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How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas Paperback – December 31, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (December 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014200071X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142000717
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Collins is the co-founder of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First). A Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize, he is a frequent lecturer and a consultant to the United Nations, specializing in evaluations and development of community organization.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
It is well written, very personal and engaging.
Dr. Daniel Hahn
It is a great resource for anyone considering volunteering abroad.
Mary Olivia
I would have felt very lost without this resource..
ecd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Robert Reid on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have a good heart, are curious about other cultures, and are new to volunteering, the opening section of this book may come as a bit of a shock.

First, volunteering isn't free. Most volunteer placement organizations require substantial fees (usually $1,000 plus) to arrange for your food, accommodation, and provide basic training.

Second, altruism, when applied to international development, isn't always helpful. There's a beautiful example of this in Chapter 3. You imagine that three volunteer groups from around the world come to Washington DC to help the city develop and get past its problems of violence and poverty. The first group is from Zambia- they identify the problem as a shortage of churches, and lack of respect for elders. The second group is from the Amazon- they propose knocking down skyscrapers to add more green space. The third group is a Rastafarian youth organization- they criticize the focus on power and money, and help DC by training politicians to grow ganja.

Similarly, the best intentions of American volunteers aren't always welcomed or even potentially helpful abroad unless they are developed in the context of the host culture.

From this point, the book describes the practical logistics of volunteering abroad- from fundraising to support your trip, learning about your host country, preparing for your travel, and ultimately being an effective volunteer.

The bulk of the book focuses on organizational profiles of volunteer organizations. These are extraordinarily helpful as critical analyses of many such organizations, and should help you navigate through the bewildering maze of opportunities.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By ecd on January 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I did extensive research before going overseas to volunteer, and this book was my bible, beacon, guiding light, whatever you want to call it. It answered questions I didn't even know I had, and opened my eyes to the various ways I could accomplish a goal that, at the beginning, I thought had very few options for accomplishment. The appendix is incredibly thorough, and that alone could be a great resource. This book changed my ideas about how I wanted to volunteer, and in the end I completely restructured my plan and had a wonderful experience abroad. I would have felt very lost without this resource..
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eric Pape on March 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
A lot of people seek to broaden their personal horizons overseas, and some of them hope to make the world a better place while they do. Unfortunately, many are unable to find their way through a maze of humanitarian and international organizations of differing quality, to the ones that can really satisfy those goals. Ultimately, this undermines the volunteer's self-selected mission. With that in mind, "How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas" is a tremendous resource and a real contribution for any volunteer who wants to make the most of their time and energy, both for the needy and for themselves.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paarul Chandra on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I just returned from a volunteering project to rural Kenya and I would not have been as prepared as I was without this book. This book is invaluable, it not only prepares you before you leave, it also helps you while you are abroad. The descriptions of the different organizations were very accurate. I defenitely recommend this book to anyone going abroad.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne on March 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a treasure. It is a good book for anyone in the age group of about 18-75 of any ethnicity, religion and socio-economic background. It addresses safety, among other issues, for women travelers. This book includes more than information one could find on the Internet about particular opportunities and organizations in any region of the world. It includes in depth studies as well as information for the person considering volunteering overseas to examine his/her motivations and come up with criteria to apply to choosing an organization as well as a location. In addition, this book discusses issues surrounding language barriers and how to overcome the obstacles as well as use the volunteer opportunity to become fluent in another language. This book makes a wonderful gift.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Daniel Hahn on March 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I take teams of people on international work projects every year. Presently I have a team going to Bosnia. The material presented in this book is insightful, accurate, practical and worth absorbing before working cross culturally. It is well written, very personal and engaging. Hats off to the contributors, authors, editors and publisher. It will get a lot of use.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Jacquier on February 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
The voice of experience speaks clearly in this essential resource book. I keep a copy laying out on my desk at the university and at the high school at which I teach, right where students will be able to see it. Invaluable advice and a wealth of otherwise hard-to-uncover organizational connections are immediately available here, right at the potential volunteer's fingertips. Years of overseas work have taught me many of these same lessons the hard way- a person would be wise to acquire that same knowledge via this volume, and in so doing become that much more effective and learn that much more while making a genuine contribution and enjoying the experience abroad. Volunteering overseas builds perspective and character like nothing else could, and this book is the perfect introduction to having that significant period of one's life be a genuine win/win experience!
PS: Model United Nations program advisors will want to have a copy ready to hand, available for their students. I am going to check into having Dr. Collins come to my university as a guest lecturer.
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