Volunteering abroad is a great opportunity to see the world, gain experience, learn new language skills, meet people, and make a difference. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer abroad. You can search for them on your own or go through one of many pre-established programs. Most, but not all, volunteer opportunities abroad do cost a fee for participation. This fee usually covers living and food expenses, but not always. It may also cover travel, insurance, and your visa registration. It is important to research the opportunities before you apply or send any money!
Things to consider:
- What are you looking to gain from volunteering?
- Have you volunteered before?
- What skills can you bring to the table?
- How much time can you commit? (2 weeks? 2 years?)
- Where do you want to go? Why?
- What kind of project do you want to do? Why?
- Are you looking to be on your own or nearby other volunteers?
- What accommodations are you looking for?
- Do you want to go through a program or find placement on your own?
- How much can you afford to pay?
Important questions to investigate when choosing a program:
- Do you want to go through a program based in the host country or based in the US?
- What are the program fees? What does this include?
- When was the organization established?
- How is their customer service? (Do they answer your questions and provide information in a timely manner?)
- Do they offer 24 hour support? (In the country where you will be located?)
- Do they have clearly stated policies?
- Can they connect you with someone in the US that has completed the program?
Cross Cultural Solutions
Volunteers for Peace
Volunteer Services Overseas
Service Civil International
A Broader View
Habitat for Humanity
IFRE Volunteers Abroad
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
Global Vision International
Institute for International Cooperation and Development
International Volunteer Programs Association
UN NGO Directory