|Transitions Abroad Magazine September/October 2003 Vol. XXVII, NO. 2|
Back Door Travel
Alternative Travel Directory of Programs
Work Abroad: The Best Resources William Nolting
Program News & Notes
From the Editor
Regrettably, I have yet to volunteer overseas, but one day when I get back out into the field I hope to. At that time I will keep in mind the insights I gleaned from reading this issue of Transitions Abroad, particularly the advice of Joseph Collins and Luke Wendt. In their article "What It Takes to Be a Highly Effective Volunteer" they tell volunteers, "Doing what is necessary often means letting go of grandiose plans and undertaking basic tasks." Having an open mind and not building up our expectations certainly would help to make for the fulfilling experiences that other volunteers—like Jim Hall who took photographs for NGOs in Cambodia and Carole Katz who taught mathematics in Ghana—write about in this issue.
We regularly focus on volunteering in the September/October issue because this type of cooperative and supportive global outreach remains essential to cross-cultural understanding. Since 2001, the first International Year of Volunteers, the U.N. has developed and maintained the World Volunteer Web, now an essential site.
Not only is volunteering an exemplary way to be an ambassador of goodwill (an idea that cannot be emphasized enough in this time of fragile world affairs); it is also an ideal way to live with locals, learn a language, and immerse yourself in a culture.
While lending a hand is sure to bring rewards to visitors and hosts alike, if money is tight, work abroad is also a healthy alternative for getting to know a place and its people. Whether you’re after a short- or long-term experience, you are sure to find plenty of ideas and resources in this issue’s annual Work Abroad Resources directory compiled by Bill Nolting.
Before leaving home, don’t forget to read Rob Sangster’s article on etiquette. In "Best Foot Forward" (page 64) he speaks to the fact that no matter how or where we choose to travel one given is the importance of learning the "local ground rules"—a very good reminder, and one we will follow up on in Transitions Abroad’s November/December issue, with its focus on community tourism.
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