2018 - 2019 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs, Organizations, & Projects
(Updated for 2018 - 2019 trips)
We’re taking the guesswork out of choosing a great volunteer abroad program. Using our database of 800 international volunteer organizations; 3,500 program reviews; and 11,600 volunteer abroad fundraisers who have collectively raised $2,000,000 for their trips, Volunteer Forever has crunched the numbers to identify our top volunteer abroad opportunities.
We also took into consideration the history of each organization to include the number of volunteer alumni and our 5 years of intensive interactions with programs over email, phone, and in-person meetings. Read on for our list of top recommended programs!
*Photo credit: Jess Bercovici, Traveller Not Tourist
2018 - 2019 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs
If you’ve resolved to travel and make a difference in 2018, there’s no shortage of amazing volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs awaiting you.
All of the organizations outlined below have excellent reviews from very happy volunteers, interns, and teachers here on Volunteer Forever--read on to see what they’ve said and to find the perfect volunteer abroad, internship abroad, teach abroad, Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), or language program.
While traveling abroad can be expensive, we feature wonderful programs such as International Volunteer HQ, which are super affordable and available in over 45 different destinations, including Bali, South Africa, Costa Rica, Peru, Fiji, Nepal, and Italy. They have supported over 85,000 travelers to volunteer abroad safely since 2007 and have an experienced team of volunteer travel experts who will ensure you are well prepared for your trip. Their top rated programs and focus on safety are what makes IVHQ the world’s most popular choice for solo travelers, couples, families, and groups. They also have the world’s largest range of projects to choose from with volunteer opportunities in Healthcare, Childcare, Teaching, Conservation, Construction, Wildlife and Animal Care, and more. Some of the most popular destinations to check out are Madagascar, Vietnam, Kenya, Cambodia, Spain, and Thailand, and they’ve recently opened new programs in Jamaica, Greece, Malaysia, Belize, Belgium and USA - New Orleans.
Plan My Gap Year is another excellent organization that offers affordable & trusted volunteer projects overseas. They’re transparent about their fees and are a wonderful choice for solo, female travelers (93% travel solo and 83% of volunteers are female). Their most popular destinations to check out are Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Bali and they will soon offer projects in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador.
If you’re interested in an immersive volunteer volunteer trip to Latin America, check out Maximo Nivel, which offers impactful and educational placements in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Some of Maximo Nivel’s volunteer abroad opportunities include construction, conservation, teaching English, working with kids, and working with indigenous communities. You also might consider enrolling in a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification program, which prepares you for ESL job placements around the world - or on the flip side, if you’re looking to learn a new language, be sure to check out Maximo Nivel’s Spanish Immersion programs.
Whether you’re a student, or you’re taking a gap year, or you’re a professional or a career break traveler, you’re guaranteed to find a volunteer placement, language immersion opportunity, TEFL certificate course, or hands-on internship such as a teach English abroad internship (no teaching experience required) from the award-winning organization, Global Vision International, that will allow you to explore the world, make a difference, and meet new friends. Teaching English to children in a classroom setting is also a great way to participate in childcare projects in an ethical and sustainable manner.
If you’re a current or aspiring doctor, nurse dentist, or other healthcare professional, you will find a ton of medical volunteer opportunities and internships below. Some great volunteering projects include Volunteering Solutions’ medical volunteer program in Peru, Plan My Gap Year’s mental health placement in Ghana, Khaya Volunteers’ Cape Town Children’s hospital placement, and Camp Thailand’s medical volunteer program. If you're looking for a medical internship, then be sure to check out Love Volunteers' medical internship in Ecuador and SAVE's healthcare internship in South Africa.
Or if you're interested in volunteering with animals, then check out Plan My Gap Year's wildlife conservation projects, some of the most popular in the world. If you want to work with animals in exotic locations, then check out Fronteering, which offers a Husky Ranch volunteer project in Canada and Predator Research Internship in the Amazon.
Lastly, if you are in high school and looking for a teen volunteer abroad opportunity, then be sure to check out the under 18 projects offered by Global Leadership Adventures, an organization whose founder was recognized by President Obama or these super affordable teen volunteer projects from Plan My Gap Year!
Founded in 2007 by Dan Radcliffe, International Volunteer HQ offers over 200 affordable volunteer trips to 45 destinations in Africa, Latin America, the USA, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. IVHQ has placed more than 85,000 volunteers overseas on projects ranging from teaching, to healthcare, to childcare, and more. Programs last one week to 24 weeks and start at $180. Given the affordability of IVHQ's programs, volunteers could very well volunteer abroad for free by fundraising on Volunteer Forever and applying for our volunteer abroad scholarships!
IVHQ Opportunities to Check Out
Looking for a beach getaway in an island paradise where you can do good? Volunteer with IVHQ in Bali! Travel to the cultural center of Ubud, where you can volunteer with a teaching project, in a kindergarten, with construction and renovation, turtle conservation, environmental education, or healthcare edcation. Or head to the coastal town of Lovina, where you can lend a hand with kindergarten support and teaching, or with school and community renovation. During your free time, go snorkeling or diving, embark on a cycling or trekking tour, explore temples and waterfalls, and much more! IVHQ's trips to Ubud and Lovina, Bali start from one week at a very affordable $295.
Have you always wanted to visit Africa? If so, IVHQ may have the perfect volunteer opportunity for you! Travel to central Cape Town or to nearby Table View and immerse yourself in South African culture while volunteering on impactful initiatives.
In Cape Town, you can choose between childcare, teaching, computer training, sport development, or surf outreach volunteer trips. If you decide to volunteer in Table View, check out IVHQ's Surf, Skate & Swim volunteer program, which supports students from low-income communities. Other Table View volunteering opportunities include kindergarten, special needs care, sport development, and the Holiday Club project, which keeps students active and engaged during their school holidays. During your free time, you can explore the area, and even take a long weekend to go on a safari or check out the Garden Route. IVHQ's South Africa volunteer programs in Cape Town and Table View start from only $250 for one week.
Embark on an adventure to Costa Rica with IVHQ, where you can choose from several different volunteer programs in San Jose, Manuel Antonio, and beyond! Programs that you can be a part of include:
Childcare and working with children at daycares and schools
Turtle conservation and research
Healthcare at clinics for disabled children, hospitals, and other locations
Construction and renovation
Teaching English at public schools, in homes, or even at a local fire station
Eco-agricultural conservation in the central highlands of Costa Rica
Special needs care for students with intellectual and physical disabilities
IVHQ also offers a Holiday Experience during Christmas and the New Year, where you can participate in a variety of volunteer projects, including working with children and the elderly, planning celebrations for underprivileged children, and sprucing up community centers. And if you would like to gain university credit while volunteering in Costa Rica, check out IVHQ's Spanish Service Learning Course in San Jose!
During your weekends and free time, you’re invited to explore San Jose and other areas of the country, including volcanoes, rainforests, and beaches. Volunteering with IVHQ in Costa Rica starts from one week at only $365.
Volunteer in beautiful Italy with IVHQ! Travel to Naples for two to 12 weeks on this wonderful program, where you can:
Teach English at a public school or after school program
Take part in an after school care initiative that aims to keep children and youth off of the streets
Preserve UNESCO World Heritage Sites around Naples, including archaeological ruins, protected marine life, and more
Provide support to local NGOs working in the areas of community development, child and youth welfare, immigration and migrant support, and human rights (LGBT community)
During your stay in Italy, you will have the opportunity to explore the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area, or even travel to Rome, Mt. Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast, and much more. This program starts from only $685 for your first two weeks in Italy.
IVHQ PROGRAM REVIEW: KAITLYN, GUATEMALA
I volunteered in Guatemala with IVHQ and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had! My program cost less than half of some of the other programs I was looking at and gave me more than those programs did - from the great food at meal times, to the actual program and the pickup at the airport and lots of options for support if it was needed!! Overall IVHQ is amazing and they are definitely the organization to volunteer with!
Founded in 2011, Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) offers among the world's most affordable placements for travelers who would like to volunteer in childcare, English teaching, wildlife conservation, community projects, and mental health projects in Africa and Asia. PMGY prides itself on transparency and accountability, with all programs personally inspected and vetted by the PMGY team to ensure project safety and to be certain that you will be matched with an initiative that complements your skills and interests. Since 93% of PMGY's participants are either solo or female, this organization is a great fit for people who will be volunteering alone and want to meet other like-minded travelers. And with recognition such as the Shell LiveWire Grand Idea Award, Thailand Green Excellence Award, and Special Recognition from the United Nations in Sri Lanka, Plan My Gap Year is a wonderful organization to check out if you want to make sure you’re helping with sustainable, impactful projects.
Plan My Gap Year Opportunities to Check Out
Located in Ambalangoda, the Southern province of Sri Lanka, this program invites you on several different volunteer experiences, including child care, English teaching, medical care, turtle conservation, and much more. As PMGY’s most popular destination, there’s plenty of opportunity for exploration, adventure, and impactful volunteer work that you can take on in Sri Lanka. This program starts on the first and third Saturday of every month, and is based in a gorgeous island beachside location. You can stay from two weeks to over six months, and depending on the project you sign up for, your first two weeks abroad cost only $400.
Another wonderful opportunity to check out with Plan My Gap Year is their Bali, Indonesia volunteer program, where you can care for children in need, teach English in a classroom, and much more. Bali is also featured in PMGY’s Ultimate Round the World Tour, which takes you to 9 different destinations over 36 weeks. Based in Tabanan, PMGY’s Bali volunteer program is extremely affordable, starting from just $330 for your first two weeks onsite.
If you have always dreamed of visiting Africa, PMGY has many different meaningful volunteer projects in Ghana, including supporting disabled children, teaching English, providing medical care, and even helping out with mental health and psychology initiatives. As a volunteer, you’ll be based in an urban neighborhood of Kumasi, and have the chance to visit Cape Coast, Elmina, and Mole National Park. This program starts from only $375 for your first two weeks in Ghana, and you can stay up to six months, depending on the project you sign up for.
Travel to Vietnam and work beside NGO professionals as a Plan My Gap Year volunteer, and gain experience in marketing and promotion! Put your writing and social media skills to great use while you learn about economic, environmental, and social issues in the developing world. If you have an affinity for graphic design or web development, your fresh new ideas and energy can make a difference with NGOs in need of extra help with fundraising, marketing, and more. Program fees start at only $435 for two weeks, and you’re invited to stay up to six months.
If you’re more interested in visiting India, join Plan My Gap Year in Haryana and be part of a program that provides computer and vocational training for young women. Through this initiative, these women have a greater chance of employment and education success in what traditionally is a male-dominated community. Everyday skills that you may take for granted - such as sewing, arts and crafts, and even basic numeracy and English language - can help overcome cultural barriers, make new friends, and help these women build bright futures for themselves and for their families. Program fees start at just $330 for two weeks, and you can stay up to six months.
Maximo Nivel is Volunteer Forever’s top-ranked program with over 250 reviews and a perfect 5-star rating. Their programs are very affordably priced, starting at just $595 (for one week) and appeal to a broad base of participants from high school students to graduate students and working professionals.
Maximo Nivel was founded in 2003 and has hosted over 25,000 participants for its volunteer abroad, internship abroad, study abroad, Spanish Immersion, Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Semester Abroad, and High School Abroad programs. Maximo Nivel offers its projects in three countries in Latin America: Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.
Whether you’re looking for a one-week adventure or a full gap year experience, Maximo Nivel is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a high-quality, affordable, and enriching experience in Latin America.
Maximo Nivel Opportunities to Check Out:
Right now, Maximo Nivel is offering TEFL certification courses for travelers who want to teach English and gain new skills abroad. You’ll start with an intensive, four-week, accredited certification course in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru (online courses also are available), after which you’re free to look for paid teaching abroad placements.
Maximo Nivel provides lifetime job-seeking support for their alumni, and even hires three to five graduates each month to work as teachers in their Native English Program in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. There are lots of different types of teaching opportunities Maximo Nivel will help you find, including business English teaching, private tutoring, school teaching, and much more, depending on your skills and interests.
On this two-week volunteer adventure, you’ll spend five days volunteering, and six days traveling in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. A few volunteer projects you can take on include working with kids, teaching English, construction, conservation, animal care, or medical / healthcare.
For the tour portion of your trip, you’ll go zip lining, touring on a catamaran, hiking through a national park, visiting waterfalls and volcanos, and much more, depending on which country you decide to visit. This is an excellent opportunity to combine international community service, learning, and adventure.
If you're currently studying education, secondary education, or a related field at your college or university, you are invited to take part in Maximo Nivel’s education internship abroad. Through this placement, you’ll work alongside professional teachers to gain insight into teaching in classrooms for early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school students. ESL-specific placements also are available.
You're invited to stay for a minimum of four weeks and can expect to work four to six hours per day Monday through Friday each week. As an intern, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity observe classroom instruction and management, help with planning and conducting lessons, learn about Latin American culture, and develop your teaching and leadership skills.
Maximo Nivel also offers a micro business internship for students interested subjects such as business development and management, marketing, sales, client services, accounting, and much more. For four weeks, you'll work with a local company or entrepreneur in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru to assist with marketing, client needs, administrative work, and other tasks that can help keep the company running, scale it appropriately, and set it up for success over the long-term.
You must have intermediate Spanish language ability to apply, and you’re encouraged to enroll in Maximo Nivel’s online Spanish class or native Spanish program to gain the language skills you’ll need to be successful on your internship.
Maximo Nivel Program Review: Alexa Hart
“I went to Cusco, Peru on a one-way ticket back in 2009 and had the time of my life. Maximo was a big contributor to my positive experience. I volunteered with underprivileged kids and helped paint a battered women's shelter. I also took inexpensive Spanish lessons with them.
The accommodation they provided was great (I recommend Arcopata Family House). I lived with fellow participants of the program in a house and was provided really good meals. When I got sick, they had a doctor come to the house to check on me and give me medicine too.
After volunteering, I became TEFL certified with them during a 4-week course. All in all, I was very impressed, and I would recommend them to anyone. The experience changed my life."
Founded by a brother-sister team, Love Volunteers is a low-cost international volunteer organization that provides meaningful, life-changing projects in over 34 countries around the world.
Every year, thousands of Love Volunteers from all over the globe are placed into 1 week to 6 month projects in Central and South America, Asia, Africa, The Middle East, and Europe. A few of Love Volunteers' popular locations include:
Love Volunteers’ volunteer abroad programs start at just $175 for a one week placement along with a one-time $249 registration fee when you submit your application.
Love Volunteers offers 120 community-based development programs in healthcare, education, sports and coaching, law and legal assistance, social services, engineering and architecture, special needs, construction, environmental protection and in many more areas.
We LOVE Love Volunteers because it is an affordable volunteer program with lots of options in terms of placements.
Love Volunteers Opportunities to Check Out
Through this program, volunteers work in multiple schools in the city of Arusha. Volunteers are especially needed to English and as such, volunteers should consider a TEFL course prior to volunteering (though this is not required by the program).This program starts at one week for $175.
This program is located in Kathmandu in order to assist people with disabilities. Volunteers in this program help the participants in the special education program to develop technology skills, develop their conversational English skills, and the life skills needed to live an independent and dignified life. This program at 1 week for $195.
Based in Surin, this volunteer trip invites you to provide care for elephants that have been abused and neglected as tourist attractions and for logging work. As a volunteer, you can help to create a safe place for elephants to live full, peaceful lives in their natural habitats. This program starts from one week at $619.
Another excellent trip you can take with Love Volunteers brings you to Costa Rica to help save sea turtles from extinction by assisting in hatcheries, helping with conservation projects at the beach, releasing hatchlings into the sea, and patrolling hatching grounds. This trip starts from one week at $349.
Love Volunteers Program Review: Delaney and Jordan
"Love Volunteers is such an amazing organization. I can't stress enough how kind and helpful they were doing the whole trip process. They were happy to answer any question I asked, and made the process as smooth as possible. I would recommend Love Volunteers to everyone. I can't thank them enough for helping give me this opportunity. It easily was the greatest experience of my life, and I can't wait to do it again."
Agape Volunteers is a registered UK charity that offers high-quality, low-cost travel experiences throughout Africa. This organization specializes in volunteering, tourism, and development work in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, and Maasai-land. For 10 years, AV has supported humanitarian efforts and environmental conservation - projects range from medical volunteering, to teaching, to volunteering with wildlife, and program costs include registration and administration fees, as well as travel insurance, in total making Agape Volunteers the lowest-cost option if you want to volunteer in Africa.
All Agape Volunteers participants are covered by the Agape Travel Policy, provided at no extra cost, and accommodations, airport transfers, food, and orientation are included in the program fee. Orientation and full health and safety briefing are provided to all newcomers, as well as a city tour.
Agape Volunteers Opportunities to Check Out
If you have completed at least one year of medical school, or are a qualified nurse or doctor, you can work with Agape Volunteers on the Kenya medical program. This is a great opportunity to use and develop your medical training, while saving lives with healthcare teams in the clinics and hospitals of Kenya. Your duties vary depending upon your experience level. Shadow professionals during your first few days, then perform basic procedures under supervision, including distributing medicines, dressing wounds, and assisting with births. Outside of volunteering, enjoy side trips such as safaris, beach weekends, mountain climbing, cultural city tours, and more. Fees start at £590 for one week.
Share your love for animals and help to support endangered species on a wildlife conservation program in South Africa. This memorable experience invites you to contribute to the protection of lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, and hyenas at Marakele National Park. You will monitor the movements and behaviors of animals, and take part in anti-poaching activities, such as looking for suspicious tracks, reporting low-flying aircraft, joining sleep-outs, and even flying on a microlight to check the reserve. Other tasks include invasive plant removal, road restoration, trash removal, fire control, game capture, and bush clearing. Stay two weeks or longer on this program starting at £1,530.
Volunteer with Agape to provide HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness and care to needy populations in Kenya. As a medical volunteer working five days a week, you'll be helping to support the burdened healthcare teams on the ground. Volunteers are encouraged to take part in the HIV Testing and Counseling Course (HTC), an internationally-recognized qualification provided by local universities. The course helps to ensure safe testing techniques, and provides a useful qualification for your future medical career. Costs start at £590 for one week.
If you need help navigating all of your choices for international travel, check out Abroadly, Volunteer Forever's new booking platform that helps you find and apply for meaningful volunteer trips, long-term service projects, internships, and TEFL certification and teaching placements.
Abroadly partners with reputable, vetted organizations worldwide and features more than 150 programs in the fields of child and youth development, construction and community development, education, health and medicine, human rights, sports and recreation, and wildlife and environmental conservation.
By applying through Abroadly, you’ll have free access to Volunteer Forever’s crowdfunding platform, and enter for the chance to win a $500 scholarship - and your application fee is 100% refundable if you are not accepted into the program of your choice.
Join Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica for a conservation project, supporting biologists and researchers at a sea turtle nesting site on either the Caribbean or Pacific coast. Tasks include patrolling the beach at night for nesting turtles, relocating turtle nests to hatcheries, counting eggs and turtles, tagging turtles, and more.
If you’re physically fit and at least 17 years old, sign up for two weeks at the beach and take an active role in saving turtles from extinction. Earn a letter of recommendation and an official certificate of volunteer service when you’re finished. Free time can be spent exploring San Jose, trekking in the cloud forests, swimming at beaches, and enjoying the shops and restaurants in town. This placement starts at $1,105 for your first two weeks, and you’re invited to stay longer. Learn more and apply here!
If you have an intermediate level of the Spanish language, consider helping school children in San Ramon improve their English-speaking skills on a trip abroad with uVolunteer to Costa Rica! You’ll work directly with students, focusing on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Tasks include planning and carrying out lesson plans, testing and grading students, and practicing English during one-on-one lessons, all with the guidance of a qualified teacher. By exposing students to conversational English, you’ll help them with a skill that can land them a job in tourism or business.
On days off, tour the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden or the Cloud Forest Reserve. Ride horses along the Arenal Volcano or tour the coffee plantations. San Ramon also has numerous museums, restaurants, and shops for short trips out and about. Program fees begin at $245 per week, with a minimum of three weeks required - you can also stay up to three months. Read more and apply here!
Join a medical volunteering program in Cusco with Volunteering Solutions and spend two weeks or more working in Peru’s hospitals, health clinics, and medical centers. You’ll shadow local medical practitioners and help to provide compassionate care to people in need. Gain valuable experience working with professionals abroad, and spend your weekends and free time exploring ancient sites, including the world-famous Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Fees start at $845 for two weeks. Read more and register here!
Gain experience and insight into Indonesian healthcare when you travel to Bali and volunteer with a medical program offered by Plan My Gap Year. Assist in a hospital that cares for 500 patients per day, observing treatment in the areas of general surgery, intensive care, maternity and midwifery, pediatrics, prenatal, general medicine, outpatient, and public health. Opportunities for specialized programs are available as well, and during your stay you’ll learn how traditional Balinese beliefs work in tandem with Western medicine, and the importance of culture in patient care.
Spend days off touring nearby ruins, spiritual sites, and temples, or taking yoga lessons. Sample the amazing food at local restaurants and shop at street markets. There are many organized side trips, including a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Program costs start at $684, and you can stay for two weeks or more. Learn more and apply here!
Spend a week or more in Costa Rica teaching English to the children of Playa Jaco with Love Volunteers. This opportunity places you in a classroom as a teacher’s assistant, improving students’ speaking skills, helping to plan lessons, and organizing games and activities. Add new skills to your resume and engage in fun intercultural exchange with eager young students.
Jaco is a booming beach town close to San Jose, and features surfside shops and souvenir stands, as well as restaurants and bars. Go on a catamaran cruise, take surf lessons, or be adventurous and go on a zip-line tour in the pristine rainforest of Carara National Park. Program costs start at $608 per week, and you can stay for up to 12 weeks. Read more and register here!
Programs run year-round so you can choose your own dates, and with excellent staff support and a unique hassle-free approach, Projects Abroad takes care of everything for you so that you can focus on having a meaningful experience with a long-term impact. Volunteers can choose the trip they are most passionate about with programs in 30 destinations across the globe and a variety of fields including Care, Medicine & Healthcare, Teaching, Conservation & Environment, and much more!
Projects Abroad Opportunities to Check Out
An international medical internship with Projects Abroad is an ideal way for students to learn clinical, procedural, and cross-cultural skills. As an intern, you will develop an active role and work alongside qualified professionals in their field as you shadow local doctors in hospitals or clinics and participate in medical outreach programs in rural communities providing medical check-ups or treating minor injuries. You can also earn academic or community service credit from your school.
You don’t need any previous experience to join Projects Abroad’s Medical placements in Ghana. Available fields include: Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Public Health, Physical Therapy, and Pharmacy.
Working abroad with children living in Nepal is one of the most rewarding activities you can experience, as well as an excellent opportunity to give back while exploring a beautiful country. Join a Care project in Nepal with Projects Abroad and make a strong impact in the lives of children in underprivileged communities by giving them the attention and love they need. You do not need previous experience or local language skills and you can join for as little as one week!
If you are passionate about marine wildlife, this is your chance to get up close with one of the most endangered and misunderstood animals in the world – sharks! Projects Abroad’s Shark Conservation project includes a PADI Open Water Dive course to help so you can help conduct important research on shark conservation as well as mangrove reforestation and shark education initiatives.
Projects Abroad Program Review: Blake, Moldova Project
“I had the opportunity to volunteer abroad this summer for five weeks in Moldova with Projects Abroad. Having volunteered abroad numerous times with various organizations, this was one of my best experiences by far.
The staff at Projects Abroad Moldova went beyond my expectations and made this placement such a success. In fact, their preparedness and hospitality really sets them apart from other organizations. When I first arrived until the day I left they were in contact with me every day to make sure that everything was going smoothly and that I was comfortable with everything from going to work alone everyday, to working in my placement to getting along with my host family.
In fact, they placed me in one of the best host families that I have ever had the opportunity of staying with. I was well taken care of! I had my own room, access to multiple bathrooms and a shower daily. The food was the best food I had while in Moldova and the host parents were very friendly and hospitable. The best part about Projects Abroad Moldova is that they make you feel not only welcomed to Moldova, but a part of their country and as if you are family.
I strongly recommend this organization to anyone!”
Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) is an international volunteer organization that was started in 2006. Since then, they have hosted over 10,000 volunteers in projects across 20+ countries, including popular destinations such as Nepal, India, Thailand, South Africa, Peru, and Costa Rica.
In addition to their 120+ volunteer projects, Volunteering Solutions also offers intern abroad opportunities, the highlight of which are their international medical internships.
Volunteering Solutions Opportunities to Check Out:
Right now, Volunteering Solutions is offering several different medical internships in Nepal, India, Peru, and Thailand. As a medical or healthcare intern with VolSol, you can choose from projects focusing on nursing, medical care, dentistry, and physiotherapy while earning hands-on experience in your field.
Depending on your placement, you can work in local government or private hospitals and clinics, and you’ll have the amazing opportunity to work alongside local medical and healthcare professionals to learn about their practices. Internships can be customized to your university requirements, and you’ll earn a certificate of participation upon successful completion of your program abroad.
Internships start from two weeks at $650, with your program cost varying based on which placement you sign up for. Learn more about medical internships with Volunteering Solutions here.
If you’re passionate about human rights, check out Volunteering Solutions’ NGO support and human rights volunteer program in Rabat, Morocco. As a volunteer, you’ll work with local organizations that confront a variety of important social and political issues, including human rights, children’s support, women’s rights, education, skilled learning, government accountability, and much more.
Depending on your background, skills, and what’s needed by your program site, you can assist with marketing, planning community events, helping with reporting and documentation, and assisting with development activities at your partner NGO. You’re invited to stay one week or longer, starting from just $410 for your first week in Morocco. Click here to learn more and to sign up.
Another excellent volunteer program being offered right now with VolSol is their sports coaching project in South Africa. Through this placement, you’ll coach sports, teach life skills, and encourage healthy habits among children at a local primary school.
During your stay, you’ll help lead three physical education periods per day, while assisting teachers with their lessons and guidance in classrooms in between those periods. If you’re creative, flexible, and ready to be a mentor to students in South Africa, this program is for you! You’re invited to stay two weeks or longer, starting at just $495 for your first two weeks in South Africa - learn more about coaching sports here.
Volunteering Solutions Program Review: Sarah, Thailand Elephant Program
“I participated in the Elephant Camp Program in Chiang Mai in Summer 2015.Before arriving in Thailand, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous , however after arriving in Chiang Mai, everything went smoothly. I dad a very informative orientation session with the local team. The Chiang Mai city tour was fab too!
My 3 weeks stay at the elephant camp was definitely the highlight of my Thailand trip. I enjoyed meeting other volunteers from around the world and getting involved in different tasks at the elephant camp. On the weekends, we enjoyed our time in Chiang Mai thoroughly exploring the night market, going to Doi Suthep and other plenty of Thai temples. I would definitely recommend doing the Elephant Camp project in Chiang Mai. ”
If you’re looking for a volunteer experience that’s unique, exotic, and off the beaten path, look no further than Fronteering. With volunteer and internship projects located in 14 different countries, Fronteering offers impactful programs for travelers who want to visit unspoiled locations and make a positive difference in environmental conservation, wildlife research, indigenous communities, and more.
Fronteering’s volunteer and intern abroad opportunities start at an affordable $695 for your first week onsite - and if you’d like to stay longer, the organization also offers placements up to 24 weeks.
Fronteering Opportunities to Check Out:
For four to eight weeks, you’ll have the chance to feed, groom, and walk huskies, help with ranch maintenance, go dogsledding and snowmobiling (if you’re volunteering in the winter), clear and prepare dogsled tracks, and more. Located in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, or the Yukon, this program is excellent for volunteers who love animals and the outdoors, and starts from $1,395 for your first four weeks.
If you’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon, Fronteering invites you to help with bush dog research and monitoring in the rainforest, with tasks such as setting camera traps, collecting data, helping with community activities, performing research, and much more. This opportunity starts from one week at $695, and you’re invited to stay up to six weeks to help further research, get to know the community, and rough it in the Amazon Rainforest.
Through this program, you’ll delve into the jungles of Guyana to help an indigenous community create a sustainable, eco-friendly infrastructure through construction, maintenance, wildlife research, and more. And depending on your skills and background, you can also teach IT skills, build wildlife viewing camps, and much more. You’re invited to stay two to eight weeks, starting at $1,695.
Founded in 1997 by Richard Walton, Global Vision International (GVI) is an award-winning organization that provides volunteer and internship opportunities in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. GVI has sent more than 25,000 volunteers overseas on programs ranging from construction, to animal care, to education, and beyond with 95% of past volunteers stating they would want to travel again with them again.
GVI is unique from other volunteer programs in three ways:
*They operate their own volunteer projects to ensure real, sustainable impact on the ground
*They provide 360 degree support before, during, and after your placement
*Their alumni network provides increased access to higher education and career development opportunities
GVI's differentiators and their emphasis on volunteer safety make the program very appealing to first-time international volunteers and teen / high school / under age 18 volunteers. Their projects start from one week and can last up to one year. Projects mix community service with global and cultural awareness to inspire and encourage volunteers to continue learning and serving even after they’ve returned from their trip. Lastly, many of their alumni end up working for GVI full-time, so if you are looking for a meaningful, international career, you should definitely check out a GVI project!
GVI OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
Through this program, you’ll work with local research team to track animals, study behavior, and learn more about the wildlife of South Africa. You’ll get started with a training session to get you acquainted with the project and the types of animals you’ll study, and from there work day-to-day tracking wildlife, conducting research, assisting with data entry, and even participating in community education about conservation. This program starts from two weeks at $2,390.
If you’d like to visit Asia, GVI has an amazing opportunity right now in Thailand to volunteer with elephants that have been rescued from working in the tourist industry. Through this program, you’ll help rehabilitate elephants and work with trainers to care for the animals, and may even help with community education and outreach programs. This amazing project starts from one week at $1,840.
Through this placement, GVI invites you to teach English to Buddhist novice monks in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site close to the Mekong river and other gorgeous areas. You’ll work directly with monks in a temple school and learn about Lao culture, history, religion, and much more. This program starts from two weeks at $1,890.
On this project, you’ll travel to Caqalai Island in Fiji to work with a local NGO in collecting data on fish species, mapping coral reefs and mangrove, developing an environmental education and awareness program for local schools, and assisting with the development of best practices in conservation on the island. For the first part of your project will start with an initial training phase, where you’ll learn to identify fish and coral species through a series of dives with guidance from GVI staff. This program starts at $4,000, and you’re invited to stay from four to 24 weeks.
Through this program, you will have the chance to earn PADI Advanced and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver qualification while working alongside marine researchers in the Seychelles. Five days per week, you will go snorkeling or diving to conduct underwater surveys, and can also expect to participate in training sessions, marine debris surveys, environmental education sessions, and more. This marine research program starts from four weeks at $4,100.
GVI Program Review: Amelia, Costa Rica Community Development Program
“I was in need of a career break, and was looking to do something out of the ordinary. I was looking to get far away and do something worthwhile. After some heavy research GVI continued to be the organization that ticked all the boxes.
They were incredibly helpful when I was choosing my location, and the onsite assistance and support throughout the entire journey was fantastic. I was so lucky to be involved in the Community development program of El Cocal, the children were amazing, I made some friends for life and hopefully one day soon I'll return for a visit! It really was an unforgettable experience!”
The Intern Group offers customized international internships worldwide, inviting participants to explore exciting places and develop new networks as they build their career. Founded in 2011, the Intern Group places more than 2,000 travelers abroad annually with programs in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Its mission is to develop an innovative and culturally-sensitive new generation ready to address the issues that affect the world today and tomorrow. In addition to professional internships and visa assistance, the Intern Group provides access to development workshops and tools, professional career training, social and cultural events, quality housing, and 24/7 support.
The Intern Group Opportunities to Check Out
Create an amazing portfolio when you join the Intern Group in London, working in the field of art, photography, and graphic design. From magazines to fashion companies to marketing firms, the Intern Group can place you on a program that will kickstart your innovative career in design. Choose from a family homestay or a shared apartment, and enjoy cultural events such as Afternoon Tea service, a river cruise and a visit to the London Eye attraction, and a West End Theater night. Program fees begin at $4,852 for six weeks, with stays up to six months. Read more here and start your application today!
Travel on an international medical elective in Latin America, and experience the diverse and evolving nature of global healthcare. You’ll need a basic understanding of Spanish to begin, and either a minimum of two years studying medicine at college, or clinical experience. Prior to starting your elective, you can opt to take a two-week Spanish language course in Colombia. Once in-country, you’ll be able to interact with patients and learn more about medical treatments in the areas of accident and emergency, general surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, clinical medicine, and psychiatry. Stay for two weeks or longer, with fees starting at $2,490. Learn more and apply here.
Combine professional development with cultural immersion on a corporate internship in Tokyo, one of the most important cities in Asia and the industrial hub of Japan. Choose a corporate program with the Intern Group that lets you excel in the fields of commerce, finance, engineering, communications, or innovation. During this internship, you’ll have the chance to gain vital professional experience and industry exposure on a global level. Cultural events that you can check out include a day trip to Mount Fuji, a visit to the Tokyo Tower, a tour of the Tsukiji market, a sushi workshop, and a Japanese food tasting. Fees for this program start at $4,774 for six weeks. Stay up to six months and add language lessons to your internship. Read more here and apply today!
Channel your ambitions to preserve the planet through an environmental sciences and sustainability internship with NGOs that partner with the Intern Group. Meet like-minded travelers from around the world on this international placement that gives you hands-on experience in the field on science-focused research. Fields that you can focus on include geology, geography, wildlife preservation, environmental engineering, hospitality and tourism, eco-business, and science. If you’re a young professional looking to stand out from your peers, an environmental internship spent abroad could be the perfect vehicle. Add a Spanish language course to your internship at one of the best universities in Colombia – Universidad EAFIT. Program fees start at $3,620 for six weeks, with stays available up to six months. Click here to learn more and apply!
Since 2006, GoEco has offered very affordable volunteer programs and internships that includes travel insurance in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. With more than 150 different projects, GoEco is a great organization to check out if you’re looking for a variety of impactful trips to choose from. GoEco was recently recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad, Top Eco-Enthusiast by Greenmatch, and has been recommended by USA Today, the Today Show, Huffington Post, and many more. As a volunteer, you’ll have 24-hour support from GoEco, plus travel insurance is provided for most projects that you’ll sign up with (this is a special perk that very few volunteer programs offer).
On this program, you will travel to South Africa for two weeks to three months to volunteer in a sanctuary for orphaned or injured animals. Volunteer tasks focus on construction at the sanctuary and hands-on care for animals such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, hippos, and hyenas. Outside of volunteering, you will be able to explore the beaches of Cape Town, visit Addo Elephant National Park, take a wine tour, and much more. Click here to sign up!
Another impactful volunteer opportunity you can sign up for with GoEco invites you to New Zealand, where you’ll help with a variety of volunteer projects, including tree planting, erosion and salinity control, seed collection, construction and maintenance of walking tracks, conducting flora and fauna surveys, and much more. This is a wonderful way to explore a gorgeous country while learning about and contributing to valuable conservation efforts - learn more and apply here!
On this program, you will work with Desert Days, an eco-lodge built by hand from mud and local materials - as a volunteer, you’ll help with construction and maintenance of the eco village and learn to use sustainable materials to create cabins, benches, sitting areas, and decorative patterns. You also can help out with renovation, cleaning, gardening, repairs, cooking, and preparing huts for eco-tourists. Outside of volunteering, you can relax by the pool, explore regions such as Eilat and Jerusalem, and take yoga lessons. Click here to learn more and to register!
A Broader View Volunteers, a US nonprofit charity, was founded in 2007 by Sarah and Oliver Ehlers. Their team sends more than 5,000 volunteers each year to 245 programs across 25 countries, and has raised and distributed more than $3 million in donations worldwide.
A Broader View’s goals are to provide developing countries with volunteer assistance while educating those volunteers about the communities in which they serve. Projects can include wildlife conservation, childcare, teaching, and more, and start from one week at $745, depending on the location and placement. Many of their projects are offered year-round, which provides you flexibility in terms of your start date.
A Broader View is one of the best rated programs on our site and has over 150 positive reviews on Volunteer Forever!
A Broader View Opportunities to Check Out
Volunteers in the Quito Hippotherapy program assist with rehabilitation and recreational programs with horses for those with mental or physical disabilities. Through this placement, volunteers feed and groom horses, prepare them for and handle them during therapy sessions, and may provide horseback riding lessons to the general public. Gardening and canine therapy placements also are available. Placements range from one to 12 weeks and start from $895. Volunteers must have intermediate Spanish knowledge, and immersion courses are available for those that would like to gain a greater language proficiency.
In this conservation program, volunteers work in reforestation, organic farming education, and sustainable growth at a Peruvian national park in the Madre de Dios region. Projects can include flower inventory, research, replanting, clearing holes, animal rescue, and other tasks. This program lasts one to 12 weeks and starts at $895. Spanish language background isn’t required, but is helpful while assisting on community outreach programs.
Volunteers in A Broader View’s Social Welfare program assist a local center that cares for children from 18 months to five years old, and that educates single mothers about child care, nutrition, and hygiene. On this placement, volunteers help provide lunch, assist in the kitchen, teach preschool lessons, and play games with the children. This program starts from two weeks at $995.
Based in the Bulenga community, this program provides the opportunity for volunteers to support two healthcare centers that offer maternity, ultrasound, and contraceptive services; treatment for malaria, typhoid, and diarrhea; infant care; antenatal care; and HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. Volunteers also assist with outreach and education for expectant teen mothers within the community. This program starts from two weeks at $995.
A Broader View Program Review: Logan, Honduras Medical Program
“I had a great time in La Ceiba, Honduras. I did not feel unsafe or threatened at any time. My work was great and fulfilling at both the old hospital and the school. My host family was excellent and accommodating, and the food – especially the local food – was very delectable.
“All of the people, from the children to the patients at the hospital were very nice and respectful. I had a lot of fun with the other volunteers and I highly recommend being outgoing and personable… it will make you life way easier if you can hang out with friends and commiserate after a long day of work.
“I had very good Spanish entering into the program, but after 2 weeks of immersion my Spanish is crisp and fluent; I truly valued the ABV experience as a life-changing event. I am willing to speak with others about my experience.”
Global Volunteers works in 16 countries worldwide, placing families, groups, couples, or individual travelers on meaningful projects in the areas of mentoring children, teaching English, assisting with health care, community gardening, and building development. Founded in 1984, Global Volunteers has connected more than 34,000 volunteers of all ages with impactful programs on six continents. The organization is led by experts in human and economic development, and its in-country managers are highly educated nationals. Its sustainable programs are developed through community-based partnerships. Global Volunteers was granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations in 1999, and has partnered with UNICEF since 2008. Program contributions and travel costs are tax-deductible. First-time volunteers are eligible for deep discounts from Global Volunteers on a limited basis. Ranging from $50 to $500, discounts are available for full-time students, groups, and even for early registration. Earn $100 credit for referrals, with no limit on the number of referrals. Alumni volunteers appreciate the $200 discount when traveling on international programs, and the $50 discount for U.S. programs with Global Volunteers. Read more about how you can save money traveling abroad with Global Volunteers.
Join Global Volunteers in the Cook Islands working directly with NGOs to improve the overall quality of life in this romantic paradise. Partnering with community leaders and social service agencies, your days will be filled with a variety of projects, such as tutoring children, improving computer literacy, and painting and repairing community buildings. Your organizational skills may be used to help with book cataloguing, grant writing, accounting, and bookkeeping. With a rare insider perspective behind the scenes of Cook Island, you will be directly involved in helping this community thrive. This program is for you if you like waking up to adventure and wondering how you can make a difference in this South Pacific island. Your free time will be spent enjoying the tropical breezes, breathtaking beaches, exotic foods, and rich culture of this island paradise. You’re invited to stay one week or longer, and program fees begin at $2,695. Learn more and apply here.
Viva Cuba! As a volunteer in Cuba you'll be immersed in the uniqueness that makes this island nation vibrant and alive! Bursting with unique art, music, culture,and food, the list is long. Cuba will give you back all that you give to its people. You will be one with the community, engaged in their humanitarian efforts to improve their quality of life. The projects available to you range from using your entrepreneurial skills to help women sell handmade items, to cooking lunches for elders, or working with farmers to cultivate bountiful crops. Conversations will have more meaning and depth when you are teaching others how to speak English. No experience is needed. Imagine the difference you will make sharing your knowledge and wisdom. This project is about immersing yourself into a robust, spirited life, and enjoying the people. If you can see and feel yourself in Cuba for a week or more, fees began at $2,995 and itineraries include lodging, food, local transportation, project materials, and a trained team leader. Click here to learn more and to register.
Greece, with its rugged coastline and scenic seaside communities, is calling. If teaching English, or advocating for women’s and children’s rights, is your passion, then a travel opportunity in Crete may be perfect for you. Volunteers here are working on three different projects. With the Children’s English Summer Camp, you will teach children conversational English through fun activities. The second project is classroom tutoring, and the third is teaching pronunciation to adults at the Union of Women Association Heraklion, an NGO that protects the rights of women and children. No teaching experience is necessary. Greece is ancient, and you'll feel the grandeur of humanity’s past as you explore Greek history in your free time. Visit Knossos, Europe’s oldest city and largest Bronze Age archaeological site. One- and two-week itineraries are available, including lodging, food, local transportation, and project materials. Trained team leaders are available year-round. Contribution fees start at $2,795 for one week. Read more and apply here.
Since 1989, Global Works has combined community service, cultural exchange, language immersion, and adventure for an incredible travel experience both for students and groups. To date, more than 10,000 travelers have signed up with Global Works, which offers summer service adventures for high school students and custom group travel for educators, schools, and private groups.
Trips run 8 to 21 days, and can focus on Global Action community development projects, conservation, language immersion, and pre-med or public health. And with destinations such as Cuba, Fiji, Spain, Nepal, and beyond, Global Works has lots of amazing opportunities worldwide for adventurous travelers who want to have fun and effect positive, impactful change in the communities they visit.
GLOBAL WORKS OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
On this 8-day program, you’ll have the opportunity to travel throughout the San Jose Central Valley and Tortuguero Beach while learning about Central American culture and lifestyle. You’ll start with an orientation, and from there you’ll visit a sustainable coffee farm and take an overnight rafting trip on the Pacuare River. For the volunteering portion of your trip, you’ll take a tour of a leatherback sea turtle hatchery, patrol beaches at night for nesting turtles, and even kayak through Tortuguero National Park. You can also extend your journey with Global Works’ Costa Rica La Pura Vida Program if you have some more time to travel.
After the earthquake of 2015, there’s much need to help Nepal rebuild - and as a volunteer, you’ll have the chance to help repair classrooms and facilities in Bandipur. You’ll start with a trip to Kathmandu, with a visit to Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, and more. Then you’ll travel to the village of Bandupur to volunteer for five days, where you can assist with rebuilding, participate in exchange activities with the school children, and much more.
Once you’ve finished the volunteering portion of your trip, you’ll travel to Chitwan, Nepal’s best wildlife viewing park, where you can see tigers, elephants, sloth bears, and many more exotic animals. And to finish your 16-day trip to Nepal, you’ll visit Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, and have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Buddhist monks in training.
On this 13-day adventure, you’ll get to experience Fijian lifestyle, embark on an eco-adventure, and take part in a service project within the local community. You’ll start with a stay at an eco-resort on Fiji’s Sunshine Coast, where you’ll get to know your fellow volunteers, and help with volunteering activities at a school. After that, you’ll stay with a local family in a rural mountain village while immersing yourself in Fijian culture and helping with other community development projects, which may include building nurses’ stations, restoring classrooms, teaching English, or planting trees. After volunteering, you’ll travel back to the Sunshine Coast where you’ll take a boat excursion, a SCUBA course, a waterfall hike, and much more.
Founded in 2004, African Impact offers volunteer trips, teach abroad placements, and internships in 12 countries throughout Africa. So far, more than 12,500 travelers have signed up with African Impact, with another 2,000 expected to embark on adventures this year. A few programs you can sign up for focus on animal conservation, education and community support, children support, sports coaching, and much more. Having earned recognition such as the Imvelo Award for Best Social Involvement as well as GoAbroad’s Innovative New Program Award, African Impact is a wonderful organization that offers 24-hour onsite support where you can help with quality programs with sustainable and measurable goals.
African Impact Opportunities to Check Out
For two weeks or longer, you’ll have the chance to monitor and study the African Big 5 (leopard, rhino, lion, buffalo, and elephant) and help local researchers and foundations with protecting endangered species. Based in the game reserves of the Greater Kruger Area, your volunteer tasks can include researching animal behavior and movements, helping with reserve conservation work such as clearing brush and maintaining waterholes, compiling data at the research lab, and much more to help understand animal behavior and maintain a healthy ecosystem. Learn more here!
On this program, you can teach English and other skills to children and adults, help members of the Maasai tribe through literacy projects, lead income-generation sessions with a women’s group, and much more. Located near Mount Kilimanjaro, this volunteer opportunity lets you be a part of building stronger communities through education and support. This volunteer trip lasts 10 days or longer, and is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Tanzanian culture while contributing to valuable development initiatives. Click here to learn more!
Khaya Volunteer Projects has been pairing volunteers and interns with worthy projects in South Africa since 2005, and has since expanded to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. When you volunteer through Khaya, you'll have many affordable volunteer projects to choose from, including education, healthcare, animals, sports development, and working with children.
To ensure the best volunteer experience possible, Khaya will work hard to pair you with a project that suits your interests and talents. Once onsite, you'll have access to a project facilitator who can help you, answer questions, and assist when needed. All your meals, housing, and travel from the airport (once you arrive in-country) to the project site will also be provided, so the only thing you'll have to worry about is making the most of your experience.
You can apply to Khaya’s volunteer opportunities in Africa through our sister website, Abroadly. Abroadly only features vetted and ethical volunteer projects. By applying to Abroadly, you get automatic access to exclusive travel scholarship opportunities and a free crowdfunding platform to fund your trip. In addition, Abroadly serves as your trusted advocate between you and your program before your trip, including getting a refund of your deposit in case you apply to a volunteer project and are not accepted.
KHAYA OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
The children’s hospital in Cape Town is designed to care for children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access healthcare services. As a volunteer at the hospital, your days will be packed with activity and excitement as you work alongside the nursing staff while they carry out their daily duties. Your responsibilities may include meal preparation, handing out toys, managing donations, cleaning, helping nurses with computer literacy skills, attending to minor medical matters, and brightening up the children’s days with reading, singing, and games. In your free time, you're welcome to explore Cape Town, visit the parks, learn about the history and culture at the museums and historic sites, and experience everything else this beautiful coastal city has to offer. Learn more about the Children's Hospital project here.
The primate rescue project in Limpopo takes place at a wildlife rehabilitation and conservation center that’s dedicated to caring for and rehabilitating orphaned and injured vervet monkeys, bush babies, and Chacma baboons. During your time in South Africa, you'll work with staff, field guides, other volunteers, and local veterinarians as you help with maintaining the grounds, cleaning cages, repairing and building enclosures, preparing food, feeding the animals, and creating enrichment tools. Your accommodations are equipped with a bar, swimming pool, pool table, and other features and amenities that will help you enjoy your free time when you're not exploring the wildlife reserve or caring for the animals. Click here to learn more.
SAVE Volunteering operates or assists volunteer projects in six countries throughout Africa, including South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi. Since 2006, they’ve paired volunteers with projects such as home and school building, conservation efforts, skills training, education and literacy initiatives, teaching, working with animals, and more. SAVE also aims to provide community-based organizations with the tools and knowledge necessary to carry out their own efforts and projects. The goals of SAVE include setting up and running sustainable development programs, assisting other nonprofit organizations, and giving volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore a new country, meet new people, and give back at the same time.
SAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
SAVE’s medical internship in Cape Town is a great opportunity for anybody who’s interested in healthcare and looking to pursue a future in medicine. While you're here, you'll shadow nurses, doctors, and technicians in a variety of hospital wards, departments, and clinics, such as psychiatry, the HIV/AIDS center, and the X-ray department. When you're not busy at the hospital, you'll be able to immerse yourself in the wonders of Cape Town, including checking out the local bars and restaurants, going on walking tours, learning about the history of South Africa, visiting the markets and malls, seeing the sights from the top of Table Mountain, exploring the waterfront and harbour front area, and relaxing on the beaches. Learn more and apply to this medical internship.
This wildlife conservation and rescue program in Hartbeespoort, South Africa is ideal if you love animals and want to get some hands-on experience working with and caring for creatures of all shapes and sizes. Some of your tasks may include working with rescued elephants and monkeys, learning about anti-poaching efforts in the area, maintaining cheetah enclosures, rehabilitating injured and rescued owls, and helping out at a nature reserve. Plus, you'll have a chance to volunteer with a community organization that cares for abandoned, neglected, and abused animals, including wildlife, pets, and farm animals. In your spare time, you'll be able to enjoy the sights of Magaliesberg Mountain Range, where you’ll find your accommodations in the heart of a wildlife reserve, and where you'll be able to spend time at the swimming pool, on the squash and tennis courts, or hiking through the nearby trails. Click here to learn more about this conservation program.
Camp Thailand offers travelers an unparalleled opportunity to participate in some fantastic adventures and also to give something back along the way. For students, gap year students, career breakers, teachers, and avid travelers alike, Camp Thailand invites you to explore Thailand in a way that many others never get to see, while also meeting incredible people and making cherished memories. Volunteer responsibilities during the three-week camps include teaching English, organizing activities for local children, and helping out at an elephant conservation village. And at Camp Thailand, the focus is just as much on play as it is on work, so you can also expect to go bamboo rafting, Thai dancing, Muay Thai boxing, on an outing to a water park or adventure park, and more.
CAMP THAILAND OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
Phuket is a breathtaking island that’s surrounded by beaches and stunning scenery. During your time in this tropical paradise, you'll take Thai language lessons, teach English at summer camps and in schools, and even earn your TEFL/TESOL certification. A week into the trip, you'll take a voyage to an elephant care program, have time to enjoy a pub crawl along the Bangla Road entertainment district, and enjoy a sunset barbecue on the beach. When you're not busy teaching, other things you'll be able to do and see include having a beach party, seeing a fire show, visiting Krabi Town’s night market, going on boat tours and snorkeling excursions, and otherwise enjoying the wonders of the island. Click here to learn more and apply.
Students in the medical field will have trouble finding a program that offers the same quality of extensive learning, excitement, and adventure as the Gap Odyssey Healthcare Program. Located in Buriram, Thailand, this is the perfect opportunity for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in training. In addition to working in a local hospital on a wide range of projects that complement your skill level and training, volunteers also get to experience life in a Thai city, which includes city tours and days off to explore the culture at its core.
The paid teaching internship through Camp Thailand in Bangkok is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn your TEFL/TESOL certification and gain real-world experience teaching English in Thailand.
This journey begins in the comfort of your own home with a 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL certification. While you may also take the course onsite, many volunteers choose to start at home. Open to any NES (Natural English Speaker) with a Bachelor's Degree in any subject, this program offers guaranteed five-month, 12-month, or longer paid internships in Thailand. During your time teaching, you'll have many chances to explore the surrounding areas, get familiar with Thai culture and learn the language, visit nearby temples and markets, make new friends, and create memories that you'll cherish forever. Learn more and apply here.
Cha-Am Beach offers some of the most beautiful and captivating scenery in Thailand. In addition to completely immersing yourself in Thai culture and the gorgeous views, you’ll also be making a huge impact on the area by teaching English at local schools. Throughout your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some planned excursions such as bike rides, a trip to a fabulous water park, and more. There are also beach parties and free days to enjoy your spare time when you’re not working with kids on their English. This project is best suited for people over the age of 18 or those who are looking to gain their TEFL/TESOL certification onsite in Thailand.
A nonprofit UK Charity, Globalteer receives rave reviews from volunteers who have participated in projects that focus on children and communities living in poverty, as well as projects supporting animal welfare and conservation. Founded in 2006, Globalteer partners with community groups and NGOs in developing countries to place volunteers on impactful programs. Globalteer supplies volunteers with pre-travel advice to ensure safety on placement, and has a company Health and Safety Policy plus in-country project staff that are able to provide assistance if needed.
Volunteers’ backgrounds range from students to retirees, from teachers to business professionals. Medical workers and gap year travelers also flock to Globalteer, attracted by its goal to promote sustainable development, humane behavior towards animals, and relief of poverty. As a 100% not-for-profit organization, Globalteer puts your program fee toward charitable objectives that encourage sustainable development, conservation, and other important global initiatives - Globalteer also is a member of Keeping Children Safe, and is vetted by Global Giving.
GLOBALTEER OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT
Immerse yourself in Peruvian culture, learn a new language, and trek to Machu Picchu all while helping disadvantaged children with Globalteer’s Picaflor House Community Project! Picaflor House in the Andes Mountains provides after-school care to the children of Oropesa and neighboring villages, providing homework help, reading comprehension, and math classes. As a volunteer, you’ll assist staff in English lessons, teaching arts and crafts, playing games, and organizing sporting events. Volunteers work from 1:00 to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, with all weekends off. Fees for this volunteer project begin at $399 for one week.
Work alongside inspirational teachers through Globalteer’s placement with Helping Hands Cambodia, giving underprivileged children of Siem Reap an opportunity to forge a strong future. As a volunteer, you will assist staff with English classes, foster better health and nutrition habits, and more. Your help can encourage children from poor villages to stay in school, go on to university, and acquire well-paying jobs - all of which goes toward breaking the cycle of poverty for individuals, families, and their communities. You’ll work between four and six hours per day, Monday through Friday, assisting teachers, helping out with arts and crafts, sports and games, supervising children on excursions, cleaning classrooms and playgrounds, and helping out with general maintenance. You also can combine placements through Globalteer at the Cambodia Community Project, Women's Empowerment Project, Clean Water Project or the Food and Farming Project. Program fees for one week begin at $459.
Travel to the tropical Peruvian Amazon Rainforest to aid in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sloths, monkeys, birds, and other wild animals. Stay at the animal sanctuary for an immersive and life-altering experience. Volunteers work about five hours per day, six days per week, assisting project staff in food preparation and feeding of rescued animals, helping to exercise the animals, and repair and cleaning of enclosures. Program fees for this conservation project begin at $665 for one week.
Founded in 2004, Global Leadership Adventures provides teen and high school programs abroad that combine community service with hands-on learning and adventure. With an emphasis on safety - outlined in Global Leadership Adventures’ five-point safety system - this organization sends thousands of travelers to nearly two dozen countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America every year.
As a leader in youth development, Global Leadership Adventures has a database of nearly 2,000 references willing to vouch for the impact of their programs - and in fact, GLA’s co-founder was recognized by President Obama for making a positive impact in Africa.
Global Leadership Adventures Opportunities to Check Out
On this spring break program, you’ll volunteer with rural communities in the Dominican Republic and learn about their challenges in accessing daily necessities. A few projects you can take on include building schools and community centers, assisting in reforestation or water filtration projects, or building vertical gardens or clean-burning stoves. You’ll also have the opportunity to check out the beach, explore freshwater lagoons and caverns, and much more. This eight-day program costs $1,899 - click here to learn more and to register.
Another amazing program you can sign up for in the Dominican Republic is Global Leadership Adventures’ Global Health Initiative. Perfect for students who want to pursue an education in medicine or public health, you’ll meet with community leaders to discuss health, sustainability, and education, assist traveling doctors and Peace Corps volunteers with their work, and lots more. On the adventure portion of your trip, you’ll zip line through the jungle, hike through waterfalls, and explore coral reefs on a snorkeling expedition. This 14-day program costs $3,399 - learn more here.
If you’re passionate about protecting animals and their natural habitats, check out this program in the Galapagos Islands, where you can help to restore the habitat of native wildlife. On Isabela Island, you’ll volunteer in a tortoise breeding center, and on San Cristobal Island, you’ll help to clear invasive species to allow tortoises and birds to re-inhabit the area. You’ll also be able to go snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and hiking during this two-week program. Click here to learn more.
GLA also invites you to Ghana, where you’ll teach children in a village primary school or orphanage, make bricks for construction of new facilities, and play soccer and other team games and sports with the kids. You’ll also learn about Ghanaian culture through workshops in cloth dyeing, drumming, and local Ewe or Krobo language - and you’ll have the opportunity to meet with local tribe members and chiefs to learn about religion, social construction, and much more.
During the adventure portion of your trip to Ghana, you may have the chance to explore mountains, hike waterfalls, and explore outdoor markets. This 21-day summer trip costs $4,999, and is an amazing way to spend your summer break. Click here to learn more and to sign up!
Founded in 1984, Raleigh International offers volunteer programs for youth and young adults in Nepal, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. Programs focus on clean water and hygiene, sustainable use of natural resources, and community building. So far, 400,000 youth volunteers have traveled with Raleigh International, with another 800 expected to sign up this year.
With a commitment to youth leadership and engagement, Raleigh International helped design and currently holds the BS8848 Safety Standard for organizing and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside of the UK. If you’re in high school or college, taking a gap year, or recently graduated and looking for a way to make a difference, Raleigh International offers a wide variety of volunteer projects with a real impact led by multicultural and multinational teams.
Raleigh International Opportunities to Check Out
One of Raleigh International's expeditions brings you to Nepal. Based in a rural village in Gorkha, you will be able to make a difference by volunteering with an initiative to improve access to safe water and sanitation. This is especially important in an area where 85% of homes were affected by the devastating earthquake of 2015 - as a volunteer, you will help with digging trenches, laying pipes, and awareness-raising to help those living in this community lead healthy lives. As part of this expedition, you also will have the chance to go trekking in the foothills of the Ganesh Himal mountains. Learn more here!
Founded in 2009, Global Nomadic offers affordable volunteer opportunities and internships for travelers who want to build new skills and enhance their careers overseas. By signing up with Global Nomadic, you will make a difference and ensure your efforts are sustainable and impactful by working alongside local NGOs on projects relating to your degree or career goals, with transparent placement costs and the opportunity to speak directly with your in-country coordinator when you register.
GLOBAL NOMADIC OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT:
Based in Arusha, this program invites you work with a local NGO and legal aid clinic that assists people with special needs or who are less fortunate or otherwise marginalized. As an intern, you will work alongside experienced staff and lawyers and assist in consultations, raise awareness of human rights, and much more. This program also provides support to women’s groups, widows, children, and orphans. A few areas you can focus on during your time in Tanzania include accounting, advocacy, journalism, IT, fundraising, organization development, and research. During your free time, you’re invited to visit Mount Kilimanjaro, take a safari, check out Ngorongoro Crater, or just relax on the beaches of Zanzibar. This internship starts to $1,180 for your first month - learn more and sign up here!
If you’re interested in marine conservation and wildlife, check out Global Nomadic’s manatee rehabilitation internship in Belize. For one month or longer, you will have the chance to work with the region’s only manatee rehabilitation center to care for orphaned and injured manatees. Your tasks can include food preparation, support during transfer between pools, medical checkups, monitoring behavior, cleaning pools, and responding to calf strandings elsewhere in Belize. In addition to your work, you can go diving, explore Mayan ruins, visit a jaguar preserve, and much more. This internship in Belize starts from one month at $850 - register here!
Earn your TEFL qualification and get paid to teach English in Costa Rica! On this program, you will complete your TEFL certification, which covers lessons in learning styles, instructional methodologies, classroom management, and much more. After completing your training course, you will have the wonderful opportunity to become an English teacher at a public or private school in Costa Rica (or beyond) - you can expect to teach for two semesters during the academic year, with teach term lasting about five months. To sign up, you must be able to commit to two months of training and in-classroom experience, be a native English speaker, and be able to teach a minimum of 20 hours of English each week. This program costs $3,200 for eight weeks, or $2,800 if you already have TEFL certification and would like to gain more experience before starting your English teaching placement in the classroom. Learn more and apply here!
Naturally Africa Volunteers (NAV) coordinates sustainable, community-centered projects throughout Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana , and Namibia. Their projects tend to run from two to twelve weeks and are perfect for volunteers who are seeking shorter term opportunities in Africa. Naturally Africa Volunteers seeks to solidify its change on two levels-- by coordinating high-impact, well-researched volunteers programs and by supporting its international volunteers from the moment they join the project.
NAV is dedicated to making sure that each international volunteer has the best experience possible and is able to work in close conjunction with communities across the continent. Volunteers are currently urgently needed in Malawi to assist with medical care, childcare, teaching, and sports coaching. Participants from Volunteer Forever are eligible for a reduced program fee that starts at an affordable $925 for a two week placement, which includes your room & board, transportation (including airport pickup), and contribution to the host community.
Naturally Africa Volunteer Opportunities to Check Out:
Naturally Africa Volunteers supports programs in many areas of interest, including volunteer teaching, medical volunteering, sports coaching, community outreach, and wildlife and conservation. Volunteers who are interested in a short-term volunteer project (2-3 weeks) will especially be interested in NAV’s Wild Coast School Project, which places volunteers in underfunded rural South African schools supporting full-time staff and volunteers. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with students aged 6-14 promoting computer literacy, often through traveling through rural schools alongside state-of-the-art technology education equipment including laptops that the students usually lack access to.
Naturally Africa Volunteers Program Review:
"My time in Malawi was amazing. Meg, Sam and Aug were the main reason. They provided a balanced view on how to go about my role as a volunteer. I can not describe how inspired I was by the whole trip and the staff at the cottage.
The structure of the project was brilliant. You can clearly see the priorities. Keeping a good relationship with the village population and the elders was their main focus. Providing amazing support to the wound clinics, HIV support groups, nursery and home based care groups was incredible. I am very lucky I was part of the development of the different village I visited.
At the weekends I got to experience other parts of Malawi. Like the landscape and culture outside the village. I wish I could have stayed for longer. I hope to return to Malawi in the near future. - Maria, March 2015"
Founded over 25 years ago, Frontier combines community development, capacity building, ecosystem protection, economic growth, and the development of civil society through collaboration between local communities, researchers, and volunteers of all ages.
From their first program in Tanzania - a marine park still operating today, developed in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund - Frontier has expanded to include more than 400 projects in 72 countries around the world.
This nonprofit scientific research organization employs dedicated staff who have been published in more than 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals - and whether you’d like to take on an internship abroad, volunteer project, gap year, or teach abroad / TEFL program, Frontier is a fantastic way to travel the world and make a positive impact.
FRONTIER OPPORTUNITIES TO CHECK OUT:
On this program, you’re invited to gain practical research and conservation experience while helping to conserve the natural habitats of Costa Rica’s wildlife. Costa Rica has one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, and your work will be vital to protecting it and ensuring endangered animals have a place to thrive. A few activities you’ll take part in include beach patrols to research turtle nesting habits, surveying and collecting data on big cats, walking primate transects to collect data on different species, and more. This program starts from one week at $1,445.
Through this placement, you’ll have the opportunity to aid conservation research on Beqa Island, Fiji. You’ll locate and map coral reefs, conduct a reef census to discover which species live there, assess coral bleaching and damage, record marine life feeding habit observations, and much more. This research is provided to local stakeholders, research groups, and government entities to help develop plans for protection of the island and its marine ecosystem. This project starts from one week at $2,095.
Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 animal species in need of protection from deforestation, encroachment on natural habitats, and poaching. On Frontier’s animal rescue project in Costa Rica, you’ll volunteer in a rescue center that provides a sanctuary to animals that have been injured or that have been rescued from captivity, with the goal of reintroducing them into the wild. You’ll work alongside local staff to care for the animals - such as monkeys, sloths, raccoons, and other wildlife - and educate visitors about wildlife protection and environmental conservation. This program starts from two weeks at $1,145, plus $395 for each additional week if you’d like to stay longer.
If you want to go off the beaten track, take a look at this marine conservation program in Madagascar, where you can dive nearly-untouched coral reefs while studying marine life and providing valuable research into sustainable management of the island’s natural resources. A few tasks you’ll take on include charting coral reefs, recording healthy fish populations, identifying different species in the reef, studying how fishing communities utilize marine resources, and more. This volunteer program starts from one week at $1,745, with PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training available at an additional cost.
As one of the newer volunteer abroad programs featured here, Volunteering Journeys got its start in 2014, and is growing quickly as an impactful volunteer organization in India, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Bali.
Volunteering Journeys’ founding story informs and inspires the work carried out by its team and travelers every day: after quitting her career as an investment banker in London, founder Ridhi Patel took time off to volunteer for three months in South Africa in 2009. This life-changing experience encouraged her to develop a volunteer organization in her home country of India, where she could bring together travelers who wanted to explore the world, give back to the communities that welcomed them, and learn more about themselves along the way.
Volunteering Journeys prides itself on personal attention for all participants, tailored travel experiences, high-quality service, and placements that actively engage scientists, doctors, teachers, and community leaders. And programs are generally affordable, starting at less than $1,000 for two-week placements in community development, medical care, wildlife and marine conservation, and even summer and gap year programs, as well as family programs.
Volunteering Journeys Opportunities to Check Out
Based in Southern Sri Lanka, this program invites you to coach sports at a local school, orphanage, or community center to encourage teamwork and development for children and youth who are in great need of support. As a volunteer, you’ll help children in an underserved community develop self-confidence, hone their talents, and develop lifelong friendships through playing cricket, volleyball, badminton, netball, and other games.
A few ways you can help include organizing sports clubs, planning coaching sessions and matches, running warm-up routines and stretches, teaching rules and regulations of different games, and much more. During your weekends, you’re invited to visit the beach, go diving or surfing, or even visit the cities of Colombo and Galle.
Another amazing program to check out is Volunteering Journeys’ winter and summer volunteering program in India. For three weeks, you’ll embark on an immersive and adventurous experience that will let you explore and learn about India and its culture. Your first two weeks will take you to Kerala, where you’ll volunteer to teach English, work with disabled children, or support a women’s empowerment programs - through your help, you can help develop life skills and confidence among those living in an underserved community. During your third week, you’ll go on a Golden Triangle tour of North India, where you will visit Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, including a stop at the Taj Mahal.
Founded in 2010, Reach Out Volunteers provides fun, high-impact volunteer programs designed to make a difference in impoverished communities, help endangered wildlife, and to immerse volunteers in a new culture. To date, about 3,500 travelers have signed up with Reach Out Volunteers, with an additional 1,000 expected to embark on trips this year. With a focus on local solutions to local issues, Reach Out Volunteers places travelers on projects created by the communities they serve, ensuring long-term program success. Trips with Reach Out Volunteers start at one to two weeks, at $1,499 for your first week abroad - this includes airport pick-up and drop-off, ground transport, food, housing, excursions and activities, project materials, educational materials, and much more.
Reach Out Volunteers Opportunities to Check Out
On this two-week program, you’re invited to Peru, where you’ll explore the incredible city of Cusco, the Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu. As a volunteer, you’ll work alongside a local village to build greenhouses, which help to extend the short growing season to boost the community’s food supply. This is incredibly helpful for families whose children otherwise would suffer from malnutrition. During your trip, you’ll visit local artisans, take a cooking lesson, take a walking tour of Ollantaytambo, and much more.
Another excellent volunteer opportunity to check out is Reach Out Volunteers’ Cambodia Village and Elephant program, where you can spend two weeks volunteering at a local school, visiting temples, and working at an elephant sanctuary. You’ll start with an orientation and tour of Siem Reap, followed by a few days of renovation work for classrooms. After that, you’ll visit Angkor Wat before continuing on to the elephant sanctuary, where you’ll feed elephants, build dams to create baths for the elephants, learn about how the sanctuary protects these animals, and lots more.
If you’re looking for a longer stay abroad, take a look at Reach Out Volunteers’ South Africa Volunteering Adventure, which invites you to work at a daycare center while exploring and pursuing adventure on a 35-day program. Your volunteer project will take part at a local crèche, or day care center, where you’ll help with building new classrooms, assisting with lessons, and much more. You’ll also have the chance to visit a Zulu village, visit a cheetah rescue and rehabilitation center, help with elephant patrol and rhino monitoring initiatives, and many other tours and projects that will give you a truly immersive experience during your stay in South Africa.
International Service Learning (ISL)
Founded by Michael Birnbaum, ISL’s mission is “To support cultural awareness, service-based learning, and sustainable development projects through experiential and responsible volunteer travel programs that inspire local and global service.” ISL has provided healthcare and other services worldwide for more than 20 years while giving volunteers experience in pre-health, pre-dental, medical, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and veterinary programs. Programs start at $995 depending on the project length and location.
ISL Opportunities to Check Out
This program invites volunteers to provide healthcare services to rural communities while embarking on multi-day hiking trips. This program is perfect for groups, with a minimum of eight participants required. Most volunteers on the Hike for Humanity program are healthcare students or professionals, though this isn’t a requirement. Hike for Humanity programs take place over two weeks and cost $1,895 to $1,995.
Mexico and Belize: Nursing Program
Based in Baja, Mexico and Belize City, Belize this nursing program invites volunteers to work alongside global health agencies, local health ministries, and other NGOs to support local clinics and community health programs. Placement on the Mexico program starts from one week at $1,050, and placement on the Belize program starts from two weeks at $2,280.
This program provides health checks and education for underserved children in developing communities. Volunteers work alongside medical practitioners to promote long-term health and wellness within their communities by performing home visits and pediatric care within a field clinic. Volunteers of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply--no healthcare experience or certifications are necessary for this program. This year, Well Child International teams will work in Mexico and Nicaragua. Programs start from one week at $965.
ISL Program Review: Brandon, Belize Program
“I'm not usually one to give 5 stars across the board, but my experience with ISL to Belize was honestly the best experience of my life. The Belize staff welcomed us with open arms and by the end of the trip, we were starting to feel like family rather than acquaintances from different countries.
In addition, from the planning and organizational efforts of our state-side reps, our welcome at the Belize City airport, and our sad departure for home, everything was so incredibly perfect! Definitely recommend a trip through ISL! As students at The University of Toledo, we even created a student organization based around ISL trips specifically because we love them so much. We'll be sending 3 groups out for the first time ever in May 2015!!!”
International Student Volunteers (ISV)
Since 2002, ISV has provided volunteer and adventure travel programs to more than 30,000 students across six continents. Programs range from conservation, to education, to infrastructure development and beyond, and in addition to ISV’s standard volunteer programs, students are welcome to join for internships and college credit supported by more than 300 universities worldwide. Volunteer programs through ISV start at $3,695, depending on the location. To learn more about International Student Volunteers, be sure to read our program spotlight article on ISV.
ISV Opportunities to Check Out
South Africa: Children’s Programs
ISV partners with local organizations to support children who are poor, orphaned, or otherwise vulnerable. Volunteers with this program may teach English and assist with after-school programs, and on some placements, will educate teenagers about HIV/AIDS prevention. Some projects may include light construction work as well. This project costs $3,995 and lasts four weeks, with a two-week volunteer project and two-week adventure tour.
Thailand: Environmental Conservation
Through this program, volunteers work with ISV to preserve endangered Asian elephants. In one placement, volunteers help care for elephants have been rescued from forced labor, have been orphaned, or have been displaced due to tourism threatening their natural habitat. Through another placement, volunteers work at a sanctuary for old, sick, disabled, or abused elephants by promoting health and well-being of the animals and maintaining their habitat.
For each conservation program in Thailand, volunteers assist with community and tourism outreach, education, and development. This project costs $3,995 and lasts four weeks, with a two-week volunteer project and two-week adventure tour.
ISV Program Review: Ryan, Thailand Environmental Conservation Program
“I cannot leave a review capable of expressing the impact that volunteering with ISV has had on me. I spent this July in Thailand working at the [Elephant] Nature Park and with the local villagers of Ban Lao on conservation of the species and learning about responsible tourism. This was my first experience outside of the U.S. and what an eye opening experience it was. If you are looking for an organization to travel and volunteer with, you won't do better than ISV.
“The people are caring and driven. You will learn, you will work hard, and you will play hard. The last thing I want to say is, go into this with an attitude that you're going to do this, no fail. It's a lot of money to raise, but persistence is the key. Show people you are driven and committed and you will get there. If you tell yourself that will accomplish this task no matter what, trust me you will. Put the good foot on it. Get out there and see the things worth seeing. Do the things worth doing.”
Founded in 1993, International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) is one of the world’s leading TEFL and TESOL course providers for aspiring English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. If you are a native English speaker and want to earn a living abroad, this is a great opportunity as your skillset is in very high demand around the world.
ITTT provides training through an online course, in-class courses in 27 different countries, and a combined course, with more than 7,500 graduates each year. With worldwide accreditation for their TEFL courses, ITTT offers lifetime job support for their graduates - including exclusive leads on unadvertised jobs, unique databases of potential employers, CV and resume review, cover letter assistance, contract consultation, and interview preparation.
Online courses start at $249, in-class courses start from $1,490 for four weeks, and combined courses start from $1,195.
ITTT provides high-quality, internationally accredited online TEFL courses for students of all learning styles - meaning you can earn TEFL certification at your own pace, with or without tutor support, and from the comfort of your home. Through this program, you can earn TEFL certification in Teaching Business English, Teaching English to Young Learners, and even an advanced Diploma in TEFL. Courses range from 60-hour introductory programs, to 50-hour specialized classes, to 250-hour TESOL diploma classes. Online classes are open to learners aged 17 or older, and you must be a native English speaker or fluent in English to start.
ITTT also offers in-class courses to receive TEFL and TESOL certification in more than 25 locations in 15 different countries, such as Australia, China, Greece, India, Japan, Spain, and beyond. These courses start from $1,495 for a comprehensive four-week program, which is divided into six main areas: teaching practice, foreign language experience, language awareness, student profile, teaching techniques, and a materials project.
One in-class course you may want to check out is ITTT’s TEFL Costa Rica program. Through this placement, you’ll visit Costa Rica’s gorgeous Pacific coast, where you will learn to teach English while also exploring beaches, jungles, and much more. Demand for English teachers is high in Costa Rica, so once you’ve completed your course, you’re welcome to apply for TEFL positions in any of the cities around the country.
If you’ve always wanted to visit Japan, ITTT also offers a course in Tokyo. During your stay, you’ll earn a TEFL certificate in one of the world’s most high-tech and fast-paced metropolitan areas. And once you’ve completed your certification, ITTT will provide job support to help you quickly find a placement teaching ESL in Tokyo or beyond.
If you’d like to mix your online training with in-class experience, check out ITTT’s combined courses, which start with a 120-hour online education program, followed by one to two weeks of onsite training. This course costs $1,195, and allows you to study at your own pace with assistance from a highly-experienced personal tutor.
For the online portion, you’ll learn about language awareness, teaching theory, and general methodology. Once that’s complete, you can choose to take a five-day in-classroom course in one of more than a dozen locations in the US or Canada, or an eight- to 10-day program in Spain, Thailand, Italy, France, or the United States. You’ll receive full TEFL certification after successfully completing both portions of the combined course.
Founded in 2006, Connect 123 offers tailor-made international internships, volunteer programs, and study abroad placements in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. Through completely customized travel opportunities, you can focus on healthcare, human rights, social work, education, sustainable development, marketing, entrepreneurship, fashion, and much more.
All of Connect-123’s placements are hosted by local organizations - schools, NGOs, hospitals, and more - and with flexible start and end dates, you’re invited to sign up year-round. Connect-123 also provides housing support, orientation, weekly events and socials with fellow travelers, and emergency support, ensuring that you have the best experience abroad possible.
Connect 123 Opportunities to Check Out
Not all volunteer opportunities are in developing countries - for a great example, check out Connect-123’s Dublin, Ireland volunteer and internship programs! For example, you can work in a children’s hospital or help care for the elderly, help out at a shelter for abandoned animals, work with asylum seekers or help with advocacy campaigns for human rights defenders, and much more.
If you’re interested in an internship that will help boost your career, there’s lots to choose from: from architecture, to marketing, to microfinance, project management, or web development, you’re sure to find a wonderful opportunity in Dublin. Learn more and sign up here!
If you’re a pre-med student, medical student, or healthcare professional, you’re invited to visit Cape Town, South Africa for an internship that will help you gain new skills and help to build your career in medicine or healthcare.
A few opportunities available right now with Connect-123 include providing non-medical care to pediatric patients, assisting with medical research, and helping with public health-related programs, which may include vaccine impact assessments, childhood accident prevention campaigns, and much more. Click here to learn more and apply!
Founded in 1983, Rustic Pathways strives to provide innovative and responsible travel experiences for students and educators worldwide. By combining education, travel, and philanthropy, Rustic Pathways offers meaningful trips for high school and college students interested in adventure, service, and cultural immersion. With decades of experience from on-the-ground staff, unparalleled commitment to safety, and a dedication to making travel affordable (offering more than 100 scholarships each year!), Rustic Pathways is a wonderful organization where young travelers can make a difference.
Rustic Pathways Opportunities to Check Out
If you’re up for a Southeast Asia adventure, check out Rustic Pathways’ Mekong Expedition, where you’ll travel to Thailand and Laos on a rugged backpacking trip. On this program, you’ll start with one light bag with absolutely-necessary items, plus $50 to purchase clothing over the next three weeks of your travels. During your stay, you’ll visit one village in Thailand and two in Laos, and learn to live like a local while meeting with local NGOs, leaders, and respected elders to learn about their cultures, history, and communities. For the service component of your trip, you’ll volunteer with infrastructure programs, such as construction, landscaping, and farming - this is a wonderful trip if you’re ready to break out of your comfort zone, learn how to live simply, and make lasting memories and friendships. Learn more and sign up here!
Founded in 1995, Cross-Cultural Solutions offers international internships, gap year experiences, volunteer trips, and high school volunteering programs in 9 countries throughout Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Programs focus on important topics such as child development, girls’ and women’s empowerment, and global health. To date, nearly 35,000 volunteers have traveled with Cross-Cultural Solutions (with a 99% approval rating from past participants), which offers year-round presence their host communities, a full-time team of local expert staff to support their volunteers, and among the highest standards of safety and well-being in the volunteer travel industry. This organization has received such recognition as Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, as well as GreatNonprofits’ top award for the third year in a row, and is accredited by the American Gap Year Association.
Cross Cultural Solutions Opportunities to Check Out
Cross-Cultural Solutions offers several different volunteer opportunities in Ghana, including child development, global health, and girls’ and women’s empowerment. As a child development volunteer, you will be able to work with a community group or in a daycare to assist teachers, conduct early education programs, teach English language skills, and more. If you’re more interested in global health, you can provide support with various public health projects including malaria prevention campaigns, vision screening, and oral health campaigns. And as a girls’ and women’s empowerment volunteer, you will play a part in helping Ghanaian women achieve financial independence. Learn more here!
Right now, Cross-Cultural Solutions is offering several different volunteer placements in Dharamsala and New Delhi, India. In Dharamsala, a more rural region of the country, you can help to support children in community centers or daycares, promote oral hygiene in school, help with public health projects, or help women pursue new economic opportunities. In New Delhi, you will have the chance to fight urban poverty by volunteering with children and families in slums and low-income communities through financial development, public health, and childcare.
Another volunteer opportunity you can check out through Cross-Cultural Solution is their program in Morocco, where you can contribute to children’s educational development programs, assist with much-needed support to the country’s healthcare system, and help girls and women develop their leadership skills to build bright futures for their families and create stronger communities. Learn more about volunteering in Morocco here!
P.S. If you're still looking for a volunteer opportunity, check out our list of gap year programs and recommended volunteer projects in Asia, South Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, and Thailand. You can also read about 7 Great Medical and Veterinary Volunteer Abroad Projects, 10 Dental Volunteer Abroad Program and Medical Mission Tips for Pre Dental Students, and nursing volunteer abroad projects for students and nurse professionals. Or, if medical volunteer projects aren't for you, be sure to read about our sports and coaching volunteer abroad, wildlife conservation and veterinary abroad, teach abroad, and intern abroad programs. Lastly, if you're under age 18, you may be interested in a teen volunteer abroad program from one of our many great partners.
Sarah Vandenberg has been a volunteer travel researcher and consultant since 2005, and has volunteered throughout Central America and the Caribbean. She's currently based in Florida, where she runs a communications firm as well as her travel blog, Frayed Passport.
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