So we agree: overseas service is more valuable now than ever before — to lend a hand where asked. To show a different face of the United States than what people can see in films and newspapers. To change yourself in permanent ways, to learn another language/life. Citizen diplomacy at its best.
However: finding a reliable global volunteer experience can be a challenge — a volunteer org you can trust, where you know what will happen when that plane touches down, overseas.
Challenges come from lack of access to organizations, headquartered in distant cities. Or from knowing that pretty websites can make any organization seem legitimate.
How can you know for sure what you are getting yourself into?
Next week, you can meet dozens of international volunteer organizations at once. Meet representatives face-to-face who coordinate a range of volunteer projects overseas in a variety of communities.
Idealist’s Erin Barnhart will launch the second season of Idealist.org Global Volunteering Fairs in the following cities:
- Washington, DC (Tues., Feb. 3) at Google from 6 to 9 p.m.
- New York (Thurs., Feb. 5) at Barnard College from 6 to 9 p.m.
- Boston (Sat., Feb. 7) at Simmons College from 12 to 3 p.m.
The fairs will offer panel discussions and workshops on International Volunteerism 101 and Affordable Volunteering Abroad.
If you are like me and you don’t live in Washington, New York, or Boston, please take advantage of Idealist’s international volunteerism resources online:
- Resource center — which helps answer questions like, should you go it alone or with a group? and how do pay for it? and how do you translate your experience when you get home?
- Discussion forum — where you can ask questions and find out about programs you hadn’t heard of
- Opportunity search — local or international, for an hour or for a year
Next week The New Service will introduce a different international service corps each day in honor of the fairs, so check back for more.