In Elizabeth Garland’s article on volunteer tourism, she hints at the morally grey nature of the industry – how the philanthropic activities of the developed world may not be as “self-conscious and meaningful” as they seem. Of the three core issues Garland highlights, I believe that the lack of prior knowledge on the culture and conditions of developing nations is the most severe, and that education, through academic institutions or life experiences, is the most effective way to instill a genuine sense of altruism in people. Last year, one of my friends was in Kenya for a month teaching English to orphaned children. However, he did this only because he felt bad leaving his “volunteer work” section on his college application empty. By contrast, I have not done any volunteer work on this scale myself. However, what I have done for fourteen years, either with my school or family, is give back to local homeless shelters in Singapore. Some of the more elderly members have in fact watched me grow up, from when I sang nursery rhymes as a little boy, to when I cooked meals and watched TV dramas with them this summer. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a “better” person than my friend; all I’m saying is that I can better relate to the less privileged by virtue of the life experiences I’ve had. Therefore, before we can think about volunteer tourism, we need to be taught the fundamentals of the developing world, and I feel that the easiest way to accomplish this would be through schools. Certain Islamic countries have pushed for the integration of Religious Studies into school curriculum as Religion is a ubiquitous part of their life. Is Global Poverty not becoming increasingly universal as well?