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Volunteer Abroad

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
  Greece    

 Featured Volunteer Abroad Programs and Organizations
Volunteering Worldwide with GVI 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 with CCS Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad for the Experience of a Lifetime!
Experience another culture like never before while making a real difference in people’s lives. You’ll gain perspectives and insights into the local culture and yourself while working side-by-side with local people on community-led initiatives. Placements are available in the areas of social services, education, and health. Choose from 12 countries—Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand.
Volunteer Worldwide with United Planet United Planet: Volunteer Worldwide!
United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your group a life-changing opportunity to interact with local communities through customized volunteer work, enriching activities, and home stays. Our programs in more than 35 countries run from 1 to 52 weeks and welcome volunteers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds because we know that everyone has something to offer! Visit our website for more information on specific countries!
Volunteer Worldwide with Projects Abroad Projects Abroad Worldwide
Projects Abroad is the world's leading short-term international volunteer organization. Live and work in 27 exciting countries around the world: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, and Vietnam. Volunteer projects start year-round and last from one week to a year. Opportunities exist in teaching, care, conservation, community development, medicine, human rights, journalism, 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 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 Work Teaching with Worldteach Volunteer Work Teaching in Colombia, Costa Rica or Namibia with WorldTeach 
"If you are looking for an experience that will push you to discover who you are and what you are made of, do WorldTeach. Even if you don’t plan on being a teacher, I would still highly suggest this program. They will teach and train you to be an amazing teacher, you just have to have the guts to try.” Apply now to teach in underserved communities. Depart in Dec & Jan for Colombia, Costa Rica or Namibia.
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 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.
  Articles on Volunteering Abroad
We are pleased to offer a vast assortment of articles discussing the experience of volunteering abroad as a means of immersing yourself in another culture in order to learn their needs without disrupting their way of life. Ideally, you will eventually help to bring local people some positive change in their lives through well-conceived programs and by bringing your much-needed skills to the table. The following articles cover the subject of volunteering both in the theoretical and in the most practical sense, including:
  • Topical articles offering you inside tips and advice by experienced international volunteer professionals in the Volunteer Abroad Advisor section below.
  • Many first-hand participant articles may be found with the program listings for regions and countries worldwide. The stories provide you with information and context from those who experienced one or more of the many volunteer work and service options available.
 Volunteer Abroad Advisor
Why Volunteer Overseas?
Zahara Hecksher, co-author of the classic book How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas as well as our Volunteer Abroad editor, goes to the core issues for all ages to consider, from teens to college students to professionals to seniors, for those considering participating in a program.
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.
How to Evaluate International Volunteer Sending Organizations
Zahara Heckscher provides an overview, inside tips, and resources to help you select from the many available volunteer projects worldwide.
The Changing Face of International Volunteering
An overview of trends in volunteer service and work abroad as well as short-term volunteer vacations, with statistics to back up the assertions, including a new emphasis on responsibility.
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.
Learning to Love Voluntourists: Harnessing their Energy and Curiosity for Volunteer Service Vacations by Alison Gardner
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
Arranging a Volunteer Experience Abroad by Katie Krueger
Ramping Up: IVPA Establishes Standards of Excellence for International Volunteering by Sherry Schwarz
From Volunteer Work To a Career: Becoming an International Aid Worker by Matthew Bolton
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
International Volunteering with Your Family by Zahara Heckscher
Volunteering Overseas Over 50 by John Dwyer
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 Over 40 Countries Worldwide with Global Vision International Volunteer in 40+ Countries with United Planet Volunteer Work with Projects Abroad Volunteer Abroad with ELIVolunteer in Latin America with Amigos de las Americas Learn and Teach Languages with DiverboVolunteer Abroad with Connect123 Volunteer with Volunteer HQVolunteer teaching English with WorldteachVolunteering SolutionsVolunteer with Conservation Travel AfricaVolunteer Abroad with GeovisionsVolunteer with Nepal Reliance
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