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"Voluntourism"

Recently Brook Wilkinson came and stay with us at Journeys Within. She was writing a story about “voluntourism” for Conde Nast Magazine and wanted to do some research. We had a wonderful time hosting Brook and also showing her the language schools and our other Journeys Within Our Community projects.  She wrote an incredible article about the recent trend of volunteering while traveling, and we are proud to share it with you.

Here is a section of the article by Brook: “…I left Cambodia without the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders. For once I stayed at a first-class hotel in the developing world and didn’t feel some shame at my good fortune. As Journeys Within president Brandon Ross put it, “You may not be able to change the world, but you can change lives.” Just as important was the faith my visit gave me in JWOC. The ideal voluntourism program aims to both make use of travelers’ time and earn their future support. After watching the staff—Americans and Cambodians—work so diligently, I knew that whatever money I could give them would be well spent.”

Please go to http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=12200 to see the article in its entirety.

Below are a few pictures from Brook’s stay.

(Top: Brook volunteering at the language school. Bottom: a photo of Angkor Wat taken during her helicopter ride).

Laurette's Volunteer Experience at Wat Chork

This past February, Dr. Laurette Poulos Simmons volunteered to lead a week long ESL Workshop for the Journeys Within Our Community Language School Teachers. All 12 language school teachers attended, learning how to create dynamic powerpoint presentations and engage their students in many activities. “I was so interested in her teaching technique and how she explained the lessons to us. All the lessons were simple and easy to understand for the second language learners”, said Chorm Ley, one of Wat Thmei’s English teachers.

One of JWOC’s newest language school teachers, Sann Tola also said, “She had given us the experience that is very important for our job as English Teachers and that also we had lacked before. I am most interested in her methods of how to get the students’ attention in the lesson.”

With the generous sponsorship from Laurette, Chamm Sela, a teacher at Wat Chork, will be attending the annual Cambodia TESOL Conference in Phnom Penh in 2009. Laurette is excited for Sela to attend.

posted by Melissa 4/21/2008