It’s time, once again, to make those summer plans! Have you thought about another VISIONS summer?

Although the first VISIONS summer often feels like a life changing experience that can’t be repeated, many teen volunteers return for a second, third, and even fourth summer. On another go-around, the individual ingredients that make up a VISIONS Experience —meaningful service work, cultural immersion, community building, and adventurous exploration—still exist, but the overall experience is very different. There’s a new group of students and leaders, a different culture, new landscapes and traditions, and different service projects for communities that have very different needs.

Choosing the next program location often depends on what types of projects, landscapes, and cultures you’re interested in. Here are some ideas to help you choose your next VISIONS summer adventure:

  1. Live Among Another Culture. You may wish to delve even deeper into a culture with which you are already familiar — for example, Peru to Ecuador or Alaska to Montana. Or maybe you’d like to experience a completely different culture in a new and unique location.

  2. Expand Construction Skills. Each program includes construction projects, but we build using different techniques depending on the location. In our Spanish immersion programs, for example, it’s mostly cinder block and mortar or adobe; in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, you’ll learn carpentry skills and power tool use from staff carpenters; and in Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma), it’s a mix of construction from thatch to brickwork and carpentry.

  3. Work with Children. Because we live and work in the heart of the communities, all VISIONS programs have interaction with neighborhood kids. But some programs include service projects that are more focused on kids, including the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Montana Northern Cheyenne, and Guadeloupe.

  4. Improve Your Language Skills. With four Spanish programs (Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ecuador & Galápagos), many teens try different locations to further their conversational skills while experiencing different communities and landscapes. Or try our French program in Guadeloupe.

  5. Test your Comfort Zone. The newer Southeast Asian programs in Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) are further from home and are tantalizing to those up-and-coming world travelers.

  6. Get to Know Another Community in the U.S.  Service work abroad is an eye and mind opening experience, but there are cultures within the U.S. that are equally unique and in need of our help. VISIONS  community service programs in the U.S. include Alaska, Mississippi, Montana Blackfeet, and the Montana Northern Cheyenne.

  7. Try an Ocean Experience. VISIONS programs in the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, and Ecuador & Galápagos include some beach time along with island and ocean explorations.

  8. Make New Friends. Special bonds come about through VISIONS. Although spread around the world, many alumni stay in touch long after their summer. Each program is sure to have an eclectic group, but shared goals and dreams.

  9. Visit Famous Sites & Landmarks. Work in Cambodia one summer, where excursions include bike rides through rice villages, and then another end of the spectrum, like Alaska, where you go ice climbing and backpacking. While all programs are rooted in service work, weekends and after work hours are spent exploring some of the countries most exciting cultural sites. Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the Buddhist capital of Bagan in Myanmar.

  10. Become a Well-Rounded Global Citizen. By being immersed in a culture—making friends with neighbors, sharing meals with families, playing games with neighborhood kids—there’s a greater understanding of the struggles that exist around the globe, and more of a drive to become involved in making the world a better place.

Check out all of the VISIONS programs, and choose your next adventure today! Programs are filling fast!

VISIONS in The New York Times