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The GeoVisions Blog

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Measuring Innovation In Volunteer And Teach Abroad

on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Volunteer/Work Abroad Industry Updates
I'm reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, who defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.  I think we would all agree that changing currencies, wildly fluctuating airfares, political instability, a glut of competition in a small space are a few examples of conditions of extreme uncertainty.
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How Volunteer Abroad Reviews Are Supposed To Work, Part 2

on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Program Reviews Volunteer/Work Abroad Industry Updates
This Blog post (part 2 of 2 parts) was written by Steve Weddle, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Forever.  Steve Co-Founded Volunteer Forever after his volunteer trip to India.  The experience was life-changing.  Upon returning to the U.S. and realizing there are significant information and financial barriers that keep many people from volunteering abroad, Steve hatched the idea for Volunteer Forever.  There you can create a profile and start fundraising for your trip right away.  Find trips and review your experiences.
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How Volunteer Abroad Reviews Are Supposed To Work Part I

on Mon, Oct 01, 2012 By | Randy LeGrant | 0 Comments | Program Reviews Volunteer/Work Abroad Industry Updates
This Blog post (and the one that follows tomorrow) was written by Steve Weddle, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Forever.  Steve Co-Founded Volunteer Forever after his volunteer trip to India.  The experience was life-changing.  Upon returning to the U.S. and realizing there are significant information and financial barriers that keep many people from volunteering abroad, Steve hatched the idea for Volunteer Forever.  There you can create a profile and start fundraising for your trip right away.  Find trips and review your experiences.
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GeoVisions Wins The Work and Travel Video Of The Year

GeoVisions is so very proud of one of our Summer Work and Travel students from Malaysia.  And we were suprised at the WYSTC (World Youth and Student Travel Conference) conference last week in San Diego.  Abby, who hails from Malaysia had just won the Video of the Year award and US $2,000.  Her job was to produce a video along the theme of "Expand Your Horizons."  She did an amazing job.  Her video was judged by people all over the world.
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Is Voluntourism Really A Compromised Industry?

On 24 November, cnngo.com ran an article by Richard Stupart entitled " Voluntourism does more harm than good."  The tag line read, "Orphan-huggers create a market for orphans; well-builders take work from locals; and other things ethical travelers should know." I'm going to approach Mr. Stupart's article from two perspectives: He's right. But the focus really should be on "The result has been a boom in tour companies offering voluntourism opportunities in a wide range of destinations, catering to all levels of commitment." I have noticed that everyone is cashing in on Voluntourism (including the press) and I wish some great writer out there would do an article on the damage THAT causes.  Bugger the "goodie-two-shoes" articles. Those people are just there and will insert themselves into a situation abroad and at home because they simply have nothing else to do.  Resorts, cruise lines and hotels offer 2-3 hour voluntourism projects and call it sustainable tourism. Mr. Stupart sums it up nicely and as accurately as I've ever seen it put.  "There can be no easy decisions when attempting to weigh up how to volunteer, or whether to volunteer at all.  Nevertheless, there is a world of difference between ill-considered decisions taken for the purpose of stroking a traveler's ego, and subjective decisions to volunteer after properly considering as much of the moral and practical detail of your engagement as possible." For quite sometime, GeoVisions has provided a document, "Where Does My Money Go" in answer to that exact question by some of our volunteers.  And on many of our program pages, we actually provide a list of items that get paid with a volunteer's money.  This activity came with trying to be "all things transparent." How wonderful would it be if all of the responsible voluntourism providers (really, there are a few) wrote their own document explaining why volunteers participate on their projects and precisely (measured objectively) what good comes from it. How will your work be more beneficial than sending money? If you and your friends invested money in a project abroad (after doing research and interviewing project directors), would that be more sustainable? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how much of wanting to go abroad is all about your ego?  Or that you had horrible parents? Why aren't you voluntouring in your own country? Why are you taking a tax deduction on volunteering abroad? Why aren't you spending money in your own country, and giving up the tax deduction to pay your fair share? How much research did you do about where you're going and why you should even be there? Those are questions we have been asking ourselves here at GeoVisions over the last year.  And what are the answers? 
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