Elephants, Buddhist Monks and Community – All in a Day’s Work for a Volunteer
A well-earned break from the rat race or after hellish exams is sometimes called for and the options available are incredible. From Asia and Europe to Africa and Central and South America the conservation research or community projects are all- encompassing. Take a long hard look at what’s available as not all gap year volunteering programs are for everyone.
Here are some of the things you can get up to in Asia, Africa and South America:
South America – Sports and the Community
Teach Sports in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica often teachers are overstretched and physical education isn’t a compulsory part of the school curriculum. There are some great programs which allow gap year volunteers to organise and lead sports lessons at schools and community centres. This gives disadvantaged children the opportunity to play sports and learn team skills.
This is a great gap year volunteering opportunity for volunteers who want to improve their Spanish language skills whilst being immersed in the local community.
Community Development Internship in Mexico
On the language theme there are internships for volunteers who wish to work with children in Mexico and want to improve their Spanish. Often these programs offer Spanish tuition before and during the program. You will be part of a team which offers a safe and fun environment for children to play and learn.
Africa – Dolphins and Teaching in Rural Schools
If a dolphin conservation project in the Shimoni Archipelago sounds like heaven, then look out for a volunteering in Africa project researching the behavior and populations of several species of dolphin. There is plenty of time to learn about different marine projects in the Indian Ocean and it’s perfect for diving enthusiasts as it’s the ideal place to see tropical fish and reef.
When considering volunteering in Africa you can’t decide whether to do community or conservation work, in East Africa, there are options to do a bit of both such as assisting in research on wildlife and teaching in rural schools, this helps raise awareness of conservation projects to local people.
Asia – English, Elephants and Community
Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand
Usually, when working with elephants in Thailand it is about reintroducing them into the wild after they have been rescued. You will work with the local people to help them learn English in return they will teach you about their heritage with the elephants and help you build a greater understanding of these beautiful creatures.
Volunteer with Buddhist Novice Monks in Laos
One of the most incredible places to spend a gap year is in a city called Luang Prabang. It’s UNESCO protected and is famous for its Buddhist temples and monasteries. When volunteering with novice monks you will be teaching English as a foreign language in this beautiful setting in northern central Laos.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the gap year volunteering programs available but hopefully they have inspired you to take that well-earned break from studies.
Author Bio: Philip Mennell is a British blogger who is mostly based in Spain. He has completed more than ten different volunteer abroad programs and is passionate about travel.