, or those just up for an adventure! You’ll be doing something worthwhile for society while making a difference and learning about other cultures.

Volunteering is also looked upon favorably by college admission boards and potential employers. Volunteering will help you to develop social awareness, help those in need, make new friends and discover the wonderful culture and destinations in the country where you will be assigned.

How about you? What would you do to make your trip memorable?

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