Volunteering Articles and Travel Advice
For those who want to experience a bit of everything on their gap year, combo placements, which integrate a variety of different activities, could be the answer.
Volunteering expert Martin Stevenson offers his professional and informed advice on how to choose a volunteering project and which ones to avoid.
Choosing a volunteering placement is a job in itself - not all volunteering companies have the scruples and integrity you'd expect. Check out this list for what to look out for...
When you're choosing a volunteering placement there are a few things you should always consider, and the ethics of volunteering has never been more important.
Virtuous volunteering or clueless colonialism? Anna goes into an in-depth view of volunteering in Ghana and whether it can do more harm than good.
WWOOFing gives you the opportunity to experience idealistic lifestyles while learning more about organic farming and the environment, all for free.
Volunteering on gap year programs in developing countries can be beneficial and rewarding, but what are your options? And what are the challenges?
Volunteers in Africa are spoilt for choice and there are a number of options and programmes to choose from. Read all about why you should volunteer in Africa.
Need inspiration? Brain melting from travel research? Don't go through the hassle of planning - do an 'all-in-one' GapWrap and get the complete experience.
Why do gap year travellers spend their money, time and effort to volunteer when they can simply throw on their backpack and have a care-free experience?
Volunteering is one of the most popular opportunities on a gap year, but the question is, long term volunteering or short term volunteering? Let the debate begin.
Gapyear.com speaks to Borneo conservation leader Leo Biddle to learn more about his journey to the jungles of Asia, the honest reality of wildlife conservation and the rewarding challenge of animal volunteering. Read this fascinating interview of the man aiming to change the volunteer industry.
What kind of animal volunteer projects can you do in Malaysia? What wildlife will you encounter? Malaysia is one of the jewels of South East Asia, full of dream-like scenery, rich cultural history and amazing travelling adventures. Whilst simply backpacking through the country can be fantastic, spending time working on a volunteer project can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Whatever happened to Burkina Faso? It’s that place with the funnily named capital (Ouagadougou… giggle, giggle) that you probably heard of once in a pub quiz and then immediately forgot. Your grandparents will know of Upper Volta, as it was once known, but then it changed its name and seemingly disappeared off the map. Well, that's where I'm going, to Burkina Faso.
Ben Robson spent 5 months volunteering, teaching English in Sichuan Province, China. Big classes, great food and smart kids; he shares his experiences.
Looking for volunteer placements is exciting, but don't get carried away and eagerly sign up for the first project that looks like your dream experience! There are many mistakes you can make when approaching volunteering, so gapyear.com has put together this guide to help you avoid them.
Red or blue? I asked myself sitting at my desk. It’s something I had thought about for a while, sitting in my comfortable, mediocre paid, extra-super-duper secure government job. Take the red pill and the risk to discover the real world outside of my narrow-horizoned existence or take the blue and stay safe within the confines of my perfectly adequate personal corridor of life?
If you would like to volunteer on your gap year but are not in a position to fund this yourself, then you may be eligible for a bursary. Lots of companies offer bursaries and eligibility varies from company to company. Below is an example of one company's bursary scheme.
It was a cool clear winter evening when I arrived in Cape Town South Africa for seven weeks of voluntary work. I was picked up from the airport and dropped off at my host parents who lived in Strandfontein, a town about half an hour from Cape Town. I spent my days at a local hospital working in the HIV/AIDS clinic and it changed my life.
Sousedei from Cambodia! The weather here in Siem Reap has been gorgeous since we arrived and we're all acclimatising to both the heat and the Cambodian way of life. There are a lot of differences between here and home. For instance, the delicious Asian food on tap, the insane traffic, and the fact you have to haggle when buying anything!
There are so many life-changing experiences available for gappers that I had great fun researching options for my gap year. I wanted not only to travel, but to adapt and live in a totally different culture. Having always played sports, I thought the football coaching placement in Ghana organised by Sporting Opportunities sounded different and amazing.
Mongolia. For years that one word has conjured up a certain magic in my mind. Images of wide open steppe, vast expanses of desert, camels, yaks, snow leopards, wild horses, nomads and Genghis Khan began to float into my dreams as I planned my trip. As I stared out of the plane I caught my first glimpse of the steppe, and it was as wild and empty as I could have hoped.
They say that teaching is something that is in your blood. Well, my mother is a teacher, and a result, in every country I travel to, sooner or later I find myself standing at the front of a classroom, while rows upon rows of expectant faces stare at me. I don't quite know how it happens, but I seem to teach on a regular basis.
How would you like to fall asleep in a hammock in the rainforest listening to monkeys and toucans, and help out on vital reforestation projects? Or nurse orphaned lion cubs in Kenya? In this guide you'll find out the different types of conservation opportunities that are available and what you can expect from a volunteer project.
The plane journey was possibly the longest journey of my life, both literally and mentally. Then actually getting off the plane was the most intense thing I've ever done; imagine stepping into a sauna just that little bit too hot and then triple that, then you will have half the idea of how the heat hits you as soon as you enter Ghana.
From the moment I walked through the orphanage gate I had a child clinging from either hand with a third soon hanging round my neck! The children in Villa Bendicion have nothing but are always smiling. This really made me think what is important in life! After a few days at the orphanage I was really starting to feel at home.
I have so many good memories of being a teacher, from getting a pile of cards from my students and being presented with flowers on Valentines Day to telling my students the story of Helen of Troy and watching them perform their favourite parts of the story. I got such a buzz walking out of the classroom knowing that my students had enjoyed the class.
Meet Lewis Smith and Dani Mason, best mates from Cardiff who are currently out in tropical Sri Lanka taking part in two volunteer placements with gap year organisation Travellers Worldwide. This dynamic duo split their time in Sri Lanka between teaching in schools for under-privileged children and working in an elephant orphanage.
For me, taking a gap year was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made. I was fed up of learning facts just to regurgitate them all in exams. I wanted to learn about people, the world, and get a grasp of the bigger picture. So I set out looking for a way to fulfil my dreams.
South Africa was one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life! As most people would be, I was apprehensive before I went, but at the same time really excited. I was going half way round the world to work with young people who were not as fortunate as myself. After several phone calls and emails back and forth with Travellers, my trip was planned, flights booked and bags packed!
We arrived at Delhi airport at 7am and after settling into the hotel we found the energy to go on an adventure in an auto rickshaw to the tourist office to get a map. Not that exciting I hear you say...you clearly have not been driving in India. It was an experience. The only two rules of the road here seem to be; use your horn whenever possible and only give way (grudgingly) to cars that are bigger than you.
Meet Alice and Jess, two intrepid lasses heading off to volunteer in exotic Ecuador for the next few months. This cheese-loving duo will be taking part in a combination placement with The Leap which includes working with local communities to develop medicinal gardens, breeding piranhas and teaching English to local guides.
Teaching and volunteering as a teacher is a highly rewarding and very popular way to spend your gap year. There's so much advice out there that we thought we'd ask some of the gapyear.com members about their experiences and what are their best tips and ideas on teaching on your gap year.