Recommended Reading: Voluntourism Solutions

Voluntourism has been a hot topic in the media recently. Not too long ago the viral article “The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist” sparked some much needed conversations on the topic. We’ve noticed, however, most of the articles floating around the internet offer reasons why you shouldn’t be a volunteer tourist but not a lot of solutions. So we’ve compiled a list of recent articles highlighting ways to volunteer effectively:


In the article Know Before You Go: Key Tips for Volunteering Abroad, Part 1 featured on Volunteer Forever, you’ll find a handy list of tips summarized from the first three videos in our Know Before You Go series. Learn how to identify responsible volunteer organizations, be an effective volunteer, and continue learning and serving even after you’ve returned home.


Written by Learning Service for Everyday Ambassador, The Solution for Little White Girls (and Boys…and…Everyone…) gives an introduction to the fifth video in our recent series, “How Can I Do Good in the World?”


Also published on Everyday Ambassador, From Savior to Solidarity: An alternative for “White Girls” – and anyone else – considering international service offers another response to the popular “Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys)” article.


Rebecca Waxman, one of our very own Learning Service Ambassadors shares her thoughts on service as well as her personal experience in her piece on, “Faux Pas of the Well-Intentioned Westerner.”


We hope you find these readings insightful! Have you found any helpful articles recently?

Learning service as an effective alternative to voluntourism

“Maybe I’d like it there if I was volunteering in an orphanage and got to play with the kids.”


I slapped my hands over my face, shaking my head. I’ve been living in Cambodia for over three months now and probably haven’t been Skyping my best friend back home as much as I should, but I couldn’t believe she still had no idea what I was actually doing here.


Work-mode took over and I began spitting out numbers like, in Cambodia over 75% of the children in orphanages aren’t actually orphans at all and even though the number of orphans is decreasing the number of orphanages is increasing with the rate of tourism. I explained how visiting and volunteering at orphanages can perpetuate child exploitation.


“I didn’t know that,” was all she said after I’d finished my spiel.


Had my friend acted on her desire to volunteer, not just at an orphanage but anywhere, she’d be bombarded with an overwhelming number of options, good and bad. When you’re surrounded by talk on development and the effects of volunteering it’s easy to forget run-of-the-mill voluntourism projects can be indistinguishable from programs making sustainable contributions to those hearing about it for the first time. Even though I know spending a week painting a classroom will unlikely make any kind of difference in the local community my friend may see it as an excellent opportunity to “give-back”.


– See more at:

Learning Service on KEEN Blog!

A big thank you to KEEN for featuring our contest on their blog and providing some awesome prizes!


Exploring foreign cities, meeting interesting people, tasting local cuisines – the reasons we love travel are endless. Recently volunteering has risen in the ranks of what motivates us to venture abroad. Every year more people jet across the world looking for ways to “give back” or “make a difference” to the communities who host us while traveling.


As with any growing trend, volunteer travel receives its fair share of criticism. Volunteers are often blamed for contributing to dependency, offering unsustainable solutions, and taking locals’ jobs. Spending some time uncovering the negative effects international volunteers can have on communities can become overwhelming and leave you wondering if volunteering is even worth it.


Continue reading on KEEN’s blog!

Orphanage Tourism: Tackling the Trend via Tourism Concern

If you bring up volunteering abroad in a conversation more often than not you’ll get a response like, “Volunteering is great! I’ve always wanted to work in an orphanage.” While traveling in developing countries it’s hard to ignore the countless signs held by impoverished-looking children begging you to visit or donate to their orphanage. Do a quick search for international volunteer placements and half of them will offer opportunities to “play with children”.


Orphanage tourism is a growing travel trend but gradually the truth is coming out: volunteering, visiting, and even donating to orphanages can actually cause more harm than good.


Continue reading on Tourism Concern!

Soria Moria Boutique Hotel Hosting Contest Winner!

We are excited to announce the fabulous Soria Moria Boutique Hotel will be hosting our “Know Before You Go” contest winner during their 3-day stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia!


Will it be you?


To give you more chances to win we are extending the contest deadline until Friday, February 26. Head on over to the website and enter now! Watch the videos and answer all six question correctly and you’ll be in the running for the 3-day stay in Siem Reap.


Soria Moria is a small cheerful hotel with a special touch, located in the center of Siem Reap. The hotel was established in 2007 by a Norwegian couple with a strong interest in the sustainable development of tourism and several years of experience with living and working in Cambodia. In 2011 all employees were made partners and owners in the business, which makes Soria Moria the first employee-owned hotel in Cambodia.


Learn more about Soria Moria’s vision and responsible tourism practices visit their website:

Tips for Responsible Travel: Southeast Asia

Tips for Responsible Travel: Southeast Asia


We all want to travel responsibly, but sometimes it’s difficult to know how best to do that in a country and culture we’re not familiar with. This bonus video is designed to help viewers travel responsibly in Southeast Asia.


After watching, don’t forget to answer the quiz question for your chance to win a pair of KEEN shoes and an Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube!


In case you missed our last announcement, we’re adding more chances to win!


If you haven’t already, check out the other videos in our “Know Before You Go” series and answer the corresponding questions. At the end of the contest everyone who answered all six correctly will be entered in a drawing to win a 3-day stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia and two new prizes thanks to Eagle Creek:


The Dane Brief


The Emerson Carry-All