The Center for Global Education oversees academic, credit bearing international experiences. Simmons students looking to volunteer abroad, may do so independently and on their own accord.
We strongly encourage students to consider and research the following questions as they are selecting an international service learning opportunity:
- Is this an ethical organization? How does this program engage with the community? Do they ask the community about their needs and build programming accordingly or vice versa? Does the organization permit uncredentialed medical care, orphanage volunteerism, or other activities that are harmful to individuals or communities?
Such activities as direct engagement with children in residential facilities/orphanages is strongly discouraged, as they generally do more harm than good. There are a variety of other ways to engage with children, including after-school programs or teaching.
- What is the role of the volunteer position? Will there be volunteer training, or other extensive on the ground volunteer support? Do I have the skills needed for the volunteer work? Does it contribute to a sustainable project that will have long term effect? Do I understand the larger context of this project/ service in this space?
Understand exactly what the daily tasks are of the opportunity, so you know what to expect upon arrival. This way you will be able to evaluate if you have the proper skills and if this is an organization that is focused on the community, rather on the volunteer experience.
- What are the costs and fees of this opportunity? Where are the funds going - to the community directly, or to the operations of the organization placing you in the opportunity, or a mix of both?
Generally there are three types of international volunteering structures: placement companies, which function as travel agents, organizations which work directly with local non profits and direct contact with organizations on your own. The two latter opportunities tend to circulate funds within the community while placement companies use the funds for their operation and profit.
- How is health, safety and security addressed by the organization? Is there travel health insurance provided or available as part of the fee? How about vaccines and visa processes- are particular vaccines or a visa needed for the program? Is the program location on the no travel/high risk travel list?
The key part of any international experience is understanding the risks and processes in place to mitigate them. Selecting a reputable organization, with a robust pre-departure support and health and safety plan is a large part of that process. Programs should not be selected in countries which are politically/socially unstable.
Organizations and Resources
Below you will find international service organizations and resources. Please note that the organizations below are not Simmons programs, and prior to selecting an international service experience students must research each organizations carefully.
The following resources are recommended to look into to continue your search for what type of Global Service Immersion volunteer experience is right for you.
- U.S Department of State Travel Advisories
- American Medical Student Association : International Health Opportunities
- Guidelines for Premedical and Medical Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad
- What to look for in Global Service learning by Comañeros Inc. Nicaragua
- Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world.": A TED talk
|Work the World: Healthcare Voluntary Internships (Nursing Students Only)||Several locations|
|Dzielo Pomocy Dzieciom||Poland|
|Mustard Seed Communities||Several locations|
|International Partners Mission||Several locations|
|Re-Member Org||Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota|
|Cultural Connections and Volunteers||Several locations|
|Be Like Brit||Haiti|
|Center for Working Families||Ecuador|
|Hand in Hand Ministries||Several locations|
|Public Health Brigades||Several locations|
|Habitat for Humanity International||Several locations|
|Chinese Language Institute||China|
|The Mirror Foundation||Thailand|