Most of us love traveling because it allows us to see unique things, meet new people and gain all sorts of different experiences. It is through these experiences that we get to develop as people and get a new perspective on life. However, other than traveling for pure pleasure, you can also consider volunteering during your travels which will not only help people and animals in need but it will bring you satisfaction as well. Take a look at some of the top destinations where you could go to really make a difference.
Experience life on a Native American reservation
If you would like to help preserve the cultural identity of Native Americans, you can choose to volunteer at one of the reservations that require additional services. Some of the things you could contribute include maintenance and construction, painting houses and tending to gardens. Then, if you would rather work with people, you can provide assistance to the elders of the community by taking them to grocery stores, parks, museums or by helping them around the house and preparing meals. If kids are more your forte, you can supervise field trips, read them books or play various games. Furthermore, if you have a medical or social services degree, you can provide them with assistance during some crisis or even give advice or run workshops to share your knowledge. For instance, you can consider the Blackfeet Indian Reservation or the Navajo Nation.
Contribute to Ghana’s development
You have another great opportunity to help people by visiting Ghana. This colorful African nation offers plenty of volunteer options that are all aimed at supporting the local communities and developing the quality of life. For example, if you like working with children, you can help out in nurseries, schools and orphanages. Teaching kids to read, playing with them and providing them with essential assistance will be very fulfilling. Moreover, you can also work in hospitals; even if you have no experience, you can help out with some basics. Finally, lending a hand when it comes to building schools is always welcome.
Help the conservation of Australian wildlife
In case you would rather volunteer with animals abroad, you definitely need to consider going to Australia. By opting for this path, you will get to work with rangers at a local NSW wildlife park and be surrounded by the wonderful wildlife. The park participates in rehabilitating animals that have been orphaned or injured and you will help with their care. What is more, there are breeding programs that help increase the survival rate of certain rare and endangered native animals. Other than caring for the animals, you will also be involved with cleaning and maintaining their enclosures by mending fences and fixing up various things around the park.
Save the sea turtles in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is an amazing destination for students looking to travel and volunteer during their gap year. The cost of living in this gorgeous Central American country is not super expensive and it offers plenty of opportunities. Seeing as how they have so many stunning beaches, it is no wonder that turtle hatchlings happen all year long. However, the sea turtle population is in decline due to poaching and pollution. This is where volunteering can play a big role. You can help with the conservation of sea turtles by joining one of the many programs available and patrol beaches, man hatcheries and assist in rehabilitation centers. In addition to sea turtles, there are also conservation centers that work toward protecting sloths, jaguars and butterflies.
Work at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand
Millions of travelers visit Thailand every year and unfortunately, a lot of them opt for riding on an elephant’s back during this time. While it may seem like a fun activity, most people are unaware of how these gentle animals are being treated. Luckily, there are many organizations working to protect elephants and encourage proper and healthy treatment. You will get hands-on experience by taking care of rescued elephants in sanctuaries that allow them to roam around huge pieces of land. What is more, retired elephants can no longer be returned to the wild and they require human assistance for daily care. When looking for an organization to work with, make sure they are reputable and treat these animals properly and ethically.
Try your hand at archeology in Israel
Israel offers a wide variety of volunteering opportunities from marine and wildlife conservation to teaching English and building eco-friendly lodges. However, you can also get a first-hand look at all the history that this country is famous for by sifting through many archeological sites. No previous experience is needed, which is great for everyone who wants to learn something new. But keep in mind that this is tedious and difficult work including a lot of digging, shoveling and hauling earth.
These six locations are all unique in their own way and you will surely find a way to help if you decide to visit them. Try something new if you want to be challenged or rely on your skills and really make a difference in the world. Bon voyage!