If you're tired of the usual sunfilled leisurely getaways and are interested in a different kind of vacation – consider the volunteering vacation. One can now choose from lion rehabilitation in South Africa, wildlife care in Australia, community support in Thailand to working with orphans in Mongolia to name but a few options.
This is made possible due to local organizations around the world that are fully or almost fully subsidized in developed countries which allows them to include volunteers from around the world in their various projects.
GOECO is an organization which offers the traveler an opportunity to travel and see the world while incorporating social activism in short and long-term projects such as environmental and wildlife preservation, working in orphanages, providing humanitarian aid, ecological tourism etc.
The organization, which was founded four years ago, is the only Israeli member group in an international network which offers volunteer experiences in thousands of programs in over 50 countries covering five continents. Israel is among the countries which host volunteers.
"An overseas volunteer vacation renders a visit to such expensive destinations as Western Europe, Japan and the US an accessible option and worthwhile in all aspects: financially, culturally and socially," explains Jonathan Tal, manager and founder of GoEco.
"In exchange for parting with 170-300 euros one can participate in a volunteer project lasting from a fortnight to several months in France, England, Austria, Iceland, Japan, the US and other countries, which also includes accommodation, food, professional guidance and occasionally recreational activity such as hikes and participation in local festivals," he added,
Tal also stressed that such vacations are suitable not only for young travelers but to older ones as well, explaining that some projects in Europe are suitable for the whole family. "An average family can spend the summer's vacation in Europe and do something useful as well as enjoyable and satisfying together, without going into debt," he explained.
Projects according to personal taste
Participating in volunteer projects is also a good way to start off a long trip in countries with a different language and mentality since the volunteer gets a chance to get accustomed to local traditions and culture before carrying on alone.
One can find projects around the world according to personal taste. If you wish to visit Iceland you can join a three-month long project as a guide/manager of short-term volunteer projects (fortnight each) in the eastern fiords region.
n Japan travelers can volunteer in a project aimed at preserving water sources and cultural exchanges at a cost of 170 euros per two weeks including accommodation and local culture events.
Sagi Itzkovitz who volunteered in a lion rehabilitation project in South Africa said, "When you incorporate activism in your trip you have 10 times more fun."
:Photo Credit :Jonathan Tal
From GoEco archive