Voluntourism

I have really enjoyed this week in class. All of the reading material has been interesting, and I have enjoyed hearing everyone discuss their opinions on doing good abroad. Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the best way to help abroad is to invest in human capital abroad. Whether this is through donating money to an international organization or using your specific skill set abroad, this is the best and most efficient way to help abroad. I am baffled by the stories told in class like the one with the sleeping workers while the Americans were building the house. Also, the orphanages abroad where many of the children are not orphans, and they are preying on the money of people who are only trying to help. While I believe that it is important to help others, it must be done in a smart way. Before participating in any volunteer program abroad, I will do my research.

Also, I was shocked when the “Voluntourism” article that we read described volunteering at an orphanage in Africa to be “sexy.” This only reinforces the fact that many who go abroad to volunteer are doing it for themselves, not those who they are supposed to be helping. It is fine to do volunteer work abroad for self-fulfillment, but it is also important that we do not exploit a foreign culture or damage their economy. As far as I’m concerned, if I ever go abroad to volunteer, it will be for others and not myself. I’m sure that I will accumulate some sort of personal fulfillment along the way, but it will not be my main goal.

2 thoughts on “Voluntourism

  1. Hi Eva,
    Your blog is amazing! I really enjoy the setup and it’s easy to navigate! You are also a gifted writer: all your posts are eloquent and succinct. This post really stuck out to me, because the way you explained the concepts we learned in class really helped me to cement them in my head. By bringing economic vocabulary in, you helped me to see more clearly the connection between doing good abroad and the actual, long-lasting effects on the local economy. By “investing in human capital,” as you mentioned, we are able to give people a more long-term independence and livelihood, which is really important. Just out of curiosity, because I would also like to research volunteer work abroad, how will you qualify efficiency? By economic output, or the ratings we learned about in class, or by number of people helped?

    1. Hey Ciera! I think that I would qualify efficiency not necessarily by the economic output, but by the size of the overall improvement in the lives of the locals. For example, providing locals with skills would give them the opportunity to advance economically, while also not making the community dependent on the work of foreigners.

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