United Planet Announces All New Budget Volunteer Abroad Programs in Mexico and Italy

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Mexico and Italy are popular vacation destinations, not only for their climate and cuisine, but also for the vast array of historical and architectural wonders housed on each of their shores. Follow the footsteps of ancient civilization: traipse ruins, coliseums or bull rings in Italy or Mexico, two countries made great by former empires--the Romans and the Aztecs. As a volunteer, rather than a tourist, you can experience a different side of Italian or Mexican culture.

To respond to changing needs during the recession, United Planet announces the launch of two new budget volunteer abroad programs in Mexico and Italy. Budget volunteer Quest prices, starting at $795 for one week and an additional $200 per week up to 12 weeks, offer a 39% discount off the average cost of a one-week Quest.

These special budget volunteer Quests were developed to offer a two-for-one opportunity during this unprecedented global recession. First, they offer a way for individuals to strengthen their expertise with international experience during a tight job market, and second, they offer a way for individuals to experience a dream destination at a time when many are foregoing international travel.

The budget Quest option is a pared down version of United Planet's popular programs. Pre-departure training, insurance, volunteer accommodations or home stays, all meals and orientation are still included. Airfare, vaccinations, and visa fees are additional. Budget Quests do not include guided tours of local sights, however, but volunteers are free to explore the host country at their leisure.

Budget volunteering in Mexico:

Mexico, with an estimated population of 109 million people, is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Despite being considered an emerging power, Mexico still suffers from uneven income distribution. United Planet volunteers assist social service organizations dedicated to poverty alleviation and improving child development through holistic care.

Care for Children at an Orphanage in Puebla
Volunteers teach English in the mornings and help the children with their homework in the afternoons. The children come from families battling addiction, single parent homes, or households with limited access to economic resources. Staff and volunteers provide for the children's educational and material wellbeing. Volunteers stay with host families in the community.

Spanish Language Immersion Option (4 - 16 weeks):
Volunteers staying four weeks or longer in Mexico can choose to add 15 hours of Spanish language classes per week to the first two weeks of their Quest for an additional $175.

For more information on budget volunteering in Mexico, please visit: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-in-mexico

Budget Volunteering in Italy: Culture, Cuisine, and Community

As a volunteer in Italy, you have the chance to experience this vibrant country through its dramatic sights and romantic vistas: be it the canals of Venice, the fashion of Milan or the ancient history of Rome. More importantly, you have the opportunity to give to the community by providing social services to those in dire need: the elderly and the disabled.

Volunteer at a Community Center in Villa Maria
At a community center supporting people with disabilities in Villa Maria, an hour outside of Verona by train, volunteers organize activities with the community members such as swimming, a music lab (educational and creative lab), creative workshops, and cooking activities. Volunteers share a double room in an apartment with other volunteers and/or staff.

For more information on budget volunteering in Italy, please visit: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-in-italy

About United Planet:
United Planet is an international non-profit organization with 501(c) 3 status, based in Boston, MA, which offers volunteer abroad programs from one week to one year in 50 countries worldwide. In 2008, United Planet was selected by CNN as one of only ten organizations for its "Be the Change" initiative. For more information, please visit: http://www.unitedplanet.org

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Amanda Massello
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