Skip the Beach for a Volunteer Vacation
Concerned for Mother Earth's future? Then Earthwatch Institute may be for you. The organization pairs real scientists with volunteers to work on finding solutions to the world's environmental problems. A rendezvous in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile, on the Easter (Rapa Nui) Culture Expedition starts at $3,750. This expedition allows you to work in beautiful landscapes surrounded by the Easter Island's western and northern coasts to search for prehistoric dwellings, gardens, livestock enclosures and agricultural fields.
In a different Earthwatch Institute trip, you can help scientists combat the main threats to the bottlenose dolphins of Greece on boat for about $2,350.
Earthwatch also offers several teen-specific programs for students, including a nine-day summer experience tracking wildlife in and around New York City, starting from $2,150. Or, track hyenas, cheetahs and more starting from about $3,000. Family-oriented programs are also available in the summer, including a Canadian adventure spent tracking Pacific Grey Whales.
People to People focuses on engaging its volunteers in discussions to enhance cultural understanding through the exchange of ideas and experiences. The organization was founded in 1956 by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Delegates of People to People have worked more 100,000 combined hours of community service all around the world and continue to help today.
Through informational meetings you will find out about volunteering abroad as a United States "ambassador." Upcoming summer programs are open to students in grades 5 to 12, including a 14-day tour of Japan and 20-day tour of Europe. Professionals are also invited to participate in trips, including a program for school administrators in South Africa this April and a tour of China and Tibet this May for nurse anesthetists.