Vietnam Mission Trips Offer Volunteers A Chance To Make A Difference

By Deborah Smith

Not all young people are interested in spending their summers after graduation at the beach or at some elaborate theme park. Many of them are curious about the world and want to learn more about different cultures by doing something constructive and positive when they travel abroad. These young adults may not be certain what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but they are sure giving back to the global community will be part of it. For them volunteer Vietnam mission trips are a great way to start.

Volunteer vacationers get a chance to see the world in a very different way than those who travel to foreign countries as tourists. They have a chance to live and work in communities where the residents may have to walk for miles to reach clean water and live in huts with none of the modern conveniences most Americans never think about. Most plans start at around three hundred dollars for a one week stay. This price doesn't include airfare, travel insurance, spending money, or vaccinations. It does include training, accommodations, and support personnel.

Volunteers don't have to have advanced degrees to make a difference in the area they choose to visit. Those who are interested in teaching for instance, can help a local educator in the classroom with literacy, English language, and vocational training. Licensed teachers may be able to teach independently.

Those who are interested in environmental issues may be placed in areas where coastal and jungle conservation programs are being developed. Organic and sustainable farming operations need volunteers as well. Individuals who volunteer for these types of projects have to be ready to get dirty and uncomfortable in areas where the climate is hot and humid.

Conserving and protecting native species is an important area where many volunteers are placed. They may work with noted conservationists and learn the latest techniques being implemented to help improve and preserve fragile ecosystems. Domestic animals are often abandoned and roam villages and communities. Some volunteers work with local agencies to round up these dogs and cats and place them in shelters.

Individuals with artistic and musical skills can choose from a variety of vacation packages that give them a chance to share their love of the arts with native children. Volunteers often teach lessons during a part of the school day, and may also be called upon to give time to community centers as well.

Volunteers are needed to assist with elder and special needs care and education. In addition to teaching classes, individuals are enlisted to assist with physical therapy sessions and personal grooming. Families often have few resources when it comes to caring for family members with special needs. Some communities have social services centers where people, who can't care for themselves, gather during the day. Volunteers help man the centers and assist the clients.

These types of volunteer excursions are not for everyone. It takes individuals with empathy, vision, and compassion to help in underdeveloped regions of the world. For those who volunteer, the experience and the friendships made last a lifetime.

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