Unearth the World


Unearth the World is a social enterprise devoted to planning meaningful and transformative international exchange opportunities for students, professionals, groups, and families. We prioritize social impact, financial transparency, & volunteer education.

Projects (from 1 week to 12 months in length) are currently available in Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, and Zambia. Whether you are interested in a one-week solo trip or a longer group experience, Unearth the World is able to customize your trip so that you can utilize your skills, engage in authentic cultural exchange and experience the transformative power of travel.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Unbelievable Program in Peru!

My time volunteering with LLI through Unearth The World was nothing short of an unbelievable and eye opening experience! Unearth The World did a great job preparing me as best as they could with what I was going to expect from the program in Peru. When I arrived, the Volunteer Coordinator picked me up in a taxi and took me to the program, while explaining more about the program and the other people living in the house. I felt adjusted right away even though I was completely out of my ordinary, daily life. I have never worked with children that were more appreciative or had a stronger desire to learn than the children at LLI. I volunteered there for a month and taught English to two classes. I had never taught English before but they did a great job training me on how to write lesson plans and the other volunteers were a lot of help. I am still very close with most of the people that I lived with in the volunteer house and talk to them often! I highly recommend volunteering at LLI because Lara has created an amazing organization that will change you for the better :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and Special Program in Nicaragua!

My time with Unearth The World volunteering in Nicaragua was nothing short of amazing! Kathryn strongly recommended this program as I was flexible for where I wanted to volunteer and she was right. I volunteered with La Mariposa for the first month of my three month adventure. The one-on-one Spanish lessons built me a solid foundation for the rest of my trip that was VERY helpful while traveling. The teachers were so kind and patient. I spent two weeks at the eco-hotel which was very lovely followed by two weeks with a family. My family was so caring and it was great Spanish practice in the evening! They are very flexible with selecting a volunteer project and you can switch if you would like to try something else during your time there. Also, they had so many fun activities planned in the evenings that were a great way to explore other areas of Nicaragua. Overall, I would highly recommend volunteering with Unearth The World at La Mariposa!

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Yes, I recommend this program

La Mariposa in Nicaragua

La Mariposa in Nicaragua was the perfect trip for me in my first time traveling abroad. The experience was better than I could have ever imagined and I hope to return in the future. The staff were more than helpful and hospitable, my homestay family wonderful and sweet, the community very welcoming, and the Spanish lessons fun and extremely helpful! Furthermore I was able to serve the community that the eco-hotel and school is in through one of their volunteer projects (I personally worked in their reserve and organic farm), while meeting and getting to know residents of the community in which I was serving during the process. The travel and accommodations La Mariposa provides are more than comfortable, and the people make leaving the hardest part of the entire experience. It is perfect for any sort of traveler as well, from families to solo of any age and from fluent in Spanish to having now background in the language at all. I would not have wanted to experience Nicaragua any other way.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Estefany & Michelle

Estefany and Michelle were my two students in one of my teen classes. They were both less than a year younger than me, so really we were best friends. Three weeks into me teaching them, they begged me not to forget them and to promise to come back. I was so confused, as I was going to be there for two more months. When the time came for me to go, we had created a relationship like no other I've ever shared. They had to take a test our last class together, and Michelle kept working on "homework". I kept telling her that she couldn't do that while taking her test. By the end of class I realized that her "homework" was actually poster for me giving their thanks and love. On Christmas Day, after being home for about 2 weeks, I got two audio messages from them, saying how much they loved and missed me. That was the only present I really needed. Those girls are so special and so beautiful, they will give you their heart, as long as you promise to do the same.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the organization when a new volunteer arrives. The first morning I was there I didn't know where breakfast was or what was really going on. I felt the Volunteer Coordinator could've been more helpful and more detailed about how things work. It took me a few days to get the hang of things, and I felt like some of those things could have been better communicated.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Service Trip at La Mariposa arranged by Unearth The World

We had a wonderful trip and stayed at La Mariposa. The most rewarding part of the trip was working with children through Los Pipitos. The children have developmental issues that impact their lives and our work through equine therapy, game therapy, art therapy, and other group work was wonderful. It gave these children a structured, social network while they worked on improving both physical and intellectual skills. The Spanish tutoring at La Mariposa was effective and directed to each individuals level. I had never taken Spanish previously, but made significant improvement while others with advanced skills focused on improving even further. We also enjoyed working on the Eco-farm and the reserve. La Mariposa's investment in the local community is profound. We are looking for an opportunity to return for a longer period of time and also do a home stay.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that could have been improved for us was that our home stay was cancelled just before we arrived. There was likely an important reason, but this would have enhanced the experience even further. Now, more than ever, we have even more reason to return.


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Melissa Kirschner

Job Title
Director of Volunteer Travel
As Director of Volunteer Travel with Unearth the World, Melissa loves working with individuals and groups to plan meaningful cross-cultural, international, exchanges.

What is your favorite travel memory?

This is a tough question! Some of my favorite memories come from different travel adventures. If I had to pick one, though, I would have to say the time spent with my homestay family in Nicaragua, while visiting Unearth the World's Sustainable Tourism partner there.

They were such a warm and welcoming family! I loved sharing meals with them, watching TV in the evenings, and practicing my Spanish - they were very patient! I felt like I learned so much about the culture and local community through their generosity, and willingness to open their home to a stranger.

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a homestay while traveling abroad, I would highly recommend it!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

One thing I love most about my job is that I am constantly learning! I would say that I have definitely become a more informed global citizen through my role with Unearth the World.

Everyday I get to interact with members of different international communities that are working to address pressing and important issues where they live.

This has really opened my eyes. On top of that, I get to speak with volunteers who have just returned from service work abroad. I get to hear about their time volunteering, and learn from their experiences as well.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think there are a few things that really make Unearth the World (UTW) unique. The first is that we absolutely take a holistic approach to each individual volunteer.

I personally speak with each volunteer who is interested in participating in an UTW program to make sure it is the best fit for him or her, and a good fit for our international partner. On top of that, we provide an in-depth pre-trip training so that all of our volunteers are prepared for their time abroad.

Secondly, Unearth the World is 100% financially transparent. We feel it's so important that our volunteers know where every dollar goes! And lastly, we only form responsible, mutually beneficial partnerships with projects that are initiated and organized by members of the local community, not by outsiders.

We carefully vet each partnership, and routinely visit our partners to ensure that the relationship continues to be responsible and reciprocal.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I really think it is personalization. At Unearth the World we work so hard to make sure that each individual has the best international service experience possible.

We understand that each traveler has different needs and interests, and strive to ensure that they are matched to the best project. We are always happy to go the extra mile!