'Voluntourism', 'ecotourism' and 'community tourism' are terms used to describe learning about a foreign culture through volunteering. They are one of the fastest growing forms of ethical tourism and the Hedonisia Hawaii Community is proud to be part of this trend.
However, US Government officials give different answers when it comes to defining whether volunteer tourism or 'voluntourism' is an accepted visitor activity for foreign tourists visiting Hawaii.
Both our Intern and Volunteer Program are paid, educational and hands-on ecotourist attractions in Hawaii. All participants understand that these are NOT jobs as we do not pay a salary or benefits. They are simply having a more immersive experience of rain forest community culture in Hawaii.
For an increasing number of eco-tourists helping the environment and culture they are visiting is much more meaningful than just surfing, tanning and taking pictures!
We are not the US government so we cannot advise you about whether you can just come here on a tourist visa based on the country you are applying from. However, you can contact your local US consulate who, if they answer the phone, will guide you on the appropriate visa to apply for or whether you even need anything beyond a normal tourist visa.
According to reports we have received from foreign applicants, it is possible to apply for a student or J1 Intern Visa as long as you are still in a full time education program.
Some volunteers and interns arrive on a Tourist Visa. Some are on a Student, Health, J-1 or other visa. To be absolutely sure, speak to officials at your local US Embassy or Consulate.
For foreign interns, we can work with outside agencies that are often located in an applicant's home country. These services help foreign applicants go through the paperwork to get the right visa for a US internship.
However, because additional work is involved in processing these applications, we charge an additional Foreign Intern Application Fee of $250. This fee is NON-refundable if a visa request is denied by the local US Embassy or Consulate.