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Transitions Abroad Magazine September/October 2006 Vol. XXX, NO.2

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Lending a Hand: Volunteer Vacations Gain Popularity
More than 55 million Americans have taken some form of a volunteer vacation and nearly twice as many are considering doing the same, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Margaret Jaworski looks at the growing phenomenon of “voluntourism,” which combines short-term volunteer service with the traditional elements of travel and tourism.

Special Guide
Living, Working, and Volunteering Abroad
Whether you’re interested in an international career or developing life and career skills while making a difference through volunteer work, this issue’s resources, compiled by William Nolting and Volker Poelzl, will help you fulfill your goals and make a successful long-term transition abroad.

Living Abroad Resources
     Living Abroad by Country and Region
     Staying Connected
     Health and Safety Abroad
     Key Expat Websites

Working Abroad Resources
     International Careers
     International Job Listings
Teaching English Abroad
     Teaching Abroad: K-12 and University Level
     Short-Term Paid Work and Internships
     Worldwide Study and Internship Programs
     Volunteer Opportunities

Immersion Travel
The Balkans, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East
Volunteer in Armenia Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian
Digging in Jordan Genevieve Gardner
A Summer Trip to Siberia Joshua Hartshorne
Literary Seminars in Russia Margaret Piton
Post-Siege Sarajevo Daniel Kramb
Budapest Baths John M. Edwards
Journalism Workshops in Prague Dana Owens

Living, Working, and Volunteering Abroad
The Lure of Foreign Lands Volker Poelzl
Moving to the Newly Independent States Bridget Goodman
Befriending and Learning from Cairenes Michael Nation
Distance Learning Abroad Elizabeth Harrin
Be a Working Nomad Anthony Page
Work in American Samoa Sally Brodeur
Work as a Freelance Foreign Correspondent Jason Motlagh
Moving Overseas with a Disability Elizabeth Harrin
Editing Jobs Abroad Rose Aslan
The Albanian Alps Institute Steve Cook
Work as a Volunteer Travel Adviser Heidi Resetarits
Surviving as an Aid Worker Matthew Bolton and Emily Welty
Choosing International Development Jobs Christopher Sacco
Voluntarios de la Esperanza Lindy Drew
Volunteer Adventures Hannah Allen-Yeager
Volunteering in Ireland Ryan Lancaster
Making the Most of the Peace Corps Brianne Goodspeed


Back Door Travel
Eastern Adriatic 101 Rick Steves

International Career Advisor
International Resumes Jean-Marc Hachey

The Resourceful Traveler
The New Eastern Europe Tim Leffel

The Independent Traveler
Nova Scotia: The Enchanted Land Rob Sangster

Senior Travel
Underground Tourism Alison Gardner

Local Encounter
Save Sea Turtles in Mexico by Michele Peterson

Living Abroad in Costa Rica
Answering Costa Rica's Call Erin Van Rheenen


Information Exchange


Abroad at Home
Beyond Kafka Erica Dreifus

Carlo Petrini: Slow Food Clay Hubbs

First Person
Imams on the Edge Jessica P. Hayden

Travel Tips
Low-Fat Language Learning Tim Ferriss

Surviving Your Homecoming Dwayne Lively

From The Editor

Our regional focus in this issue is typically on the Balkans, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, but notably absent from the current lineup are articles about traveling to the Middle East (with the exception of an excellent piece on joining an archaeological dig in Jordan). Sadly, this is not surprising, as the region was already a tinderbox before the summer’s tragic flare-up of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The peace President Clinton worked toward in the Middle East now seems as remote as ever. Yet, from the content of this issue I see rays of hope. Articles on the post-war resurgence of countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina remind me that even in the wake of the most cruel ethnic cleansings humanity has the ability to restore itself.

The volunteer experiences throughout this issue also illustrate the tremendous power of individuals to make a difference: You need no better example than Matt Bolton and Emily Welty’s article on the tireless dedication, resilience, and optimism of aid workers to help improve the world’s most desperate situations. Other articles, such as Steve Cook’s account of starting a small community-based nonprofit to help improve children’s lives in Albania, illustrate anthropologist Margaret Mead’s famous quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

To empower us with the information we need on our paths to making the world a better place, contributing editor Volker Poelzl has added "Resources for a Global Consciousness" to his living abroad guide. In the introduction to the guide, he writes, “Taking time to learn about other cultures and seeking common ground amid all the differences are among the best steps we can take in building … a more peaceful future.”

For further useful information on how to make your international transition successful, I recommend you visit the recently expanded Living Abroad section of You’ll find a comprehensive offering of country-specific content, resources, and links.

If you are planning to uproot anytime soon to join the approximately 8 million Americans currently living and working abroad (according to The New American Expat by William Russell Melton, Intercultural Press, and excluding military personnel), you’ll find no better preparatory resources than those compiled and annotated by work abroad editor William Nolting. In this resource section, and in the articles throughout this issue, you’ll also find information on long-term volunteering (a month or more) as an alternative to work or as a stepping-stone along your career path. In the next issue, Transitions Abroad November/December, we’ll turn our attention to short-term volunteer vacations and in Transitions Abroad January/February to short-term jobs.

Sherry Schwarz

Transitions Abroad

Publisher and Editor
Sherry Schwarz
Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Web Content Editor
Gregory Hubbs
Nashima Gokani
Advertising Manager
Kate McGrail
Office Manager
Patricia Bolognani
Editorial Assistant
Jessica Hayden
Victoria Churchill

Contributing Editors
William Nolting (International Education and Work)
Susan Griffith (Work Abroad )
Jean-Marc Hachey (International Careers )
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering Abroad)
Volker Poelzl (Living Abroad)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Rob Sangster (Independent Travel)
Ron Mader (Ecotourism and Latin America)
Deborah McLaren (Responsible Travel )
Alison Gardner (Senior Travel)
Edward Trimnell (Language Immersion)
David Clemmons (Voluntourism)
J. Mara DelliPriscoli (Lifelong Learning)
Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson (Gap Year)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Bill Mohan (Teen Travel)
Kathy Widing (Travel Books)
Michele Scheib (Disability Travel)

On The Cover
A woman at a vineyard in Armenia’s fertile Ararat Valley displays the grapes she is harvesting and preparing for market.
Most of these grapes are cut and boxed at the vineyard and shipped to Yerevan for sale.
Photo by Robert Kurkjian © 2006
Robert co-authored the article Volunteer in Armenia. You can view more of his photos at

Mission Statement
Transitions Abroad
is the only publication dedicated to work, study, living, and immersion travel abroad. Its purpose is the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community.

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