Lattitude: Volunteer Work Meets Travel

Hey everyone! A few weeks ago I got an email from Adam over at Lattitude, asking if I would consider publishing an article about their volunteer program. As you know, I am all about traveling, and also volunteering, so I thought I would go ahead and post this for them. From what I understand, they place people in open volunteer positions all over the world. Since I have no personal experience with their organization I am not going to tell you this is definitely for you, but if it sounds like something that interests you or maybe would interest one of your older teens, you should check it out. Without further ado, here is the article Adam sent me about their organziation.

Happy travels!

Kristin

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Lattitude: Seeing The World & Making It Better
We all like to make a difference. There’s something to be said about the person who lights up a room by entering it, or the fond memories we have of the kindness of strangers, who turned potential disasters into anecdotes for around the dinner table.

A particularly profound way to make a difference is by volunteering overseas, a hugely rewarding way for many young people to spend their gap year. In fact, volunteering overseas is commonly held to be the originator for the term ‘gap year’, said to be coined by volunteering placement experts Lattitude.
Since 1972, Lattitude (formerly GAP Activity Projects – see the connection?) have been helping young people between 17 and 25 make a positive difference to the lives of others. Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to travel throughout the globe, spending anywhere from three months to a year in foreign communities, teaching English, helping with healthcare or assisting in the development of communities.
Nothing frees the mind like travel, and with altruism at its heart, volunteering provides a richly rewarding way to see the world and immerse oneself in another culture. Lattitude offers placements in Japan, China, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia and more, but of particular note is the charity’s recent and passionate focus on the African nation of Malawi.

It’s appropriate that the flag of Malawi is a rising sun, as the nation itself is looking forward to a verdant new dawn. Since the historic inauguration of its first female head of state, President Joyce Banda, Malawi has enjoyed a renewed commitment to developing infrastructure, education and new opportunities for economic growth.

Lattitude have stepped in to help with that feat. Their volunteer placements in Malawi are currently ranging from teachers and healthcare assistants to conservation workers and community representatives, taking care of children with disabilities. As with all Lattitude placements, accommodation is taken care of on a volunteer’s behalf by the organization, meaning all you need to do is pack your bags, get out there and start making a difference.

Applications up until 2014 are open, but with the real work kicking off in January 2013, the first wave of volunteers are getting ready for adventure! The earliest placements have a deadline that ends on 30 September 2012, meaning those wishing to be among the first helping to shape Malawi need to act fast.
Of course, Lattitude offers plenty of other destinations to make a difference, for those looking to visit a culture and leave it in a better state than they found it. Why not go to Fiji and become a teacher? How about becoming a healthcare assistant in Japan? Embrace the wilderness of New Zealand as an Outdoor Activities Instructor, perhaps?

If the purpose of travel is to make memories and enjoy other cultures, volunteering offers that in spades. Few opportunities exist in which you can return home comfortably saying you left a community better for your presence, and Lattitude allows young people with a mark to make on the world the chance to enrich the lives of people in every corner of the world.

What could be more fulfilling than that?