Any tips on volunteering abroad with a child? DS, almost 8, is in Spanish immersion, and I'm thinking ahead and dreaming of a future service trip wherein we (1) use our Spanish and (2) volunteer for a few weeks during a summer (I'm a teacher). For example, I would love to work in a school or orphanage. We also love animals very much and would love to do something along those lines. I appreciate hearing of any of your experiences or resources you are aware of. Thank you!
I just wanted to say that that would be an amazing experience for him! There are a lot of "pay to volunteer" experiences available around the world but I am not sure if they have age restrictions. Often you can find smaller NGO's by doing an internet search- for instance "Animal rescue in ---- " and maybe contact them directly. That would allow for a more authentic experience, perhaps. I lived in India for two years and that is how I found some amazing volunteer opportunities. If you do it alone (not through a volunteer-tourism company) you can donate more money directly to the cause you're helping.
I lived in India for two years and had a few amazing volunteer experiences, one in particular- an organisation was mentioned in a national newspaper for the work they did, I tracked them down and I spent 2 weeks working at their orphanage- they didn't ask for a donation whatsoever and were not used to foreign volunteers. I stayed off-site and was able to donate a usable amount to them because I didn't use a go-between.
My boys are still very young (five and two) but I am also looking forward to exposing them to other cultures through volunteerism abroad. It's great that your son already speaks Spanish. That will make it easier on him but culture shock is still very real so I wouldn't over schedule.
Good luck! Hopefully someone will have some actual resources or experiences to share.
You could check out Cloud Forest School in Costa Rica. There is also a volunteering program for teachers in Guatemala that my DH went on, but I can't recall the name at the moment. I'll try to find it.
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"