Ruthie, who is studying International Development at the University of Sussex in the UK, first experienced the pull of volunteering during her high school years. Her initial excitement soon turned to doubt and concern as she dug deeper into what would be involved in the four-week trip, which included spending time in an orphanage. She decided there and then she would not go.
"I completely understood why my classmates wanted to go - essentially it was a low cost holiday to Bolivia, helping supposedly some of the poorest children in the world, and a promise to enhance your CV and gain valuable experience...as time went on I began to realise that this once in a lifetime opportunity for Western pupils is by no means a once in a life-time opportunity for the children in these orphanages."
Five years on and Ruthie dedicates her time to advising fellow students who are planning to volunteer overseas to think carefully about their intentions and the potential impact - positive and negative - they could have on the local community.
Read Ruthie's journey to becoming a voluntourism cynic.