Family Volunteer Vacations: Beyond the Classroom

Recall the days when you were a child, questioning everything around you and developing your sense of self. “Those were the days” many people like to say. But imagine if you had the opportunity to travel with your family to a far-flung corner of the world, coming face to face with the local communities. How would that have changed your outlook?

In a recent article in Conde Nast Traveler, Claire Shipman describes the importance of exposing children to the outside world. Turn off the technology, open up their eyes and unveil the world around them, argues Claire. Volunteering abroad together as a family allowed her to take her children outside of their suburban “bubble” and engage with a community of people in a culture unlike their own.  Volunteer vacations for families raise questions that are great conversation starters.

  • “Why do people eat with their hands here?”
  • “How do locals get water from the well to their house”
  • “Why don’t all students have pens and notebooks in this school?”

These are all questions a child might ask that may seem quite simple from a distance, but have much deeper roots. Travelling as a family opens up these conversations and creates a unique opportunity to share in the curiosity of your children.

A family volunteer abroad trip is also the perfect way to combine much needed time off with a strong educational component. Claire talks about the valuable life lessons that her children took away from even a short volunteer stint. These include empathizing with others and learning about the value of simplicity. Seeing the other side of the coin, as many put it, truly changes one’s outlook.

If you are looking for your next family vacation, why not combine relaxation with a fun and meaningful experience? Discover Corps offers family friendly volunteer vacations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, just look for the “FF” next to the dates. Who knows, your kids may thank you for this someday.

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