I have never taken a real family vacation before with my family; you know, the typical family vacation where we go to DisneyWorld or Universal Studios and spend thousands of dollars for an experience that is ‘rewarding’.
But, ‘rewarding’ is beginning to take on a whole new meaning as families’ take non-traditional vacations. Instead, there is an increase of families’ vacationing with a purpose and where it matters the most.
Projects Abroad, an international volunteer organization, offers families, and individuals, the opportunity to travel, explore and experience countries through a unique viewpoint—volunteering.
Projects in various fields are available throughout the year and families, as well as individuals, can join at any time.
Best part: no prior experience required; only commitment and dedication to helping others.
A family from the UK, parents John and Caroline, along with their four children—Ollie, Fleur, Cosmo and Gus, spent last summer in Sri Lanka volunteering at an orphanage.
“Much to my surprise I enjoyed our three weeks at the Varjira Sri Children’s Development Center more than any other family vacation I have ever been on,” says John.
Through volunteer work, families form special bonds while helping other families build up their own communities and supporting sustainable development.
“There were some very hard moments for each of us individually, but these were short lived and we really did learn to help each other through,” he says.
According to Alejandra Estrada Guzman, a Program Advisor for Projects Abroad in the United States, every member of the family benefits from this experience.
“Adults use their skills and experience to help others while traveling,” she says. “Many parents appreciate having the opportunity to teach their children about different cultures and the power of one person helping another.”
Also, each member of the family can be accommodated based on their interests.
Projects Abroad also offers volunteering and interning opportunities for Professional individuals and students.
Based on a particular field of interest, individuals and students can choose a project that can span up to 8 weeks or more with a flexible start date.
Special programs are designed for high school students to allow them the option to spend two or four weeks (during the summer) in a field and country of their choice; high school students also have the option of taking a global gap year before heading off to university.
University students have the option of completing a project during their spring breaks.
On the same note, professionals can use their expertise to improve and maintain sustainable communities.
As a student, Projects Abroad is offering me the opportunity to travel the world while helping people and communities.
Especially for my career choice, helping people will be a part of my job so why not start now? Learning about the different program offerings have caught my attention and I’m sure it will catch the attention of families and individuals alike.
The flexibility in start dates and duration of the projects are a plus as well.
So if you are looking for a vacation for your family or a vacation for yourself, Projects Abroad may be the right fit for you and your family’s needs.
Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geographer professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its start in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.
Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.
For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad.
Queens of Virtue