Transformative Travel


Gabriella Poradek, staff writer

       A common question that has begun to become more relevant now that it is April is, “Any plans this summer?” With summer right around the corner, many may come to wonder what they can do with their 2021 summer time. When summer comes, many people tend to think of traveling, and wild vacations and seeing family as being important, but something else to consider is volunteering.  Volunteering might not initially sound overwhelmingly fun; however, what if you could volunteer while traveling? Whether in or outside the US, there is a vast variety of volunteer programs for adults and even teens.

      That means that right now, as a high school student in 2021, you could sign up for a volunteer program and go abroad. 

If this peaks your interest, I would recommend looking into GVI, a trusted and widely used organization. It is for 15 to 17 year old’s wanting to volunteer abroad. Blending volunteering, cultural and language immersion, skill training, and adventure activities, GVI lasts from around two weeks or longer. GVI is such a great program because it helps young people gain a better understanding of the world.

       In total, there are 18 GVI projects some of which are the sea turtle conservation and cultural immersion teen volunteering in Thailand (which is around $3085), Himalaya Trek and Nepal immersion teen volunteer program (which is around $3395), and the Cistercian rainforest exploration and cultural immersion teen volunteer (which is around $4235). Don’t let the prices scare you away. There are more than enough opportunities in both scholarships, specifically for volunteering abroad, and fundraising.

     With GVI there are individuals, group volunteer programs, and gap year programs. For groups, they provide school, university, corporate, and youth groups. GVI has been managing volunteer abroad programs since 1998 and 10 volunteer programs since 2012, so they have lots of experience.

     Because it is 2021, the GVI has modified their health and hygiene protocols. They require COVID-19 testing 72 hours prior to leaving for the GVI program and offer a Health and Hygiene pack. Other things they take into consideration is safety, parent concerns, and commitment. If at any point in your experience you want to go home, GVI let you cancel anytime. They really care about making their volunteers feel safe and secure with a variety of other factors that are worth reading about on their website.

     GVI is a great way to take the passion of traveling and giving it meaning. Teens, and people in general, that volunteer in a different country than their own gain so much from their experiences. They learn life skills that are not found in classrooms; they build global connections and contribute to long-term passive impacts in the area they volunteer for. GVI believes that doing good and caring about others doesn’t have an age limit. Traveling and volunteering shouldn’t either. So why not develop teamwork, confidence, and independence while helping people? Why not open your heart to the lifelong commitment of volunteering by starting it off with an adventure?