In the past week, bulletin boards across campus have seen the addition of copious amounts of small green flyers advertising an opportunity for students to volunteer abroad. The Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE) organization is behind these flyers. This organization is dedicated to providing students with opportunities to travel to unique places around the globe and leave an impact on the people they meet. GIVE accomplishes this goal by arranging for volunteers to work with specific communities in promoting education and sustainable agriculture among other projects.

Ambassadors for the organization spoke with students about their past experiences volunteering abroad. Following this, they outlined the various goals and trips GIVE offers as well as fielding questions from interested students. 

“It was a completely different situation than I had ever experienced,” GIVE Ambassador Sean Hughes said of his 2016 trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar. “I knew I just needed to have an open mind.”

The trip Hughes chose to be a part of was one of many travel options for volunteers. Throughout his trip, he did volunteer work focused on building a school for local children by helping mix and lay cement. GIVE abides by the “work hard, play hard” motto, so the activities offered outside of school construction included sailing, an overnight safari and swimming with dolphins. Hughes valued the opportunities that each of these experiences provided to connect with other people. 

The organization also arranges volunteer opportunities in Nepal, Nicaragua, Thailand and Laos. The first project undertaken by the GIVE organization was the construction of a school in Nicaragua consisting of 15,000 repurposed water bottles, situated in an area where volunteers work today to rebuild homes lost to rising sea levels. In the hill-tribe villages of Thailand and Laos, volunteers help expand sustainable permaculture farming to provide an affordable long term food source. Travelers to Nepal teach English in local schools and rebuild homes lost to a 2015 earthquake. GIVE’s intended purpose is to utilize its volunteers to help communities wield their own resources and assets to expand and develop practices that are sustainable for their people. Along the way, the organization aims to “empower global citizens who will continue to ignite change worldwide.”

Students interested in travelling with GIVE can apply online at www.givevolunteers.org/apply and register and sign up. Dates for travelling are centered around winter, spring and summer break, and volunteers are able to combine multiple trip packages to determine the duration and activities during their time abroad. 

Stay tuned for other study abroad opportunities organized through the university that will be on display during the Study Abroad Fair in the SUB from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

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