Vietnam Mission Trips Offer Volunteers A Chance To Make A Difference

By Deborah Smith

While many young adults prefer to spend summer vacations at the beach or enjoying rides at famous theme parks, others are opting to travel to countries in South America, Africa, and Asia to volunteer as teachers, medical assistants, and caregivers. Many find they get a great deal out of the time spent living among, working with, and getting to know people of different cultures, faiths, and customs. Vietnam mission trips are available starting at less than five hundred dollars a week.

Volunteers to parts of Asia, Africa, and South America have a chance to see first hand how natives in small communities live, work, and cope with everyday challenges like not enough clean drinking water and the lack of basic sanitation most Americans don't even think about. These excursions are very affordable, but the packages do not are not all inclusive. Volunteers must pay for their own travel expenses and insurance, any inoculations required, and spending money.

Volunteers do not need to be seasoned professionals to work in these communities. If you are interested in teaching, you can spend your vacation in a classroom helping a local teacher teach verbal skills and participating in some vocational training sessions. You may be called on to assist with English lessons as well. Many certified teachers who wish to volunteer are allowed to work independently in the classroom.

Those who are interested in environmental issues may be placed in areas where coastal and jungle conservation programs are being developed. Organic and sustainable farming operations need volunteers as well. Individuals who volunteer for these types of projects have to be ready to get dirty and uncomfortable in areas where the climate is hot and humid.

Conserving and protecting native species is an important area where many volunteers are placed. They may work with noted conservationists and learn the latest techniques being implemented to help improve and preserve fragile ecosystems. Domestic animals are often abandoned and roam villages and communities. Some volunteers work with local agencies to round up these dogs and cats and place them in shelters.

Individuals with artistic and musical skills can choose from a variety of vacation packages that give them a chance to share their love of the arts with native children. Volunteers often teach lessons during a part of the school day, and may also be called upon to give time to community centers as well.

There are also plans for volunteers who are interested in working with special needs individuals and the elderly. Duties can vary from teaching to physical therapy to personal hygiene. Some volunteers work in schools with several individuals at a time. Others may be asked to donate time at social services centers where older citizens need assistance with all kinds of activities.

Volunteers provide a vital function in many poor communities around the world. Where money and resources are scarce, these people fill a void. In turn, the volunteers learn valuable life lessons and gain a unique perspective on the world.

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