International Trip/Volunteer Coordinator

"I work for a company that arranges specialized travel for groups of adults and youths who are motivated to travel and help in the communities they are traveling to. My job involves organizing paid and volunteer staff to manage these groups as they travel to exotic parts of the world to engage in the local communities in an effort to learn and also enrich the communities and the travelers themselves. Some of these trips are to help build housing, some are to work in wildlife refuges, while others involve helping to distribute aid to disadvantaged areas or communities."

Salary Range:

$34,000 - $48,000

The Tip

Travel, travel, travel! It’s one of the best educational experiences you can have.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Evidence-based Decision Making
  • Select appropriate trip recommendations for my clients

  • Provide appropriate resources for our volunteer travelers


Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Synthesize key themes from multiple sources regarding health and safety issues in the countries we work in
     

Knowledge of Human Behaviour
  • Able to relate to a wide range of individuals

  • Support clients to explore motivations, behaviour, emotions, thoughts and patterns behind why they want to do volunteer work abroad

  • Support growth and development

Sensitivity to how behaviours are shaped by circumstances, privilege, experience & attitudes of my clients

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Sensitivity to how communication is shaped by circumstances, authorship and intended audience

  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Write for a specific audience

 

Inter-personal Skills
  • Work with diverse populations

  • Empathetic
     

Intra-personal Skills
  • Able to manage stress

  • Calm during a crisis during travel experiences

  • Self-aware, able to manage biases regarding our clients and the individuals in the countries we work in

 

Additional Skills

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Intentional curiosity and thoughtful creativity

Self-motivated, independent, ethical

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology–Honours)

  • Travel agent certificate

 

I’ve always had a love of travel and a desire to help people. During the summer between my third and fourth year of my degree I enrolled in a six-week course to get my travel agent license. As it turns out this certification dovetails perfectly with my psychology degree and my job.

Employment Experiences:
  • I volunteered at a local wildlife conservation nonprofit, organizing worker exchanges with other similar nonprofits in other regions of Canada

  • During my fourth year I worked on an independent research project researching the stresses incurred when students travel for extended periods. This project was done in conjunction with our international education office on our campus.

  • I worked part-time as support staff helping organize and lead large group travel in Asia, Europe and Africa with an international education company

  • Spent a summer as a support worker for Habitat for Humanity in their Canadian office

 

I have a love of travel, animals and people. I’ve been very lucky that my employment opportunities, even those that were volunteer positions, have enabled me to pursue those things that I have a passion for. The amount I have learned and grown through these experiences can’t be quantified easily. They have all been amazing experiences that have shaped the person I have become.

Community Experiences:
  • I volunteered at my church helping organize weekend soup kitchens for the homeless every weekend for six years

  • I volunteered at the SPCA as a support person and dog walker

 

My volunteer experiences helped shape who I am today. Helping those who have been dealt a poor hand in life taught me compassion and understanding, and also enriched my life through all of the amazing people I was able to assist by giving them meals through my church. My love of animals led me to work at the SPCA and help animals waiting for placement in the community.

Contextual Experiences:
  • Living at home during my first two years of university was invaluable to me as I was able to draw on the support of my family during this transition period in my life

  • Once I moved away from home, I found it important to stay connected to my church, help people on the weekends and stay in touch with my friends and family

 

I was lucky to have a family and support system that enabled me to be a well-rounded person. The support I had from friends and family has enabled me to not only grow as a person, but also to see that not everyone has the advantages I’ve had.

Relationships:
  • For my undergrad honours thesis I had a friendly cooperative competition with another student who helped drive me to excel. She was fantastic, and I think we spurred each other on to bigger things.

  • The experience I had with my Psychology 1000 prof, and subsequent mentor, was very positive

 

My first exposure to psychology, in my Psychology 1000-level class was amazing. My prof really brought the subject matter to life and hooked me very quickly. She often spoke of her travel experiences and sparked the idea in me that I could combine my love of travel with psychology. My prof later became a mentor who helped guide me through my undergrad degree and I’ll always be grateful to her.