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The Guide to Volunteering Overseas — Top Programs and Articles

 Volunteer Abroad Programs
Volunteering abroad is the best option for meaningful work and service in developing countries or for social causes anywhere. While some overseas projects cover room and board, and there are some free volunteer programs abroad, most organizations require fees to cover important services and administrative costs, such as health care, housing, food, materials, training, etc. For inexpensive summer work camps or volunteer vacations, generally apply in the Spring. For long-term options, such as the Peace Corps, apply well in advance.

The volunteer organizations below are organized by country and region, and include many first-hand participant reports to provide both practical and inspirational perspectives from experienced volunteers in order to help you with the all-important research necessary to make an important and likely life-changing decision for everyone concerned.
Volunteer Abroad by Region Volunteer Abroad by Country
Worldwide Argentina Guatemala Philippines
Africa Australia Honduras Poland
Asia Belgium Iceland Portugal
Australasia Bolivia India Romania
Central America Brazil Israel Russia
Europe (Central & Eastern) Cambodia Italy South Africa
Europe (Western) Canada Kenya South Korea
Latin America Chile Japan Spain
South America China Jordan Sri Lanka
  Colombia Madagascar Sweden
  Costa Rica Mexico Switzerland
  Denmark Mongolia Taiwan
  Dominican Republic Morocco Tanzania
  Ecuador Mozambique Thailand
  El Salvador Namibia Turkey
  Fiji Nepal Uganda
  Finland New Zealand United Kingdom
  France Nicaragua United States
  Germany Nigeria Vietnam
  Ghana Peru Zimbabwe

 Featured Volunteer Abroad Programs and Organizations
Volunteering Worldwide with GVI Volunteer Programs with Global Vision International
GVI has a huge range of volunteer programs to suit the environmentally conscious traveler who seeks adventure and new experiences around the globe. Be it training as a safari field guide in South Africa, teaching English in Laos, or diving as part of a marine research team in the Indian Ocean, you will find a huge range of exciting opportunities with GVI. Visit our website for further details
Volunteer Abroad with CCS Volunteer Abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions
Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit changing the way international volunteering works. We have 20 years of experience and have worked to make the volunteer adventure of a lifetime possible for over 35,000 people. We proudly believe we provide the perfect mix of quality work, cultural immersion, adventure, and relaxation—all while having 24/7 access to CCS staff and support. Make that life-changing decision to become a CCSer today!
Volunteer Worldwide with United Planet Volunteer Abroad with United Planet!
United Planet's Quests offer you or your group the opportunity to learn, teach, work, engage and immerse yourselves in a culture outside your comfort zone through customized volunteer work, enriching cultural activities, and home stays with local families. Our programs in more than 35 countries run from 1 to 52 weeks and welcome volunteers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Partake in educational, environmental sustainability, global health projects, and more. Visit our website for more information on specific volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer Worldwide with Projects Abroad Projects Abroad Worldwide
Projects Abroad is the world's leading short-term international volunteer organization. Live and work in 29 exciting countries around the world: Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Vietnam. Volunteer projects start year-round and last from one week to a year. Opportunities exist in teaching, child care, social work, conservation, community development, medicine, human rights, journalism, international development, language courses, and more! Programs are for ages 16+.
Volunteer Worldwide Geovisions: Volunteer Worldwide
Gain a new outlook on the world. Experience a unique opportunity to live and volunteer in Argentina while learning about the culture and language of the country. Project areas include community development, health care, education, and childcare. Volunteer in Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Russia, Spain, Thailand, or Turkey.
International Volunteering wiwth ELI Volunteer Abroad with Experiential Learning International
Experience a cultural immersion while participating in a meaningful volunteer program! ELI partners with hundreds of local organizations in countries on five continents to provide volunteer opportunities for anyone looking for an international volunteer experience. Whether you would like to devote your time to caring for orphans in the Philippines, teaching in a rural school in Ghana, breeding tortoises in the Galapagos, working at a health camp in India, planting trees in rural Tanzania, they can set up the right program for you. Volunteer programs can last any length of time from a week to a year.
Volunteer Worldwide with VolunteerHQ Volunteer Abroad from US$180 with IVHQ
Affordable volunteer opportunities available worldwide. Volunteers can participate in Teaching English, Street Children Work, School Support Program, Summer and many more projects by country. IVHQ sends over 5000 volunteer travelers worldwide annually — one of the world's most popular volunteer placement organizations!
Volunteer Worldwide with InterExchange Volunteer Abroad Programs from InterExchange 
InterExchange Working Abroad has a wide variety of volunteer programs to fit any interest. Add to your professional skills, learn a new language and have the adventure of a lifetime while making a difference abroad in one of 20 countries! From environmental conservation programs in Australia and Costa Rica, to social work and community programs in Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Ghana, India and Peru, we will work with you to find the best fit for your time abroad. Volunteer programs include placement, housing and visa assistance. Many also include some meals, project-related transportation, training and social and cultural activities. InterExchange has over 40 years of experience arranging cultural exchange programs.
Volunteer teaching English in Thailand

Volunteer Work Teaching in Thailand
Join WorldTeach as a Volunteer English Teacher in Thailand for one year, departing April 2015.

“I will forever be blown away by the people I have met in Thailand.”

Volunteer teaching Exchange in Spain Diverbo Pueblo Ingles
Diverbo Pueblo Ingles has been described as an inspiring cultural adventure, an enriching personal journey, and a unique, human experience. Each week twenty Native English speakers are sponsored to stay in a beautiful, picturesque 4-star resort in Spain so they can converse with Spanish professionals who want to improve their English. Accommodation, food and wine are provided in exchange for your conversation. It's a unique and enjoyable experience and the best way to learn about Spain if you don't speak the local lingo.
Adventures in Service Adventures in Service with Globeaware
Globe Aware coordinates, organizes and leads volunteer vacations, service vacations, working holidays and service trips to locations around the world. Globe Aware develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments that encourage people to immerse themselves in a unique way of giving back.
Volunteer in Argentina with RoadToArgentina Volunteering in Argentina with Road2Argentina
Road2Argentina has partnered with many local non-profit organizations, schools, orphanages and community centers in Buenos Aires in order to provide assistance to those in need. These partnerships give our volunteers the opportunity to get involved with meaningful projects and make a difference during their time here in the city. Volunteering is also a great way to learn and practice your Spanish and see a less touristy side of Buenos Aires. Volunteering with a sustainable living project in Patagonia is also available.​
Volunteer in Argentina, China and South Africa with Connect-123 Volunteer Abroad in Argentina, China, Ireland, South Africa and Spain with Connect-123
Connect-123 offers meaningful volunteer projects in China (and other locations worldwide), according to your interests and skills, in education, health care, community service and many other fields. Volunteer programs include teaching English at local schools, caring for pediatric patients at local hospitals, assisting at animal shelters, working with children with autism or other disabilities, assisting the elderly at retirement homes and caring for infants and toddlers at orphanages.
Volunteering Solutions Volunteer with Child Volunteering Solutions Offers One of the Most Affordable and Safe Program Options Worldwide in 20 Different Countries
We work directly with local communities and provide them the platform to live a dignified life. We have placed over 7,000 volunteers over last 6 years. Our programs are open to anyone who is willing to make a difference.
Animal Rescue in Galapagos with Lead Advenures Volunteer in Ecuador and the Galapagos with Lead Adventures
Interested in helping to rehabilitate the endangered wildlife, rather than looking at animals from far away or on TV? This program will give you exactly what you want. As local experts we offer you the chance of a lifetime—3 different animal rescue centers in only 4 weeks! Explore the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes Highlands and the Coast of Ecuador while helping in the rescue centers of each region. This one-of-a-kind program also offers you a one-day training of animal handling before starting your adventure. Get involved without emptying your pocket!
Volunteer with children A Broader View Volunteers, U.S. Non Profit Charity 501 c(3) in 24 Countries — 224 Social & Conservation Outreach Programs
We have Customized, Safe, Reliable and Cost Effective programs Overseas with no hidden fees. We have worked with our partners and host families for over 7 years.
As a non-profit you can fundraise on our website and all your donors can tax deduct the donations. As a non profit we give back to the programs we work with; 65% of all fees, sales, and fundraising go to our programs abroad.
We have programs in South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia, including Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Cameroon, Rwanda, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, and China.
Tips to choose an organization: Check independent feedback, check social media, and ask for financial disclosure.
Volunteering in Europe European Volunteer Adventures!
GoEco offers a diverse selection of wildlife, humanitarian and environmental projects in Europe. You have the opportunity to choose among several exciting initiatives in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic and the UK! Whether you’re interested in sea turtle conservation or a hospitality internship, you can expect the volunteer experience of a lifetime!
  Articles on Volunteer Abroad — Experts and Participants on Work, Service and Voluntourism
We are pleased to offer a vast assortment of articles discussing the experience of volunteering abroad in order to learn their needs, and provide positive change in their lives by providing your much-needed skills and energy to the table.

The following articles cover the subject of volunteering both in the theoretical and in the most practical sense, including:
  • Expert articles offering you inside tips and advice by experienced international volunteer professionals can be found in the Volunteer Abroad Advisor section.
  • Extensive first-hand participant reports may be found with Volunteer Abroad Programs for regions and countries worldwide.
 Volunteer Abroad Advisor
Finding Your First Job Abroad Why Volunteer Overseas? Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer for Any Age
Co-author of the classic book How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas as well as a Volunteer Abroad editor, Zahara Heckscher is an experienced volunteer, activist, teacher, and author. She explores the subject, motives, and activity in a unique and no-nonsense manner.
Finding Your First Job Abroad How to Evaluate International Volunteer Organizations
Zahara Heckscher provides an overview, inside tips, and resources to help you select from the many available volunteer projects worldwide.
Worthwhile volunteering abroad How to Find a Worthwhile Voluntourism Experience
Amy E. Robertson, an experienced volunteer from her youth and author of several books including How to Plan an Unforgettable Volunteer Vacation in Latin America, addresses the issue of how to go about researching and finding reputable organizations, and offers 5 practical steps to do so effectively.
Volunteer vacation in Latin America How to Plan an Unforgettable Volunteer Vacation in Latin America
Prepare a turtle hatchery in Costa Rica. Teach English in Mexico. Build a home in Brazil. Whether you call it a volunteer vacation, a service trip, or voluntourism, combining travel and volunteer work is an increasingly popular way to see the world.
Why volunteer overseas The Changing Face of International Volunteering
Volker Poelzl provides both an overview of trends and a selection of the best resources for those considering volunteer work, service or vacations abroad.
Nicholas Kristof A Path Appears A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity
An Interview with Nicholas D. Kristof

Nicholas D. Kristof discusses an important new book cowritten with his wife, "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity," with John Dwyer. Nicholas goes on to discuss related issues such as volunteering abroad, and other ways individuals can make a positive impact around the world in terms of changing lives and tackling inequality.
Volunteering overseas over 50 Over 50 and Volunteering Overseas
Well over 50 and still volunteering overseas, John Dwyer describes his vast and unusual experience. He offers seniors and volunteers of all ages advice and accumulated resources John joined the Peace Corps in 1991 at age 56 to make a difference.
Leveraging Your Volunteer Experience To Find Paid Work Abroad
Strategies and tips offered by Zahara Heckscher on how to transform your volunteer experience into paid work overseas, from international aid work to working in the solar panel industry abroad.
From Volunteer Work To a Career: Becoming an International Aid Worker
An experienced international aid worker, Matthew Bolton, provides inside tips and resources to make the transition into a long-term career.
A Student Perspective: Why Pay to Volunteer
Isabel Eva Bohrer offers a student's view on why volunteering is sometimes costly, offering advice and resources for those who wish to make a difference.
Arranging a Volunteer Experience Abroad: Advice to Students From a Former Student
Advice to students on how to seek and find suitable service experience.
How to Put Professional Skills to Use As a Volunteer
Amy E. Robertson explores the many organizations and manners volunteers with much-needed professional skills may put them to use.
Professional Services Volunteering Over 50: How to Volunteer for Non-Medical or Teaching Professionals
John Dwyer provides information about the many professional skills needed by organizations abroad.
Learning to Love Voluntourists: Harnessing their Energy and Curiosity for Volunteer Service Vacations
Author Alison Gardner offers a view on the development of voluntourism and voluntourists — a term she coined in the 1990s — and discusses the ever-growing role boomers and individuals of all ages have played in the development of many volunteer vacations producing positive results worldwide.
International Volunteering with Your Family
Family volunteering options abroad are described by expert Zahara Heckscher, who offers practical advice and resources for a unique collaborative and educational family effort and experience.
Why Study Another Language Abroad? 10 Immersion Schools Where You Can Study AND Volunteer in Latin America
How to learn a language abroad while volunteering for greater cultural immersion. Amy E. Robertson covers examples of top language schools in Latin America that offer both options.
Volunteer Overseas the Right Way: An Interview with Zahara Heckscher
Choosing a Volunteer Placement Organization by Zahara Heckscher
How to Choose the "Right" Volunteer Program Abroad by Joseph Collins, Stefano DeZerega, Zahara Heckscher
Volunteer Vacations to Fit: How to Select the Best-Suited Organization by Doug Cutchins and Anne Geissinger
Ramping Up: IVPA Establishes Standards of Excellence for International Volunteering by Sherry Schwarz
The Ins and Outs of Volunteering: An Interview with Dianne Brause
Work as a Volunteer Travel Adviser by Heidi Resetarits
Making the Most of Volunteer Service with the Peace Corps by Brianne Goodspeed
After the Peace Corps by Mishelle Shepard
Learn Language and Do Good: Combine Volunteering with Language Study Abroad by Zahara Heckscher
Learn a Language While Volunteering Abroad by Susan Griffith
Volunteering Abroad: A Global Movement by Christine Victorino
Volunteering Abroad: Selecting the Perfect Opportunity by Christine Victorino
The Cost of Volunteering by Daniel Weiss
Volunteer Abroad on Your Own by Michael Don
Investing Yourself as a Volunteer by Reverend Dr. Henry Bucher, Jr.
Why Pay to Volunteer Abroad? by Le Ann Joy Adam
Why Volunteer Abroad? by Peter Hodge
Volunteer Vacations Gain Popularity by Margaret Jaworski
Whirled Transformations: The History and Future of Inter-Cultural Caring by Ann McLaughlin
Baby Boomers and International Volunteer Service by Ann McLaughlin
Volunteer Vacations: Seniors Have a Different Agenda by Alison Gardner
Making the Most of a Volunteer Vacation by Doug Cutchins and Anne Geissinger
Volunteer as a Senior and Make Retirement Count by Amy Warren and Winsin Hsieh
Volunteer Vacations Can Change Your Life by Dianne Brause.
Volunteer Service Programs. This Summer Vacation Make a Difference by Russell Carlock
Community Service Abroad: Volunteers Combine Alms and Elbow Grease by Molly Beer
Volunteer Placements Abroad: Coping With Potential Problems by Susan Griffith
Making a Difference: Volunteering and Education Abroad by Charles Gliozzo
International Volunteerism by Rebecca Jewell
Volunteer for an NGO as a Photographer by Jim Hall
Volunteer Work Abroad on Organic Farms by Caroline Nye
Work for Peace as a Volunteer Abroad by April Thompson
Volunteer Abroad in 40+ Countries with GVIVolunteer Abroad with United Planet Volunteer Work with Projects Abroad Volunteer Abroad with ELI Learn and Teach Languages with DiverboVolunteer Abroad with Connect123 Volunteer with Volunteer HQVolunteer teaching English with WorldteachVolunteer Abroad with GeovisionsVolunteering SolutionsVolunteer with Conservation Travel AfricaVolunteer with a broader viewVolunteer in Latin America with Amigos de las Americas Volunteer Abroad with GO ECOVolunteer in Ecuador with Lead AdventuresVolunteer with Nepal Reliance
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