Following my interview with Justine Trubey, who volunteered for 3 months in Cambodia, I thought it would be interesting to investigate ways to find volunteer abroad opportunities.
Some programs charge participants a hefty fee to be a volunteer. But not all of them. So save your money and check out the volunteer abroad opportunities below. With most of them, you’ll still need to pay for your travel, insurance, and incidentals. But at the very least, your accommodation (and often your meals) will be covered.
Perks and responsibilities vary widely, so before you make a commitment, be sure to read the fine print and get your specific questions answered.
Moving Worlds connects volunteers with organizations around the world. Organizations are looking for a wide range of skill sets include accounting, architecture, brand design, business strategy, public relations, engineering, conservation, and more.
Bonus points: You’ll get to use your professional skills to make a difference. Moving Worlds offers training and support to help ensure that you’re able to make an impact and solve real problems during your time as a volunteer.
Peace Corps has no age limit, so if you’re a U.S. citizen and considering changing careers, retiring, or making a change, why not consider the Peace Corps?
Bonus points: Depending on the program you choose, your service can last from three months to two years. You can choose the country you want to serve in. You can serve with your spouse or partner.
United Nations Volunteers Program – Though most are 6- to 12-month appointments, there are also short-term opportunities for qualified volunteers who provide technical expertise, knowledge and resource management, and other specific skills to support the work of nonprofit development organizations worldwide.
Bonus points: Living allowance, settlement and resettlement grants, travel and insurance are provided, depending on the type of appointment.
International Executive Service Corps (IESC) seeks mid-career and retired volunteers to provide businesses in developing countries with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive. Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Bonus points: They’re also looking for experienced people to serve as paid consultants.
CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization) seeks senior-level professionals from the public and private sector to volunteer and share their skills and expertise to empower others. Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Bonus points: International assignments cover flights, room and board, per diem, insurance, and vaccinations.
Help Stay – Find opportunities at farms, retreat centers, hostels, surf lodges, vineyards, ranches, and schools worldwide, where you can exchange a few hours of work for accommodation and food.
Bonus points: Want to make craft beer in Ecuador? Want to volunteer at a ski lodge in Japan?
WWOOF (originally called Working Weekends on Organic Farms) connects organic farmers and growers with volunteers who exchange 4-6 hours of work for room and board.
Bonus points: The length of your stay at the farm is negotiated between you and your host.
Workaway is a community that enables you to volunteer around 5 hours a day in exchange for room and board from a few days to a few months.
- Best Practices for Volunteering Overseas – Free online training course from Moving Worlds
- Finding a Responsible Volunteer Placement (YouTube)
- Can ‘Voluntourism’ Make a Difference? – New York Times
- My parents and I are serving as Peace Corps Volunteers at the same time