Change the lives of others around the world – and also change yours.
International Samaritan does up to 40 service immersions per year, based on group demand and in-country needs. In these trips, we focus on connection through service: We do jobs that specifically are chosen to improve the communities we’re visiting without removing jobs, and each day is dedicated to performing acts of service to the communities we’re entering. We also emphasize spending time with and working alongside the local community. Our approach is focused on fighting back against voluntourism.
We push against voluntourism.
On paper, voluntourism – traveling around the world with the goal of doing good – is an excellent thing. However, the voluntourism industry has been proven to create a lot more harm than good within the countries that are supposed to be helped by it. We see this, and we’ve fashioned our whole approach to push against it.
We do not do service trips for the sake of doing trips; we do trips for the goal of creating global citizens who will advocate alongside us for the individuals that they meet abroad. To do this, we:
- Speak to the communities that we’re working with to make sure that our volunteer activities are needed, relevant, and aren’t needs that could be jobs by other community members.
- Hire trip leaders solely from in-country both to create jobs and to make sure that volunteers can ask their questions to someone with a culturally relevant answer.
- Put our volunteers side-by-side with our Paso a Paso scholars to create a sense of global kinship and solidarity.
We want to create global citizens, both here and there.
Whether individuals across cultures are having lunch together to practice English or they’re together to build a classroom, we want to focus on building solidarity as equals through cultural exchange. We know that our trips do create advocates. Here are the words of several volunteers from previous trips:
I’m so happy that I went on this trip. The joy that people have in Guatemala is incredible. It’s bittersweet: When I went to Guatemala and I was serving people, it was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that happy again.
We did this exercise where we had to buy a week’s worth of groceries on $7, and it was absolutely eye-opening. It was really hard, and what I came up with wasn’t food that I wanted to eat. But that’s the reality for them. I get a Starbucks every morning that costs as much as their food for their whole family for the whole week.
Been on one of our trips?
If you’re back home after one of our trips and want to stay involved, join our alumni group on FaceBook! We’ll link you to other alumni, give you resources to keep serving, and keep you posted on the projects and people you’ve met abroad.
International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.