What You Need to Know about Volunteering Abroad

What is Volunteering Abroad?

Volunteer in Dharamsala, India, and work on a variety of volunteer projectserience a new culture and benefit local communities through volunteer worldwide service

To volunteer, means simply, to be motivated and give one’s time or energies to work towards a project or cause that you are interested in. Volunteering abroad falls mainly into three main categories:  (a) long-term, professional positions; (b) short, medium and long-term, self-funded positions; and (c) short-term expeditionary conservation projects where volunteers are self-funded. These different options for volunteering abroad in other countries are explored in detail below.

(a)  Long term, professional:  In this category, people choose to volunteer overseas in different countries on long-term projects lasting for over a year, in which the volunteer may almost lose contact with their old way of life.  For these positions, volunteers with qualifications and/or specific skills and several years relevant work field experience are recruited, and they may receive benefits including a monthly allowance based on the local rate, air tickets, insurance, lodging etc.

(b)  Short, medium and long term, self-funded:  These volunteer abroad positions can last from anything between a week to nine months. These volunteer projects are suitable for many people, including students taking a year off, professionals taking sabbaticals to work on a specific project, individuals of all ages wishing to gain further “hands-on” practical field experience whilst volunteering overseas.  Usually, volunteers must pay for their transportation to and from the project, and a programme fee payment which covers food, accommodation and project costs.

(c)  Short term expeditionary conservation projects abroad:  There are also opportunities for people who are limited by time, and wish to take part in conservation and wildlife surveying volunteer overseas projects. Such worldwide volunteering projects are usually located in tropical and/or remote areas and volunteers are expected to be self-funded and to pay for the costs of the expedition, which can be costly if including scientific research materials, transportation to remote locations, training staff etc.

Benefits of doing volunteer work overseas in other countries

A group of volunteers working in Asia stop for a photo by the river

Volunteering abroad is an ideal way for travellers, students, adults and seniors to be able to give a little back to communities and environments in need, in a way not possible when just travelling as a tourist. You are also able to receive lots of hands-on overseas volunteer work experience from the field and to learn about a new country and culture, whilst immersing yourself in the local community where your volunteer abroad programme is located.

Our volunteering abroad programme has been running since 1998 and as a result, volunteers have directly contributed to supporting and improving the quality of lives of communities around the world and to contributing towards the conservation and restoration of local biodiversity through our worldwide volunteering programmes.

Read an article here about student volunteering abroad

Read an article here about becoming a conservation volunteer abroad

Read an article about fundraising for a volunteer abroad project

Read an article here about family volunteering abroad

Volunteer overseas with sea turtles. Help to conserve endangered species on a volunteer work overseas project.Reasons for Volunteering Abroad

As mentioned in the previous section, there are many reasons why people choose to volunteer abroad on a worldwide volunteering project - but just remember to be able to state them clearly when you contact the organisations in our database or apply to one of our volunteer work overseas projects.  This will also make your work more constructive, as you will have clearer objectives, and your time spent as a volunteer overseas will also be more valuable both for you for the volunteer abroad organisation you work with.

For some other tips and general info on joining a volunteer abroad project, please see our FAQs.