Out of Isolation: Albania Rediscovered

Albania is a country rich in culture and diversity, and until recently, isolated from the world. A volunteer group traveling to Albania can expect to encounter friendly and warm people, different religious groups living in harmony and tremendous need – especially in the area of education. In partnership with local nonprofits, participants have the opportunity to create real and sustainable difference within this country that has been shut off from the world for so long.

Albanian History

With its ancient roots planted in Illyrian tribes, Albania was at various times in its history a part of three empires — the Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine empires. In recent times, it was taken over by the Soviet block in 1944, with alliances first with the Soviet Union and then with communist China. During this time, Albania was shut off from the outside world, relying only on misinformation provided by government sources. In the 1990's, Albania became a multiparty democracy.

Though the situation in Albania has improved a great deal, there are still significant deficiencies in infrastructure, high unemployment, education and government corruption. In the countryside, it was only in 2009 that girls began to be required to go to school. Though progress has been made, Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Various Service Initiatives

Volunteer participants will take part in various community initiatives, including the clean up and rehabilitation of local schools, English language instruction, teach and assist classes in science, music, art and dental health and hygiene. Yet another service opportunity is working with young adults with Down's Syndrome. Volunteers have the opportunity to help them build self-sustaining skills such as cooking, dancing, horseback riding and other "buddy activities" that help with socialization, assisting them on the road to independence.

Hands on cultural activities include touring the country's capital, Tirana, touring historical sites, mosques, churches and museums, and enjoying cultural activities such as a performance by the country's national theatre. In the mountain town of Boga there is ample opportunity to enjoy hiking and swimming in the hotel pool in your free time.

Housing & Food

Accommodation in Tirana is provided by the Milingona Hostel — a bright and inviting location that will provide continental breakfast and comfortable beds in a group environment. Local restaurants provide a varied and delicious offering of local and American foods.

Accommodations in Boga are at the Boga Mountain Resort, nestled in a valley as well as in the adjacent home of the director of education for the town of Boga. Meals will be provided by local families and the one restaurant in this small town. Though this area survives largely on meat dishes, vegetarian options are available when advance notice is given.

How to get involved

Participation in the Albania Rediscovered program will be an experience your group will never forget. The difference you make will be sustainable and clearly visible even before you board your flight back to your home country. Coming out of isolation, Albania needs and desires the support of groups willing to work and show an interest in the development of this beautiful, but struggling country.

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Why participate in our volunteer programs?

  • I want to see the world, travel, and have a service learning experience!

    – Lauren, Student
  • Helping people makes me feel good.

    – Ethan, Student
  • I want to go to Peru because it would be a great opportunity. It is a chance for me to practice Spanish, visit a foreign country, and offer aid.

    – Jessica, Student
  • I believe in the power of service learning. I know our work makes the world a brighter place!

    – Amy, Educator
  • I want to learn about other cultures and help others in some way.

    – Rebecca, Student

Photo Gallery

Enjoy some photos from our previous trips!

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