More and more high school students have expressed an interest in participating in volunteering projects abroad, according to the results of a recently conducted survey. Projects Abroad, a group that recruits volunteers for humanitarian projects in developing countries, found that a greater number of high schoolers take advantage of opportunities to participate in such projects over their summer vacation.
The most popular option for students is the 2-week High School Specials, which are targeted directly at this demographic and allows students to broaden their perspective on the outside world, in addition to providing them with valuable extra-curricular credits for their college applications.
"Service work is becoming a standard part of high school curriculum, and many students are interested in performing this service work overseas," says Thomas Pastorius, Jr., Vice President of Projects Abroad. "Last summer we had over 650 high school students participate in our 2-Week Special programs and this year we are expecting almost 1,000. 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."
The High School Special also allows participants to interact with students from around the world, or, if they choose, to join a group of friends from back home who also select the same project. Projects Abroad is currently recruiting volunteers for over 40 different programs for this summer, including joining building projects or assisting in conservation efforts. The students have options to go anywhere from Jamaica, to China, to Argentina to Ghana.
Since its founding in 1992, Projects Abroad has linked up thousands of volunteers looking to make a difference around the world, beginning with programs based in former republics of the USSR and Warsaw Pact countries like Romania, giving participants an opportunity to teach English to the residents. The group expanded its operations outside Eastern Europe several years later, and now runs service work projects in over 27 countries.