Winter break is fast approaching, and because WCU offers one of the longest winter breaks of students in this area, it is the perfect opportunity to travel. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “college students don’t have money to travel.” What if I told you that you could learn about organic food, see whatever geographic location you wished to, and do all of this within a small budget? Through an organization called WWOOF, you can.
WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a global effort to create a conscious community of ecological farming practices. The best part about WWOOF is that you can gain an education on organic practices from working hands on in a farm in exchange for food and lodging. What this means is that all you have to do is be able to get yourself to the farm by way of plane or car (which is doable for a college student).
Okay, so this educational and cultural exchange probably sounds too good to be true. To see for yourself, be sure to check out www.wwoof.net. Once on this website, you can look at the globe and decide what country you are interested in working on a farm in. WWOOF exists in and beyond the United States, so whether you are interested in staying within the states or adventuring beyond is all up to you.
On this website you will be able to find links to videos that show what volunteering on one of these farms is like, and also helpful informational posts.
Volunteers are usually expected to work four to six hours on the farm in exchange for food and lodging accommodations. Some of the tasks that you will be expected to learn include gardening, harvesting, wine making, bread making, cheese making and sowing seed.
When you become a member of the organization, you gain access to all of the databases of the affiliated organizations all around the world. From there, you can scan photos and reviews of each individual farm and host before choosing your destination.
The best part of this culturally enriching, and budget-friendly type of travel is that not only do you get to meet interesting people in new places (be it hosts or other volunteers), but the length of time you choose to stay is all up to you. You can stay as long or as little of a time period as you would like, and some people even stay at different farms every few days as a way of cheaply traveling around a specific location. With this kind of flexibility, it makes it the perfect option for a quick or even potentially longer stay over your winter break!
Kirsty Palo is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at KP762793@wcupa.edu.