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Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World    by Charlotte Hindle & et al order for
by Charlotte Hindle
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Have you ever wondered about taking a volunteer vacation? Ponder no more. Start with Lonely Planet's Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World. Inside, advice on varieties of international volunteering is regularly interspersed with personal accounts of individual experiences. Color photos of volunteering locales enrich the text.

This small handbook starts with an overview of international volunteering, explaining why so many individuals take this option to 'Think globally, act locally' on 'holidays, during gap years, on career breaks or upon retirement.' The authors emphasize the importance of researching carefully to 'find a volunteer program that works both for you and for the host community.' And they address the thorny question, 'Is International Volunteering the New Colonialism?'

Major sections cover Choosing Your Volunteer Experience, Practicalities, Organized Programs, Structured & Self-Funding Programs, Religious Organizations, Do-It-Yourself Placements, Coming Home (dealing with reverse culture shock), and Start Your Own Charitable Project. I liked the emphasis on Ethical Volunteering and on questions to ask yourself as well as potential organizations, as well as the broad coverage - across styles of volunteering, skill levels, and options for different age ranges.

If you're ready to put your own time on the line and act locally to help others, then Volunteer is the right place to start, providing comprehensive guidance on alternatives to consider and pitfalls to avoid.

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