Learning Service

The essential guide to volunteering abroad

Want to help? First you must be willing to learn.

This year, over ten million people will go abroad, eager to find the perfect blend of adventure and altruism. Volunteer travel can help you find your place in the world—and find out what you’re made of.  So why do so many international volunteer programs fail to make an impact? Why do some do more harm than good? 

Learning Service offers a powerful new approach that invites volunteers to learn from host communities before trying to 'help' them. It's also a thoughtful critique of the sinister side of volunteer travel; a guide for turning good intentions into effective results; and essential advice on how to make the most of your experience.

This book is for volunteers and educators alike. If you’re wondering if volunteer travel is right for you; if you’re getting on the plane tomorrow; or if you’re trying to adjust to life as a returned volunteer—this is the book you need in your bag. 

Claire Bennett

Claire first volunteered overseas as a teenager in Nepal, where she now lives. Driven by an insatiable desire to change the world, she helped to found a rural development organization, PHASE. Confronted with the complexities of the aid world but determined not to become jaded, she shifted her focus towards what she believes to be the root causes of global injustice: the lack of awareness about development issues in the world. She was the UK coordinator of youth organization Development in Action, supported young people to take action on global issues with Global Youth Action, and coordinated a DFID strategy to embed a global dimension in classroom education. After volunteering with VSO in Cambodia, where she met Daniela, Claire now owns a training company in Nepal, works for US-based global citizenship education company Where There Be Dragons and freelances as a development education consultant.

Joseph Collins

Joe’s teenage experiences volunteering in Latin America and the Philippines led to a lifetime of learning, writing, and lecturing about the impact of US policies on the lives of the world’s impoverished majority. He is co-founder of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First); a Guggenheim Fellow recognized for his work on issues of inequitable development; and a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at the University of California Santa Cruz. His books include Food First, World Hunger: 10 Myths, Chile’s Free-Market Miracle: A Second Look, No Free Lunch, Philippines: Fire on the Rim, and Aid As Obstacle. Collins has been a consultant in Africa, Asia and Latin America to UN and international non-governmental organizations. He lives and surfs in Santa Cruz, California.

Marketing & Publicity
  • Authors available for interviews, podcasts, articles, consulting, etc.
  • website: http://learningservice.info/
  • daniela's ted talk on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYWl6Wz2NB8