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
This is a guest post by Sushil Babu Chhetri. I am writing to you from the western part of Nepal, one the most remote and most disadvantaged regions of the country, and also my birthplace. Since I saw the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding across the world,...read more
This is a guest post by student Grady Trexler. In late March, as I left my gap year in Indonesia early because of COVID-19, I remember being absolutely sure that I had discovered important insights into myself and the world around me, but absolutely unsure about what...read more
This is a guest post by educator and coach Jenny Wagner. I have no desire to be repatriated right now. I feel this with visceral certainty while watching my six month old daughter sitting on a rug in our bedroom, happily chewing on the limbs of a teddy bear. My...read more