|Transitions Abroad Magazine September/October 2005 Vol. XXIX, NO. 2|
Issue Focus: Educational Travel Overseas, Volunteer Travel Abroad, Working Abroad, International Careers. Regional Focus: The Balkans, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East
In Every issue
Abroad at Home
The Resourceful Traveler
The Senior Traveler
Back Door Travel
Working Abroad and International Careers
From the Editor
In the July/August issue we profiled Peter Knowles, a 77-year-old who founded the nonprofit organization Hearts Helping Hands to provide supplies and equipment to farmers in Tanzania after he volunteered there with Global Service Corps. When the article was published, a reader contacted him to say how thrilled she was to learn of an organization that accepted volunteers her age.
Few seniors seem to realize how many volunteer opportunities are available to them, and how much they have to offer host communities—both in life experience and professional experience. If you are a senior interested in volunteering abroad, you may want to read this issue’s featured section on volunteer vacations (page 34). You might also revisit the July/August 2005 issue, in which Senior Travel editor Alison Gardner highlights more than a dozen organizations that offer ever-more-popular senior-friendly volunteer vacations. (Peace Corps, for example, has seen a rise in volunteers over age 50 from 1 percent to 6 percent in just a few years.)
A common discovery by older and younger volunteers alike is that when serving communities they gain more than they give. Volunteering is, after all, one of the best ways to meet local people and immerse oneself in the host culture. Volunteers routinely work alongside community members, share meals, and experience their day-to-day life.
If you’ve always dreamed about volunteering overseas but are not sure how to go about it, read the advice of Doug Cutchins and Anne Geissinger in “Making the Most of Volunteer Vacations” and “Volunteer Vacations to Fit” (pages 35 and 37). They help you ask the right questions for finding the organization best suited to your needs and interests, and they cover the three stages of a volunteer experience itself.
If this issue’s firsthand reports, as well as those archived on www.TransitionsAbroad.com, spark your interest, Bill Nolting’s volunteering abroad resource section (page 34) will provide you with all the tools you need to start planning.
The younger generation is fortunate to have much guidance in arranging volunteer experiences. As Hannah Kane points out in “Serve and Learn”, many study abroad providers offer structured service-learning options, which combine academic study with community service. Students’ experiences in and outside the classroom reinforce each other in a way that builds deeper academic understanding, greater cultural awareness, and hands-on skills, while making a positive real-world impact on a community.
Courtney Peters and Travis Stalcup cite an example of music and Spanish major Caitlyn Bodine, who enrolled in a music therapy service-learning project while studying in Santiago, Chile. Caitlyn provided valuable help to children with mental and physical disabilities, and she also came away with a career goal: to be a music therapist.
For many recent graduates and students like Caitlyn, as well as professionals seeking a career change, volunteering or interning abroad is an opportunity to gain experience that can lead to a future career or enrich a current one. As Jean-Marc Hachey, author of The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas, emphasizes in his interview with Dr. Clay A. Hubbs (page 12), building international skills and gaining knowledge on "how to interact with people from other cultures in a cross-cultural work setting" is critical to finding overseas employment.
The good news is that in today's shrinking global community you are more likely than ever to find a job abroad. For starters, you can explore the options described in this issue’s work abroad articles. You can also get help from Bill Nolting's extensive resource section on international careers, job listings, and short-term paid work and internships abroad.
In the January/February issue, Work Your Way Around the World author Susan Griffith will update her annual resource section on the key short-term employers worldwide.