Volunteering in the developing world: the perceived impacts of Canadian youth

Volunteers who travel abroad on short-term (three- to six-month) assignments represent a growing trend in international development work. Many of the short-term volunteers abroad employ funds earmarked for poverty alleviation and development. This article examines the perceived impacts of international volunteering in the developing world of 50 Canadian youth. The findings demonstrate an awareness of modest and, at times, negative effects in international development. The primary focus in the youth reflections was on personal growth as a positive impact; thus raising questions about the goals and desired outcomes for international development funding for volunteer abroad programmes.

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