To share some final thoughts on the topic (for now), I want to insert a paragraph from this Daniela Pap article:
And this gem of a quote by David Clemmons in this article:
“…what is yet to come, however, from a generation that has mixed its formative years with travel & voluntary service, the world has not even begun to realize.”
For my part, I think the biggest key with voluntourism and unlocking its potential is LEARNING:
- This series has looked at some of the arguments for and against – we can learn from that.
- When you actually participate in a voluntourism program, you can learn from that.
- You can learn from the program, but you can learn from the people in the country you are working with.
I personally believe that it should start with learning – with cross-cultural understanding an intentional goal of any program, incorporating training from the start; AND if you adopt a learning attitude from the get go (i.e. I’m here to learn from you and if I can help on the way, that’s great – rather than presuming you can help) that’s even better.
It’s never quite as easy as “add knowledge and stir,” but I really think voluntorusim will create new global connections and horizons that we have not even envisioned yet.
My inner EA perfectionist feels odd at leaving this series at No. 9….but I can deal with it knowing that the future of voluntourism is still being written 🙂
Do you have any thoughts on the future of voluntourism? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Previous posts in the Voluntourism Series:
Voluntourism Part 8: Learning, not length, matters most
Voluntourism Part 7: Volunteering, Voluntourism and Tourism – what’s the difference and does it matter?
Voluntourism Part 6: And now for some positives
Voluntourism Part 5: The economics of voluntourism
Voluntourism Part 4b: As I was saying…
Voluntourism Part 4: “Us” vs. “Them”
Voluntourism Part 3: Who benefits?
Voluntourism Part 2: Who? Why?
Voluntourism Part 1: What is it?