Is this voluntourism?
No. We do not engage in voluntary work. New Lens Travel flips voluntourism on its head by sending people to learn from locals instead of parachuting in to help them. We recognize that locals are much better positioned to support their communities than we are. That’s why we focus on experiential learning by connecting our program participants to local storytellers and change makers.
New Lens Travel is critical of voluntourism and if you're unsure of why, please take a look at some of our favourite resources. We actively engage our participants in conversations about how we can be involved in creating sustainable impact.
Who can participate?
This program is open to anyone above the age of 18. We’re looking for participants who are socially conscious, excited about learning, and who want an alternative experience from the typical volunteer abroad trip.
Do I need to have specific skills to participate?
No. Since you'll be engaging in learning activities, your openness to learning, flexibility and adaptability are most important.
New Lens Travel leverages the lens of storytelling to create learning experiences for our participants. While media is at the foundation of many of our placements, we see it as a learning tool rather than an outcome and you do not need any media experience to participate in our programs.
Does it matter where I live or where I'll be traveling from?
Nope. We accept international participants to our program. Our pre-departure training is conducted online, so all participants will receive the same preparation regardless of where they’re located. Those in the Greater Toronto Area will have the option of attending the training in person.
What can I customize about my placement?
In our participant intake process, we’ll learn about your interests and what you're looking for in a placement as well as get a sense of your personality. This will help us arrange a custom placement for you with a storyteller.
Can I fundraise for my trip?
Of course. We recognize that program fees can be a barrier to participation and we encourage you to fundraise and reach out to any networks or community groups you’re a part of to help cover these costs. Contact us for fundraising ideas and tips.
What safety precautions are in place?
The safety of program participants is our top concern. We follow travel advisories and only offer placements in regions that are deemed safe and stable. Our field staff and the media professionals we work with also inform us about local safety information.
We require all participants to have mandatory vaccinations, medications and comprehensive medical insurance for the duration of their time abroad. Because our placements are located in cities, volunteers can expect to access quality medical care if needed.
We also have a trip leader on group trips to provide 24/7 support and act as an emergency contact. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed or homesick, your trip leader will provide support and help you make the most of your experience.
What are the costs involved?
Please visit our How It Works page, which outlines the cost of our current programs and what’s included.
If you're interested in a custom program, please contact us to discuss more.