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Volunteering abroad in the summer holidays?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by takethatno1fan, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    Does anyone know how I can find out information about this?
    Someone on another thread mentioned they had volunteered in Tanzania and I wondered how easy this was to arrange? I would consider anywhere really.
    Happy New Year to everyone!
  2. What was the volunteering like? I'm looking to do something next summer!
  3. Tanzania is difficult if you like your home comforts. Bucket showers, squat toilets, corporal punishment, frustration that the schools didn't really know what to do with us, mostly copying from the boards etc.
    I still loved it though
    Getting public transport, sitting next to Masai's, the welcome, the appreciation, going for breakfast and meeting friends in Africafe in Arusha at weekends, the colour, the hustle and bustle..I could go on.
    Uganda as equally as amazing but easier in the sense of having hot showers and toilets. The orphanage I went to and going back to next summer is great. You can stay in the guest house, clean and comfy and you get well looked after for about £9 a night dinner. bed and breakfast.
    You should go for it, I love Africa and I've met some amazing people on my travels.
  4. Here is my (probably) unpopular advice about volunteering abroad: don't do it.
    Whatever you do there, a local person could do just as well. Except that you will pay for the priviledge to do something that someone locally ought to be paid for.
    You take part in a vicious circle: why train and pay decently the local teachers when a well meaning foreigner will pay big bucks to do so? The more people volunteer to teach the less a country is likely to develop its education system.
    You will create bonds with poor children. Then you will leave for the comfort of your home. They won't. You will feel better about yourself by the end of it. They won't.
    No matter how good a teacher you are, you will not teach well. You won't have a clue what the children have done beforehand with the previous volunteer. You can't really help kids learn if you do just two months teaching in isolation of their previous learnings. Then, when the next person replaces you, they won't have a clue what you have done either and therefore the circle will repeat itself.
    You will give a large amount of money to an industry that has a financial and barely vested interests in keeping kids in poverty. If the country develops itself, there won't be a need for volunteers. No need for volunteers? Damn, how will they be able to afford their Lexus and their plush apartments. Let's keep the country's education system a mess to ensure the regular cashflow of well meaning Westerners.
    I know that your intentions are sound and come from a very good place. But working and living in a country where volunteering is a big bucks industry run by unsavoury characters has made extremely weary of that type of activities.

  5. I quite agree with you. You certainly should not pay to volunteer. Having said that, it is often very difficult for certain institutions to recruit local teachers, even if they want to.

    Last Summer, I volunteered as an English teacher for an environmental organisation in Katmandu. I was teaching young professionals, who paid a small sum of money to do a four week English course. It was a great experience, and I don't feel that I took a local's job. I certainly did not give money to an industry, I did create bonds, but I believe they were strong ones, and not with poor children, and since it was a 4 week course and I wrote the curriculum, there was continuity.

    If you are interested, this organisation is called KEEP and they need volunteers in July and December for their language course. If you want more detail, PM me.

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