Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

VolunTourism is exactly how it sounds: A voluntourist is one who plans a vacation around community service. Usually trips like these take you to exotic, beautiful lands—ones you’d usually visit to lounge around in sun, or ones you may never have considered visiting otherwise. Voluntourism gives you a chance to feel you’ve contributed while on vacation, but is that feeling only that—a feeling? Here’s what the proponents and critics have to say:
Proponents Say:
While we all want to avoid sounding like the ‘western cure,’ you, as westerners, do possess some valuable, transferable skills to the developing world. Namely, you’re an expert in western culture and English. As the world becomes more interconnected, cultural understanding becomes more important for economic development. That being said, it’s also more important for YOU to understand other cultures, and voluntourism will teach you more about culture than sunbathing by a pool.
**For more info on VolunTourism: http://www.voluntourism.org/
Critics Say:
Remember what I said about cultural understanding? Well it’s also central to the critic’s argument. As westerners, we are not experts on the culture of the developing world. As a result, voluntourism does not always have the intended life-enhancement for local peoples. In fact, it often does the opposite: sometimes it’s as little as poking are heads where they’re not want, sometimes as bad as propping up fraudulent organizations. Whether you support volunteerism or not, you should take time to research the organization you plan on volunteering with.
**For more info on potential problems: http://matadornetwork.com/change/why-you-shouldnt-participate-in-voluntourism/
An Altruistic Alternative:
Looking to make a difference in the world? Why not play it safe—act locally! There are causes equally as pressing state-side—causes that are also less culturally complex. Why not work to stamp out poverty right here in Detroit? End urban famine volunteering on an urban farm or in a food bank. You could promote as much economic development by removing blight in Brightmoor as buying a plane ticket to Africa. Consider local volunteering different kind of voluntourism–one with day trips instead of hotels, cars or buses instead of a planes. We can guarantee your experience will be just as life changing in Detroit as it would be in a foreign country!
**For more info on local volunteering in Detroit: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?r=msa&l=49270
**Want to volunteer in Detroit with MercyWorks Intl? Contact volunteer@mecryworks.net
What are your thoughts on volunteerism? Let us know in the comments!

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