Posts Tagged ‘abroad’


Student Travel Must-Do: Volunteer Abroad

March 24, 2010

Volunteer Abroad

So far on my Student Travel Must-Do List:

1. La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain

Next: Volunteer Abroad

All of my past travels have been purely selfish. I went places that I thought would be exciting, adventurous or beautiful or places where I had friends and family to visit or places where I had a free couch to stay on.

Now I’d like a chance to travel for good, where my time will help someone other than myself.

There are many options available for volunteering abroad depending on if you want to volunteer for a week or two, a month or a year. Here are two names in volunteer travel that you know you can trust to provide you with a well-planned cultural experience:

  • Volunteer Abroad is run by Travel CUTS and places students and adults with groups that build housing, run health clinics, support education and do other things to get involved in communities around the world. They have programs for Summer and Reading Week as well as other times during the year.You do have to pay for these programs, but the program fee covers accommodation, meals, language training, activities during your orientation week and cultural training. Your international flight, transfer to your placement and weekend trips are not included.
  • Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program connects you with a home-building project in one of the dozens of countries around the world where they operate, from New Zealand to Romania to Macedonia. Projects last from 9-14 days, so you could easily combine your volunteer time with a regular holiday.Habitat trips cost between $1,275 and $2,500 (travel to and from not included), depending on your destination, but they provide ways for you to fundraise through their site.

Some universities also offer summer volunteer projects, so check with your study abroad office to see if they have anything that interests you.

If you have other volunteer programs to recommend, leave a comment below.

Let’s all help out!


Volunteer Abroad and Make Your Holiday Matter

February 19, 2010

Your generation isn’t nearly as shallow, apathetic, or clueless as the media makes you out to be. (Right?) Sure you want to have fun and spend some of your holiday sleeping in, dancing on pub tables, and extreme sporting, but you want a little more to show for your time away from home than a sunburn and a few blurry photos taken with your friend’s camera phone.

If you’re looking for an experience that will let you combine good times and good deeds, consider spending time as a volunteer in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, or Tanzania.


With the Volunteer Abroad program, you can work with kids in a local school, support conservation efforts, help rebuild homes and schools in regions that have been hit by floods or earthquakes, assist in a medical clinic, or pick out one of the many other worthwhile projects available.

So get yourself connected. Projects last between 4 and 24 weeks, making it simple to combine a shorter project with a backpacking trip you’re planning, or make the volunteer experience the main part of your itinerary. Volunteer Abroad will help you plan your travel arrangements, including any day trips, weekend activities, or other destinations you want to add to your adventure.

Visit for more information.


Make Your 2010 Travel Resolutions

January 7, 2010

Hello, and welcome back!

Actually, you may have been here all along – I’m the one who took a little break. It’s a new year though, new decade, and I for one am ready to jump start my life. I’m ready to set new goals, learn new skills, meet new people, and think and plan big.

So why not start with some resolutions? Really, I would only ask that you set one resolution: Travel.

That’s it. I’m not telling you where to travel or how or with who. Just resolve to do it. Start small, maybe camping for a weekend with friends or visiting your grandmother like you keep saying you will or checking out your first sci-fi convention.

The where and the when don’t really matter. What’s important is that you get out of your house, try something new, open your mind to new experiences and ways of life and open your address book (a real paper one or the one in your mobile) to the new friends you’ll make on the road.

If you like your goals to be a little more specific, how about one of these?

  • Travel green. Resolve to minimize your carbon footprint, clean up after yourself wherever you go (that includes the movie theatre), and support local businesses whenever possible.
  • Travel for good. Take part in a volunteer project in another country and do more than just sit on the beach and visit museums. Build a house, teach, farm, take part in people’s lives.
  • Travel for study. Don’t be a tourist, be a student. Plan a semester or summer abroad and see what campus life is like in another country.

I also resolve to provide you with inspiring travel ideas throughout the year, because there’s plenty to see and to out there.

Get moving!


Flat Hunting, The Urban Adventure

November 9, 2007

Finding a good apartment (or flat, depending on the local lingo) can be one of the more daunting tasks of going abroad for any length of time. If you’re staying in the same place for more than a couple of weeks, then a hostel may cost more than renting a room. But if you’re leaving in a few months, you probably won’t want to sign a long-term lease. Your best bet is to sublet or look for flatmates who only need a roommate for a short time.

Depending where you’re headed, you may be able to use a site like craigslist to scout out locations ahead of time. There are backpacker housing sites as well. In Australia, try In the UK, try a site like FlatmateClick.

If you’d rather wait until you’re there, your best bet might be looking on the street. Get an idea of what part of town you want to call home, and go for a walk, looking for fliers around cafes, hostels, and university campuses – anywhere students or travelers may gather.

Even though you may feel pressure to find a flat quickly when you arrive, don’t jump into a situation until you’ve seen at least three or four different places and have asked all of the right questions. What questions are those you wonder? Why, they’re written right here. Don’t be offended if some of them seem obvious. Sometimes it’s the most obvious questions that are the easiest to forget.

  1. How much is rent?
  2. How often is rent due? Weekly, fortnightly (every two weeks)? What day of the week? (All important information if you have a job that only pays once or twice a month and you need to budget ahead.)
  3. How much is the bond (security deposit), and under what conditions do I get it back? (A bond can be equal to a week’s rent or a month’s, depending on who you rent from.)
  4. Are there other bills that I’ll be responsible for? (Phone, gas, water…)
  5. Is there Internet access, and do I need to chip in for it?
  6. What’s the cockroach/bug situation? (Don’t laugh. It might be an issue. Do you want to find out two days after you move in that all food has to be kept in the fridge because the cabinets are infested?)
  7. Does anyone here smoke? In the house?
  8. Is it alright if I use your kitchen appliances and cookware?
  9. Do you share food? Do you split the cost for items like toilet paper, dish soap, cleaning items?
  10. Is there heat/air conditioning?
  11. What’s the minimum amount of time you’d like a flatmate to stay? Is there a specific date I need to leave by? (In case a missing flatmate is moving back.)

You may also want to ask about proximity to public transportation, noise, where the nearest grocery shopping is, safety issues in the neighborhood, and anything else that’s important to you feeling comfortable.

Most of all, consider whether or not you can see yourself enjoying getting to know these people. The main advantage to getting a room in a flat, instead of a hostel or travelers house, is that you can live with some friendly locals, so make sure you pick locals who you can imagine turning into friends.