5 great places to volunteer in 2013
Do something different in 2013 ─ see the world from a new perspective. There’s perhaps no better New Year’s resolution than an intention to travel the globe. And, whether it’s for a gap year or an extended break from work, few experiences are as life-changing as volunteering in a distant land. Here are some suggestions for five of the best volunteer destinations.
The world’s seventh largest country, India has something for everyone. It’s a sprawling, bustling, beautiful and epic country, steeped in thousands of years of history and with a deeply rich and diverse culture. It boasts a way of life unlike any in the West. Its status as a rapidly expanding and developing country make it an ideal choice for a travelling volunteer, whether in conservation care, teaching or, if you’re interested in medicine and healthcare, nursing abroad.
Burma, or Myanmar as it’s also known, is a country on the rise. For years it was tarnished with reports of human rights abuses by its ruling military junta. However, in response to sanctions and world-renowned Burmese campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi its conditions have dramatically improved. Since democratic elections were held in 2011 a tourism boycott has been lifted and outsiders are now free to explore this stunning south-east Asian landscape.
You needn’t leave Europe to experience something different or challenging. Romania lies in Eastern Europe on the Black Sea and boasts a rich mix of cultures. Having lived under Soviet rule until 1989, the presence of which is still felt, the country has had to adjust to a capitalist society. Much of the population teeters on the poverty line, but there is a strong folk tradition and a broad array of volunteering opportunities available to travellers.
A popular destination for travellers of all kinds, Morocco has come to be recognised as one of Africa’s jewels. Its historical reputation as a geographical crossroads – between Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Atlantic – remains as strong as ever, and you’ll find an extensive array of cultural influences, in everything from its cuisine to its architecture. Enjoy the busy markets of Marrakesh and Rabat, the ancient imperial cities or take in the breathtaking environments, from the harsh deserts to the snowy Atlas Mountains.
Possibly the most famous of the Caribbean islands, Jamaica boasts idyllic paradises on virtually every beach. But volunteering is the best way to see the real Jamaica and get past the tourist veneer. Get involved in agriculture and farming projects, take up teaching and, while you’re there, you can teach yourself the famous Jamaican patois. Whatever kind of volunteer experience you’re looking for, you can visit the Projects Abroad UK website to find some incredible options for 2013.