If you’re looking for a volunteer experience in Asia, you may want to consider the Lao People’s Democratic Republic as your destination. The unique blending of the Laos culture with community-building, volunteer work may allow you to enrich the surrounding environment and yourself at the same time. Unforgettable life experiences could await you as you devote your time and energy to volunteering abroad in the Laos! Read below for more information on Volunteer Abroad in Laos programs.
Why Volunteer Abroad in Laos?
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic hosts an assortment of volunteer programs. There may be one that lines up with your interests! You could lend your support to the people of Laos through programs focusing on language education, childcare, construction and renovation, and conservation. In return for your service, Laos opens up many opportunities to explore. In your off hours, journey into the dense jungle, boat down the vast river systems, or wind through the streets and markets around your new home. With so much to discover, you may find yourself applying for a second program!
What Might Life Be Like When I Volunteer Abroad in Laos?
While you may be heading to Laos to contribute your time and energies, you could also experience the wonders of the country! Take the time to dive deeply into the culture that surrounds you. Eat the food, dance to the music, and learn the history! Immerse yourself in the Thai language and get closer to your new Laos neighbors. The jungle could be right outside your door, begging for adventure.
Here a few things you might get to experience during your time in Laos:
It’s food: Laos food is known for being fresh and light. It is often compared to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Meat and fish are dinner time staple and are often steamed or grilled. The Lao people also enjoy an abundance of vegetables and herbs. Traditional Lao food is often served with sticky rice as a side dish - be prepared to eat a lot of it!
Below are some popular Laos dishes you should try:
- Khaipen is a crunchy snack made from dried, freshwater algae. They’re often flash fried and served with chili paste – think of it as the Laos version of chips and salsa!
- Khao Soy is a hearty soup made with ground pork and tomatoes. This dish is often accompanied with fresh watercress. Watercress is commonly grown throughout Laos.
- You may be familiar with a bowl of Pho. Originally from Vietnam, this soup is now very popular in Laos. Pho is a light soup full of roast meat (usually pork), noodles, lime juice, and chilies.
- Tam Mak Houng – perhaps better known as papaya salad – is a light dinner side. As the name says, the salad often contains papaya, garlic, chili, sugar, and fish sauce (for salt).
Laos food has also been influenced heavily by French cuisine. It is not uncommon to stumble upon a baguette or croissant when out looking for a bite to eat.
It’s culture: Located in Southeast Asia, Laos is a landlocked country surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China. Just as there are many cultural influences, there are many different religious groups in Laos as well. However, a good portion of the native population are practicing Buddhists.
Natives of Laos often emphasize maintaining positive social relationships. This manifests itself with most being highly respectful in social situations or greeting passersby with a friendly handshake. Return the favor and say “hello!” to everyone you meet.
It’s sights: There are a good deal of sights to see while in Laos. Below are a few popular options.
- Pha That Luang is a golden religious monument erected to honor Buddha. Legend has it that a breastbone of Buddha is entombed inside.
- Vieng Xai’s underground city was built into the subterranean caves during times of unrest in Laos. Whole schools, hospitals, and markets may be found in this hidden city.
- Laos is known as “the Land of a Million Elephants,” so taking an elephant ride seems like an obvious choice! Check out the local scenery and enjoy the ride.
- The Buddha Caves, Tham Phun and Tham Ting, house ornate statues of Buddha built into the natural rock formations that the Ban Pak Ou river created.
How Do I Find a Perfect Volunteer Abroad Program in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic?
Volunteering abroad in the Laos could be a great choice for those looking to make a difference in a community and explore a vibrant culture. Ready to begin your search for a perfect Volunteer Abroad in Laos program? Browse the links below to find a program that meets your specific area of interest. Once you find a program you like, click the name or “LEARN MORE,” to view details or reach out directly. Your journey is only beginning as you start your search for a volunteer abroad in Lao People’s Democratic Republic program!