If you’re looking for a cheap way to travel, and a cultural experience that will bring you past wandering in a country, hoping something significant in your life happens, here’s an organization that looks like a promising possibility.
I read about it in a travel blurb and then headed to the Web site to check it out. Bridges for Education is a short term program where participants teach conversational English in exchange for cheap room and board and a week of cultural tours at the end of the teaching obligation.
The premise of the organization is that, by using teaching English as a tool, tolerance and understanding between cultures is fostered. Originally set up to answer the need for English language acquisition programs in Eastern Europe, the reach has expanded to Zhangzhou, China.
One thing I like about Bridges for Education is that it’s a non-profit organization, non-religious, and it coordinates with other organizations like UNESCO. It also looks HIGHLY organized and well-thought out.
There is a balance between giving of your time and talents and being able to see the country where you’re doing your good works. Although, the trips aren’t free, the price seems doable–although you’ll have to hustle to find an inexpensive flight. The fees cover everything except travel insurance and the cost of airfare to get to the country. Once you’re in the country, you’re taken care of unless you go souvenir shopping. Admission to places during the week tour are also included. For more program info and locations, click here. If you find out it’s too late to sign up for this year, there’s always next summer.
Here’s a quote from the Bridges to Education Web site that captures the flavor of what the organization is about. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” –Mark Twain