Volunteering abroad is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills, and get the chance to see the world too. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best volunteer abroad opportunities
1 – Women’s Empowerment Initiatives
GVI India offers women’s empowerment programs that give people a chance to travel to India to support teaching projects aimed at giving women a chance to get jobs or start businesses. These volunteer abroad opportunities are ideal for those who want to learn the local language or to get experience to support a teaching career.
2 – Teach Children in Vietnam
Another good option, offered by many travel companies, is to teach children in Vietnam. Stay with a host family and teach the kids English or help them with their homework, and while the kids are at school you get the chance to go out and explore Vietnam for yourself. This is a good option if you are looking for a shorter-term volunteer project of just one or two weeks, that is still rewarding and means you get to make a difference to the lives of those young children.
3 – Assist Medics in Ghana
Volunteer with the Dream Africa Care Foundation and provide hands-on support to medics in local hospitals. This is a very rewarding and important project that could be useful for people who want to see what healthcare is really like ‘in the field’. You do not need formal medical training for the kind of care work that you will be providing, but you do need to be compassionate and to understand that you might find yourself taking care of people who are gravely ill, so there can be a big emotional impact associated with this type of volunteer work. It’s important, but sometimes very difficult work.
4 – Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteering
Sea turtle conservancy is one of the most popular volunteer abroad opportunities to date. Head to Costa Rica and help baby sea turtles to reach the ocean safely. Patrol the beaches, find female turtles with at-risk nests, and help them to relocate the eggs to a safe place where predators (and poachers) won’t get to them. Clean the beaches, and make sure that these at-risk animals are properly taken care of. This is an invaluable project that will help to protect the sea turtle population for future generations. The Matapalo Sea Turtle Conservation project is always looking for volunteers to support the animals. If you volunteer for the project, you will live in a dorm with other volunteers, and be fed by a personal chef who will provide three meals a day.
5 – Arctic Huskies Caretaker in Canada
If you love dogs, then why not volunteer abroad for a Dog Sled organization, taking care of arctic huskies and training them to pull sleds? Take a trip to the Arctic area of Canada, and work with these gorgeous animals. There are volunteer opportunities all year-round. Visit in the winter and you’ll get lots of dogsledding done. Visit during the summer and you can enjoy the warmer weather and take advantage of some exploration opportunities. There’s always fun to be had.
6 – Support Refugees in Italy
This is a good opportunity to help support the refugee and migrant community in Italy. Support the shelters, education and health care services dedicated to the refugee community, so that the migrants can gain access to the aid that they need and establish themselves in the community of Napoli. Volunteer for as little as three weeks, or up to three months, and help the refugees to start a new life in Italy.
7 – Support Elephant Research in Thailand
Join a non-profit organization in Thailand dedicated to research into elephants. This volunteer abroad opportunity is aimed at recent science graduates or students on a gap year. It is ideal for people who have a long-term interest in elephants, and who perhaps want to work in conservation in the future. You must be physically fit because there will be a lot of hiking in this internship, but it is a great opportunity for those who are passionate about elephant care. The Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary that hosts the internship recently rescued four elephants from the tourism industry.
8 – Wilderness Conservation Field Researcher in Scotland
Head to the Scottish highlands and help to protect the wildlife and the delicate wilderness itself with a unique volunteer opportunity in Edinburgh. This is a great chance to visit a quaint but stunning countryside. The Scottish Highlands are unspoiled, tranquil places and the architecture in Edinburgh itself has to be seen to be believed. If you’re looking to get away from a big city and enjoy a different culture and a nice change of pace then Scotland is worth a visit. Volunteer for 12 to 24 weeks and help to keep the Scottish Highlands alive.
9 – NGO Management in Cambodia
If you are more of a business person than a conservationist, why not donate your time to support an NGO in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There are many NGOs that have limited resources, and if you are willing to go over there and lend your skills you could make a difference. Choose from a range of NGOs focused on different areas of support for residents, and help them with fundraising, reports, case studies and more. Or use your IT skills or English skills to help support and educate the staff so that they can continue their work better after you are gone.
10 – Help the Street Children in India
Many children in India are homeless. A lot of the ‘street children’ are taken in by NGOs and live in shelters, but those shelters have limited resources. Give up 4 to 12 weeks of your time to support those shelters and help with the care and education of those children, giving them the chance of a fresh start in life. Just a few weeks of your time can make a lifetime worth of difference to the children that you work within a shelter.