As the founder of Unearth the World, I am constantly getting asked about what makes us different from other organizations that help travelers volunteer abroad. What is Unearth the World’s secret sauce?
My answer is threefold:
1. Holistic approach to the volunteer
We believe that pairing a traveler with an international nonprofit is important but that it is just one small part of Unearth the World’s travel process. We start by immersing our volunteers in a pre-trip Global Service Learning training curriculum to fully prepare them for the experience. Prior to the traveler’s departure, Unearth the World facilitates 5 thematic training modules in the form of emails and phone calls. Each module touches on different important topics and we have built in opportunities for critical reflection.
- Module 1: Reflection, Service Learning Plans, Global Service & Travel
- Module 2: Global Citizenship
- Module 3. Country specific information
- Module 4: Volunteer Travel, Service & Culture Shock
- Module 5: Worldview: Power & Privilege
After our volunteers return home, UTW works with them to continue to reflect on learning. In a post-trip call, we guide them through reflection and coach them on how-to continue to learn and make their abroad experience a part of their day-to-day life. We guide our volunteers to write their own “service plan” where travelers physically write down their plans for future Global Service Learning. We have even begun to pair volunteers with nonprofits in their own communities so they can continue to give back at home!
Why do we do all of this? We believe that this pre- and post-trip support is crucial and benefits both the volunteer and the communities they serve.
2. Financial transparency
This one is simple. We keep costs low – much lower than most. And every single dollar is accounted for. Check out our “fees” tab on every Unearth the World project description to learn exactly where the money goes.
3. Community-driven, reciprocal partnerships
Unearth the World is intentional in the way we form partnerships with international organizations. We take great care to ensure that our partners get just as much (if not more) out of our collaboration as we do. We start by approaching organizations that are community driven. By this, we mean that the projects are initiated and organized by the local community – not by outsiders. Then, we ask over 50 questions to confirm that the partnership is needed, wanted, mutually beneficial and appropriate. After all of this legwork, we go and visit and volunteer with each international organization so that we can build trust and understand what our travelers will experience.
So – what makes Unearth the World special? Simply put, we care. We are highly personalized. We are always learning. And we strive to be absolutely transparent in all things.
Are you ready to volunteer abroad with us? Learn more about our projects and reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).