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Zahara Heckscher's Bio

Contributing Editor and Columnist on Volunteering Abroad for Transitions Abroad

Zahara Heckscher
Zahara Heckscher


Zahara Heckscher is the co-author of a classic book on the subject of volunteering, How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas. Her career as a writer and social justice organizer is grounded in her work overseas: volunteering to plant fruit trees in rural Zambia and helping to build a medical clinic in Nicaragua.

Zahara is putting the finishing touches co-authoring a follow-up book titled "Learning Service: The Essential Guide for Anyone Considering Volunteer Travel" whose description and co-authors are on a website already rich in free resources, called

She is a contributing editor and columnist on volunteering abroad at Transitions Abroad. Her articles have been published in Community Jobs magazine and in the book Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy. Heckscher resides in Washington, D.C., where she completed her M.A. in International Development at American University.

Heckscher offers workshops about international volunteering and careers at campuses around the country.

A Review of "How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas"
How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas "Volunteering one’s time to improve developing communities overseas is by no means a new idea. But the domain of volunteer travel has changed immensely in the past 20+ years. While past volunteers had little alternatives to the government-run Peace Corps, now there are literally hundreds of independent organizations to choose from.

Joseph Collins, Stefano De Zerega, and Zahara Heckscher, all founders of volunteer organizations, have experienced changes throughout the history of volunteer travel. Thus they have produced a classic and perhaps the most comprehensive book on the subject, How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas. The “how-to” aspect of the title is well conceived. The book offers sound advice on how to choose a volunteer organization, volunteer independently, finance your trip, be an effective volunteer, and stay involved after you return. A large part of the book is devoted to an extensive index of profiled organizations, arranged by region, length of volunteer experience, cost, types of work, and special interests. Six years of research and many more years of immersion travel are testament to the values of reciprocity and social sensitivity that are inherent in these authors/volunteers." Sian Wu

"This remarkably comprehensive handbook is what so many of us have long been waiting for: it truly tells it like it is. After six years of research and many more years of immersion in their subject the authors seem to know everything about volunteering overseas and are generous and direct in sharing their knowledge. Anyone who has even considered volunteering abroad—whatever their age, interests, or abilities-—will read it with delight and appreciation." — Dr. Clay Hubbs, Ph.D., Editor and Founding Publisher (1977) of Transitions Abroad Magazine.
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