Learning Service offers a powerful new approach that invites volunteers to learn from host communities before trying to ‘help’ them. It’s also a thoughtful critique of the sinister side of volunteer travel; a guide for turning good intentions into effective results; and essential advice on how to make the most of your experience.
A must read for anyone considering volunteer tourism.Elizabeth Becker
A manifesto for doing good well, this is an indispensable book for anyone volunteering overseas.Noam Chomsky
This is recommended reading for all those considering volunteering in a developing country.Philip Goodwin
The pedagogy of Learning Service is foundational to responsible travel.Reed Harwood
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This year, over ten million people will go abroad, eager to find the perfect blend of adventure and altruism. Volunteer travel can help you find your place in the world–and find out what you’re made of. So why do so many international volunteer programs fail to make an impact? Why do some do more harm than good?
International volunteering has grown in popularity, and with so many people going abroad to “serve”, we worry that we are often forgetting a really important step: we have to learn before we can help. If we don’t research our options thoroughly, understand the context and culture of the communities we visit, and ensure that our skills and experience match the needs, volunteering can be wasteful, and at worst, cause a lot of harm.
We are promoting a movement of learning, designed to better prepare young people about to travel abroad for the first time, and travellers of all ages looking to give back through their time, with the skills and mindsets they need to be of “service”, not just for a few weeks on a volunteer trip, but for the rest of their lives.
From Our Blog
In our book, Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteer Travel, we discuss the many pitfalls of volunteer travel that lead to tokenistic impact or downright harm. We are frequently asked how these pitfalls persist, being repeated by countless volunteers...read more
This post is written by our good friend and intercultural competency expert, Emily Braucher of Refresh Communication, with some ideas on how travelers and volunteers can ensure they engage in mindful communication across cultures and settings. 1. Don’t trust your...read more
Our last two blog posts have been the inspirational life story of Sushil Babu Chhetri (here and here). In this post we asked Sushil to give us his candid thoughts on some of the issues he touches upon in his story. Much of your childhood was spent in orphanages. Do...read more