The group on their Cambodia holidays

Volunteer ‘the right way’ with See Asia Differently

by | Feb 10, 2019

At See Asia Differently all of our volunteer opportunities are ethically responsible and always have the local people’s best interests at the heart of everything we do.

In recent years, volunteering tourism has gotten a lot of bad press and in our opinion, all for the right reasons. Many tourists come to Asia to travel and want to give back to the country that they visit, which is very honourable, but not always the right thing to do!

Tourists may think that popping into a local school and helping for a few hours or even a few days is actually helping; in some ways, it does a little. But in general, you’re not helping, and in all honesty, your short unstructured visit will most likely cause a detrimental effect.

We have seen first-hand of buses turning up outside schools with smiling, do good Westerners. They get off, go in making a fuss, play with the kids; teach them an English song and leave as quickly as they arrive. Then the next day an American bus, followed by a French bus and a Korean bus and so on; with each passing day, new people and nationalities bombarding the kids with a new culture and creating an unnatural and unsettling environment for the children to learn in.

Visiting Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia
Jane swimming in waterfall
Visiting the sacred Kulen Mountain

So how does See Asia Differently do Volunteering?

All volunteering should be arranged sometime in advance of your arrival in Asia. This is extremely important as we need to match your skills, interests and time frame with the organisation or school. But not only this we need to prepare the school/organisation and their current staff and pupils to your arrival.

hoping into a tuk tuk

We need to piece together a thorough program that progressively relates to what the children are learning. But the children you will be teaching also need to be prepared for any visit by foreigner volunteers. This process does take some time and will be carried out on your behalf by a See Asia Differently staff member.

This way you know that on your arrival to Asia:

– You will be welcomed with open arms.
– You and the school/organisation and the children know of your visit and are expecting you.
– You have a clear planned out schedule with lesson plans etc.
– You can set clear goals and have a clear agenda of what you want to achieve.
– You leave feeling you have made a real bond and a difference!

Dolphin watching in Kratie
Children of the pnong minority in Sen Monorom

If you’re thinking of volunteering either individually, with a group or with your school. Then get in touch with us today and let us plan your volunteering experience and make sure you are doing good in the right way!

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