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There are many reasons to travel; it improves social and communication skills, enhances your tolerance for uncertainty, and provides a real life education unique to the place you travel. Experiencing new places widens your worldview, expands your cultural awareness, and teaches you something you may never learn if you never leave home. Most people who travel take the roads more travelled, they travel, eat and take in the sites. But there is a different way to visit other countries. You can immerse yourself in another culture and take part in a number of different programs that will give you a chance to experience another culture in an entirely different way. This mode of cultural engagement might including building houses, working environmental conservation, teaching English, organic farming, working in an orphanage, assisting refugees in resettlement, improve healthcare, teach sports, vocational training, and participating in an archeological excavation. Some programs in addition to allowing you to volunteer or intern also provide opportunities for language immersion. We also have a list of programs that are specifically designed for Language Immersion. The number of countries where you travel to with these programs is staggering, really just about anywhere in the world.
We have compiled a list of over 100 different organizations through which you can explore, learn, teach, and aid communities vastly different from your own. The programs range in duration and cost, but some of the programs actually offer free accommodations, meals and even travel assistance. There are programs for teenagers, college students, and adults of all ages, varying language levels, and objectives, you should be able to find the perfect program.
It should be noted that traveling anywhere poses risks, especially to poorer countries. We encourage you to do your own research into whatever organization and destination you choose, and travel safely. A program's inclusion in our list does not represent an endorsement of any organization or program. Not all programs use the highest standards, but most probably do. Please google the organizations you are interested in and see what former volunteers and others have to say about them. Be aware that some volunteer placing organizations charge fees but many do not.
• A Broader View
A Broader View holds programs in Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa ranging from sea turtle conservation and cultural immersion to rehabilitation and social welfare programs.
Over the past 40 years ACDI/VOCA has mobilized 1200 skilled professionals and international volunteers to build the capacity of developing countries' agricultural, business, and nonprofit sectors.
AMIGOS provides high school and college-age volunteers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and daily lives of a host community, bringing that community together to to determine, plan, and carry out a community-specific service project. AMIGOS offers summer programs for high school and college students as well as Gap programs for high school graduates.
• API (Academic Programs International)
API volunteer abroad has developed relationships with conservation groups, rescue centers, orphanages, schools, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations abroad. API offers programs in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
• Adventures in Preservation
Both archaeological preservation and greenhouse conservation. Their mission statement is Connecting people and preservation through enriching experiential programs that safeguard heritage and foster community sustainability.
• African Impact
African Impact offers volunteer and internship opportunities consisting of teaching and education, sports and coaching, community and conservation, gender equality, orphan care, and more. African Impact spans across the African continent in countries including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Kenya.
• Agape Volunteers
Agape Volunteers operates in Kenya, Masaai-land, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa, and range from one week to one year. Programs within these countries include assisting in orphanages, wildlife conservation, infrastructure development, HIV/AIDS work, and education.
• Amala Foundation
United those seeking meaningful work with those in great need through humanitarian projects. Programs include the Global Youth Peace Summit and Youth Innovational Council and others in 5 countries with over 4000 volunteers.
• American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad (AYUDA)
AYUDA uses an innovative peer leadership model through which international volunteers serve as catalysts to empower local youth living with diabetes to manage their diabetes. Programs are available in countries such as Haiti, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
• Archaeological Institute of America
Provides a bulletin of archaeological fieldwork opportunities for volunteers
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