Bringing awareness to the benefits of service travel

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cultural Integration with Volunteers in Asia

A Group of Japanese Exchange Students

Image source: Viaprograms.wordpress.com

The history of the relationship between Asia and North America is impossibly complicated and rife with ideological conflict. With the fastest growing economy in the world, China is a major global superpower and yet, the perception of America in China isn’t what it could be. I recently heard a fantastic piece on This American Life called “Americans in China.” It explored the complex relationship between American ex-pats and their Chinese neighbors. How Chinese can an American become? What products and emblems affect our cultural perceptions (Anime, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty, MacDonalds, etc.)? What barriers are there between the two cultures? How is the American democracy perceived by Chinese citizens? Clearly, these two cultures are going to become more and more intertwined as each relies more heavily on the other. All of Asia is part of this globalizing equation—the tightening of our ties and the cultural interplay that must inevitably follow.

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Volunteer Expeditions: Travel Inspired, Return Empowered

Volunteer Expeditions Building a House

Image source: Causes.com

Volunteer Expeditions strives to gain an understanding about the rights and needs of those in poverty, the dignity of life and the necessity to reach beyond ourselves in giving.

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GoEco: Volunteering for Ecological and Humanitarian Projects

GoEco Volunteering in the Desert

Image source: Goeco.org

Ecological concern is almost a prerequisite for existing in the world in 2012. Everywhere we look we see environmental disasters—irresponsible manufacturing, drilling, fracking, and dumping—that are imperiling our precious and delicate world every single day. It feels like an insurmountable obstacle when all of the things we use every day—the cars we all drive, the energy that fuels our homes, airplane fuel, the products we buy—all contribute to our landfills, to polluting our oceans, and to damaging the delicate balance of our climate. I was talking to my younger sister about this the other day and she said, “what can one person really do?” It was such a sad statement coming from an idealistic, smart, and savvy young woman. One person can do a tremendous amount of good: in small ways and in large ones. But we’re not a nation of individuals. We are a team. What we really need is to unify our people towards a common goal—saving the planet and her people.

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The Ripple Effect: Amanda Brown – Author, Photographer, and Volunteer Extraordinaire, Part Two

Amanda Brown and Ogoh Ogoh Performer

Image source: Amanda Brown

Welcome to part two of our Ripple Effect interview with Amanda Brown, a photographer, writer, lauded volunteer and founder of the AWE International Good Works Foundation. Enjoy!

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The Ripple Effect: Amanda Brown – Author, Photographer, and Volunteer Extraordinaire, Part One

Amanda Brown at Ceking Rice Terraces where Eat Pray Love was Filmed

Image source: Amanda Brown

Welcome back to our new interview series, The Ripple Effect. The Ripple Effect explores the emotional impact of volunteer travel and its lasting effect on people’s lives. Today we’re speaking with Amanda Brown, a photographer, writer, lauded volunteer and founder of the AWE International Good Works Foundation. AWE, funded by the proceeds from Amanda’s children’s books, provides books, teaching supplies and volunteer teachers to under represented, marginalized communities around the world. Amanda’s mission: to touch lives with happiness; to push herself beyond her means; to explore, experience and share; and always to give back. This is part one of our interview with Amanda Brown, author, photographer, and volunteer extraordinaire! Check back in tomorrow for part two.

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