Intern Insights: Don’t be a tourist, tips for integration!

Posted on the 29th September 2017

Volunteering with Lattitude brings about many new and exciting opportunities to travel and explore a new country! To really enhance your volunteering experience it’s a great idea to integrate into the country and not be a tourist! Having volunteered in Tanzania two years ago, I would like to share with you my tips for integrating into a new culture!

Volunteer

The best way to integrate into a new community is to volunteer on a Lattitude placement! Volunteering allows you to live and work in a new country, share your knowledge and learn about a new culture!

Learn the local language

If you’re volunteering on a Lattitude placement where the language is not your native tongue, the best way to integrate is to learn some of the local language! You certainly don’t have to be fluent but learning the basics and some key phrases goes a long way for integration! Why not try to learn the basics before you go online or through books and then ask people to help and teach you when you’re out there!

 Get involved

The best way to get involved in a new community on a Lattitude placement is to join local clubs, sports groups and participate in community events! Volunteering in Ghana?  Football matches are a great way to get involved in the community! You’ll make lots of new friends and be seen as a true member of the community!

Spend time with your hosts

Whilst travelling with your fellow volunteers and new friends on a Lattitude placement is really exciting and important, it’s also a good idea to spend time with your host family! If you are volunteering in Ecuador you will learn a lot about the community and culture of the country from your host family!

I found going to church with my host family every Sunday was extremely important as that was the culturally acceptable thing to do in the community and my family appreciated me spending time with them! You could also help them with traditional household chores such as collecting water from the local well if you are in a more remote setting!

 Try the local food and dress

Eating the local food is a great way to integrate into a new culture as it shows a willingness to adapt to the culture…and you’ll get to try some tasty food along the way! Dressing appropriately for the country and specific community you are living in is essential for integration and not being seen as a tourist! In many of the countries Lattitude work in it will also mean getting to rock some funky patterns and colours!!

Explore the hidden gems

Volunteering in Fiji? Of course you want to go and see the main tourist attractions but why not explore some of the hidden treasures with people from your community to get a real cultural experience! Showing an interest in community culture is a fabulous way to integrate!

Could you challenge yourself to live and volunteer in a new culture? Take a look at our 2018 programme spaces here.

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