Increasing Number of High School Students Interested in Volunteering Abroad Survey Finds
Rather than lounging on sunny beaches with friends or honing skateboarding skills in the park, teenagers are increasingly choosing to spend their summers volunteering in far-flung communities across the globe, according to a recent survey.
The survey was conducted by Projects Abroad, a leading international volunteer organization. It found that in recent years, more high-schoolers have been opting for short volunteer abroad opportunities during their summer break.
Their reasons for doing so include gaining international experience as well as valuable extra-curricular credits for college applications.
Projects Abroad data showed that one of the most popular options was the 2-week High School Special, which is tailored to young people between the ages of 16-19 who are preparing for college and want to broaden their perspective.
The High School Special also has the benefit of giving its participants the opportunity to interact with students from other countries during their volunteer experience.
Vice President of Projects Abroad, Thomas Pastorius, Jr. commented that “Service work is becoming a standard part of high school curriculum, and many students are interested in performing this service work overseas.”
“These projects are designed for groups of students to make a lasting impact on the local community in a short time. Students are drawn to the opportunity to care for local children, repair houses, paint schools, promote human rights, protect fragile ecosystems, and have fun while doing it.”
Previous research has shown that taking a gap year before college to volunteer or travel abroad can have significant benefits for students, but shorter volunteer abroad opportunities may provide similar results by widening young people’s interests and enabling them to interact with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Projects Abroad, which was founded in the early 1990s as an English-teaching organization, recruits thousands of volunteers from all over the world yearly to volunteer their time in developing countries.
In previous years the summer volunteer programs structured for high school students have attracted over 1,000 young people.
This year, some of the volunteer programs available to high school students include Care and Community in India, Conservation in Kenya, Law and Business in China, and Sports in Ghana.