(Updated for 2019 trips)
We’ve put together a list of 25 great volunteer organizations that offer cheap, affordable, and low cost volunteer, intern, and teach abroad projects. Many of these projects also work as impactful mission trips for college students.
We feature great organizations such as International Volunteer HQ, which is one of the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad providers, with more than 100,000 volunteers placed worldwide since 2007. IVHQ’s impactful adventures in destinations like Costa Rica, South Africa, Nepal, and Spain start from only $180 for your first week abroad. Choose from projects ranging from teaching, to medical and health, to environment and conservation, and much more!
Plan My Gap Year is another extremely affordable option for travelers looking for transparent and meaningful programs, with trips starting at just $225; they are a really great choice if you will be traveling alone and want to engage in volunteer work with like-minded people. You’ll definitely want to check out their super affordable English-teaching volunteer project in Cambodia. A few other excellent opportunities include volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka, empowering women in India, and getting up close with wild animals in South Africa.
As well, Maximo Nivel is a great choice and one of our top picks not only for their low cost and affordability, but also for their reputation and established history. Maximo Nivel offers programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, and is an especially affordable choice for U.S. travelers who are interested in human rights and education internship programs, which start from $1,525 for four weeks ($381 per week).
Another extremely affordable volunteer abroad organization is Love Volunteers, with projects starting at only $199 for your first week abroad – check out their programs in Nepal, Kenya, and Costa Rica for inspiration!
If you are interested in Africa, then be sure to check out Agape Volunteers! They are one of the most affordable volunteer programs in Africa and don’t charge a separate registration fee unlike most volunteer programs. Furthermore, their program fee also includes free comprehensive travel insurance and weekend adventures, which is a tremendous value that other programs don’t offer. Agape offers great volunteer programs in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Ghana starting at just £510!
Lastly, not only will we showcase cheap and affordable volunteer programs, we will also provide resources on volunteer abroad scholarships and grants, fundraising for a volunteer trip, and getting free airfare overseas.
If you are like many aspiring international volunteers researching volunteer opportunities overseas, you have probably experienced sticker shock by the high cost of volunteering abroad.
Indeed, many international volunteers do not initially realize that the average cost of a volunteer trip is $3,000. Before my first volunteer trip to India in 2012, I was naïve enough to think someone would pay me to participate in overseas volunteer work! The trip cost incurred by volunteers includes a registration fee, program fee, airfare, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other travel costs.
Registration Fee vs Program Fee?
One important note to keep in mind is that many volunteer programs specify a separate registration fee vs the program fee. Think of the registration fee as an application fee, which goes towards the organization’s cost to process your application and place you with one of their projects. The program fee is used for your accommodations, meals, airport pick-up, and other in-country expenses.
We know keeping track of these different costs can be tricky, which is why we showcase several popular affordable projects below from the UK charity, Agape Volunteers, that combine both the registration fee and program fee to help you make a more informed choice about where you want to go abroad. This single program fee from Agape also includes free comprehensive travel insurance and weekend sidetrips throughout Africa!
- HIV Prevention Volunteering in Kenya: £590 for one week
- Medical Volunteer Project in Ghana: £510 for one week
- Volunteer Teaching Project in Tanzania: £695 for one week
Why Pay to Volunteer Abroad?
In terms of why you have to pay to volunteer abroad, international volunteer organizations rely on volunteer program fees and your time and labor to sustain their organizations. The program fee not only goes towards providing you room and board while you are volunteering abroad, but also pays for administration costs such as staff salaries, marketing expenses, and direct funding support to the host community.
You’re also responsible for your own airfare and travel insurance to reduce the volunteer organization’s burden of hosting you. Volunteer organizations differ enormously in terms of the program fees they charge. Some organizations charge a higher program fee so that they can provide first class pre-departure and in-country support to volunteers. These programs – which include summer volunteer programs for college students – may be more appropriate to prospective volunteers (especially first time volunteers) who would prefer to have more support before, during, and after their volunteer trips.
On the other hand, other would-be volunteers may be more independent and require less support during the volunteering process. This article highlights affordable volunteer organizations like International Volunteer HQ whose program fees are $1,000 or less to volunteer abroad for 2 weeks, making it possible to travel abroad cheap. For example, Agape Volunteers offers high-quality volunteer abroad experiences in Africa for £510, which includes your registration fee and travel insurance. While many aspiring volunteers would love to travel and volunteer abroad for free, the needs of volunteer programs and their host communities can make that very difficult. However, this article will show you how to make volunteering abroad affordable.
How We Chose These Affordable Projects
In defining cheap, affordable, and low-cost volunteer opportunities, we exclude well-known volunteer programs such as the Peace Corps (USA), United Nations Volunteers, and Voluntary Service Overseas (UK). While these are wonderful programs, both the Peace Corps and Voluntary Service Overseas require two year commitments, which may not be feasible for students and professionals who are seeking shorter duration volunteer projects. Furthermore, United Nations Volunteers requires a six month commitment and can be a highly competitive program.
We have also included intern abroad and teach abroad programs, since they provide similar experiences to volunteering abroad, but at a lower cost to the participant. Interestingly enougn, you can get certified to teach English as a foreign language and then get paid to travel abroad. Here are ten great international volunteer, intern, and teaching English alternatives that are cheap and don’t require long term commitments; we’ve also included one volunteer abroad program that includes free airfare! Finally, most of the programs we list would work if you’re looking for mission trips. It’s a great time to start volunteering, so read on to learn more about applying to these inexpensive volunteer abroad programs.
Recommended Cheap, Affordable, and Low-Cost Volunteer Abroad Opportunities
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is a global volunteer organization that provides affordable, safe, and responsible volunteer programs in over 50 different destinations across Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. With program fees starting from just $180 and over 100,000 alumni, IVHQ is a trusted low-cost volunteer program that has been able to attract a significant number of volunteers to its programs since its start in 2007. Their article “Best Mission Trips 2019 & 2020” explains how their program has offered impactful trips over the past 12 years.
IVHQ offers 200+ short-term and long-term volunteer options that range from 1 week to 24 weeks in the areas of education, medical, construction and renovation, childcare, conservation, wildlife and animal care, community development and social enterprise. Many of these programs are used as mission trips for college students. Plus, these volunteer placements are available in 50+ destinations, including:
Teaching and Childcare Volunteering
For a responsible way to volunteer with children, be sure to check out IVHQ’s sports education program in Fiji, their childcare program in Cambodia, or their teach abroad program in South Africa! Volunteers on these projects provide support to local staff within schools, childcare centers and community centers to help build capacity and increase access to education for youth. This leads to enhanced opportunities for higher education and improved life and career prospects.
Nursing and Medical Volunteering
For aspiring public health and medical professionals, IVHQ’s medical project in Ghana is a great way to serve others while learning more about the public health and medical fields. Nursing and medical volunteer projects are also available with IVHQ in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Conservation and Wildlife Volunteering
Some IVHQ volunteer projects that you’ll definitely want to check out include their turtle conservation projects in Costa Rica and Bali. There are no shortage of opportunities to volunteer with animals or support conservation volunteering abroad with IVHQ.
As a volunteer on one of IVHQ’s construction and renovation projects, you will be helping to develop new structures for community use, renovating existing community buildings, and improving local infrastructure. As you will be lead by a skilled member of the local team, you do not require any previous experience to participate but a strong work ethic and a willingness to work hard are key requirements.
Since 2011, Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) has provided affordable volunteer placements in Africa and Asia, for travelers interested in childcare, teaching abroad, wildlife conservation, community development, and mental health and psychology. All of PMGY’s international volunteer programs are personally vetted by their team to ensure their projects are safe, and to make sure that you’re matched with a program that complements your skills and interests. 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, which can start from only $225 for your first two weeks abroad.
One program you can sign up for right now with Plan My Gap Year is their project in India, where you can help disabled children, teach English, assist with medical care, work with women’s empowerment initiatives, or even embark on adventure and volunteer programs to explore different areas of this gorgeous Asian country. PMGY’s India volunteer projects are based in Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi, and depending on the project you sign up for, you can stay two weeks or longer starting at only $330. Learn more and sign up here!
Another excellent experience in Asia is PMGY’s Vietnam volunteer program. Through this placement, you will travel to Hanoi to volunteer in childcare, English teaching, or with an NGO tackling issues in health and human rights. Plan My Gap Year also offers a 4-week Real Vietnam Experience, perfect for the summer, where you’ll combine volunteering with adventure as you travel all over the country. As with PMGY’s other volunteer opportunities, volunteering in Vietnam is extremely affordable, starting from just $435 for your first two weeks in-country. Click here to learn more!
If you’re not sure where you’d like to travel, but you’d like to volunteer to support children in need, Plan My Gap Year offers many different opportunities where you can make a difference. Right now, PMGY is offering childcare programs in Bali, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Vietnam. As a volunteer, you can work in a children’s home, daycare center, kindergartens, and beyond to provide education and support for some of the world’s neediest children. And depending on where you travel, you can stay in your host country for one week or longer, starting at $225 for your first week. Learn more and register here!
Morocco’s public schools have some of the highest dropout rates in the world, and due to a decline in government spending on education, literacy rates for 15- to 24-year-olds are as low as 87%. You can help reduce this decline when you volunteer with Plan My Gap Year to teach English, as well as other topics, to children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Rabat. Primary school attendance is at 90%, so your presence in Moroccan schools can influence and inspire younger children to continue their education. Affordable program fees starting at only $225 for one week, with an option to stay six months, makes this an excellent choice for a long-term volunteer abroad experience. Start your adventure here!
Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has provided a wide variety of affordable volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Each program is internationally accredited, with choices including volunteer abroad projects, international internships, native Spanish program, TEFL certification, Spanish camp for teens, and adventure and culture opportunities. Maximo Nivel’s volunteer abroad programs start from just $595 per week, and their intern abroad programs start from $1,525 for four weeks ($381 per week). Each program includes airport pickup, 24/7 emergency support, orientation, certificates, WIFI internet, salsa dance classes, Spanish books and materials, and lots more.
Overview of Volunteer Abroad Programs
Maximo Nivel offers a number of affordable volunteer abroad placements in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Volunteers can assist with childcare, conservation and environment, English teaching, construction, medical care, and non-medical healthcare. Programs start from $595 for the first week, and includes project management, 24/7 in-country support, airport pickup, housing, and two meals per day. Add-ons include a surf school, mini travel adventure, yoga teacher training, and more. To learn more about Maximo Nivel’s volunteer abroad opportunities, visit: http://www.maximonivel.com/volunteers/
Through this construction volunteer program, you’ll have the opportunity to build or repair homes, add classrooms to schools, or even make improvements to orphanages in Latin America. For one week or longer, you’re welcome to volunteer alongside fellow travelers and local workers to make a difference for communities in need.
A few of your tasks will include digging, mixing cement, carrying bricks, preparing adobe, painting, plastering, and lots of other projects to beautify your project site. You can expect to volunteer three to four hours Monday through Friday each week, and the types of projects you’ll take on will depend on the program needs at the time.
This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers who are physically fit, want to get dirty, and want to see the amazing difference you’re able to make in a short amount of time. Depending on the project, your program fee starts from just $595 for your first week abroad. Click here to learn more: http://maximonivel.com/volunteers/construction
If you want to go off the beaten path and make a positive impact in Peru, check out Maximo Nivel’s volunteer program with indigenous communities. This immersive experience brings you to the rural Andes of Peru, just outside of Cusco, where you’ll live and volunteer within a small community tending livestock, assisting with agricultural projects, constructing and repairing buildings, and teaching children in a local classroom. This is another physically-demanding placement, so you should be in good health to get the most from your experience. Click here to learn more about volunteering with indigenous communities: http://maximonivel.com/volunteers/indigenous-communities/
Maximo Nivel invites you to volunteer with local street children and orphans in Guatemala, Costa Rica, or Peru. Volunteers will work as part of locally-based initiatives that provide education support, recreation, and healthcare to children whose families may not be able to care for them, or for children who’ve lost their families. This volunteer opportunity includes 24/7 in-country support, airport pickup, shared housing, and meals, and starts from $595 for one week, with extensions available for travelers who’d like to stay longer. Click here to learn more about volunteering with children through Maximo Nivel: http://www.maximonivel.com/volunteers/working-with-kids/
Maximo Nivel’s animal care program invites you to Guatemala or Peru to work in a dog rescue shelter, an amphibian and reptile rescue center, or a small zoo. Volunteer projects vary depending on your placement, but may include caring for the animals, obedience training for the dogs, feeding animals at the zoo, cleaning cages, hosting visitors, and maintenance at the reptile and amphibian center. This placement starts from one week, and you’ll work Monday through Friday. To learn more about these animal care volunteer programs, visit: http://maximonivel.com/volunteers/animal-care/
Agape Volunteers operates low-fee volunteer projects throughout Africa. Agape’s projects start at £510 and already includes the registration fee and fully comprehensive travel insurance for free, making it one of the most affordable volunteer programs in the world. Agape Volunteers was founded by Oxford graduate, Guillaume Lefevre, in 2011 and boasts a perfect 5-star rating on Volunteer Forever. The program offers volunteer projects in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Tanzania with projects ranging from medical volunteering to volunteering at a wildlife refuge in South Africa. Definitely check out Agape Volunteers if you are looking for a reputable and affordable volunteer abroad trip to Africa.
Volunteer with Agape Volunteers 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 burdened healthcare teams on the ground. We think this project is particularly worthwhile since volunteers are able 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 only £590 for one week and includes free side trips to a refugee camp and a Nairobi city tour.
Music enthusiasts will love volunteering with Agape’s flagship music school in Ghana. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with children who would normally not be provided any music education at all. Volunteers plan and run music classes for students of all ages and work with full-time instructors in order to make use of resources available. Classes are offered in basic keyboarding, singing, and music theory. The school owns several organs, keyboards, an acoustic guitar, a bass guitar, and a battered drum kit that volunteers are able to use as they plan lessons to benefit the students. Costs start at only £510 for one week and includes a free city tour of Accra, Ghana’s capital.
One opportunity that’s great for recent high school graduates on a gap year or currently enrolled university students is their sports program in Kenya. As a volunteer, you’ll work with local football (soccer) clubs and Kenyan schoolchildren. Sports are an extremely important aspect of childhood development as a way to forge friendships, stay healthy, and have fun – and while football is the most popular sport you’ll coach, you’re also welcome to introduce the children to your own games and ideas, and bring along equipment for new sports. You’ll also be able to work in a classroom helping the teachers with their day-to-day activities. Costs start at only £590 for one week and includes free side trips to a refugee camp and a Nairobi city tour.
Love Volunteers is an affordable volunteer organization that provides meaningful, life-changing volunteering abroad programs in 36 countries worldwide. A fast-growing organization, Love Volunteers sends thousands of volunteers from all over the world each year into short- and long-term international volunteering placements in Central and South America, Asia, Africa, The Middle East, and Europe. A few popular destinations include:
- Asia: Nepal, Thailand, Bali
- Latin America: Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador
- Africa: South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania
Depending on what type of project you sign up for and where you travel, placements start from only $199 for your first week abroad. We definitely recommend that you apply to Love Volunteers if you’re looking for an affordable volunteer program or short-term mission trip with lots of options in terms of placements.
Based close to Kathmandu, this volunteer program gives you the opportunity to provide quality education and support to some of Nepal’s poorest children. Schools in this area often are understaffed and suffer from lack of resources, so your time and efforts as a volunteer are greatly appreciated. A few ways that you can get involved include helping teachers with their lessons, providing conversational English instruction to students, and teaching children important life skills and the importance of good hygiene. This program starts from one week at $259.
With multiple locations across Costa Rica, this program invites you to help save sea turtles from extinction by supporting research and conservation work, protecting turtle nests from poachers, helping with egg harvesting and in the hatcheries, and participating in releasing hatchlings into the sea. Outside of nesting season, you can assist with construction and lighting projects to mitigate beach traffic. This program starts from one week at $349.
If you are a pre-med student, in medical school, or if you are a medical professional, check out Love Volunteers’ medical internship in Quito, Ecuador, where you will have the opportunity to learn from and and work alongside local professionals in a hospital, clinic, or care facility. Depending on your level of education and your background, you may observe, assist with basic procedures, or help with other experience-appropriate tasks. This internship starts from one week at $549.
If you would love to travel to Africa, come to Tanzania on this community development program, where you can take part in a wide variety of projects including tree planting, sustainable gardening, to recycling and much more. Other projects that you can help with include education, grant applications and fundraising and community health. This program starts from one week at $199.
A Broader View is a U.S. based non-profit volunteer organization that was founded in 2007 by Oliver and Sarah Ehlers. The volunteer abroad organization has over 245 volunteer opportunities overseas in 25 countries and their projects range in duration from 1 to 24 weeks. With over 100 reviews on our website, A Broader View is one of the highest-rated and most reviewed volunteer organizations on Volunteer Forever.
A two-week volunteer project with A Broader View costs $995 to $1180 and the organization offers volunteer opportunities in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. Please note that A Broader View’s program fees do not include travel insurance, flights, vaccinations, or visa fees.
While A Broader View’s program fee isn’t as cheap as the other volunteer programs mentioned, the organization may be a worthwhile option if there is a specific volunteer project type or destination that you highly desire that isn’t offered by the other organizations mentioned in this article, particularly if you are interested in medical, dental, nursing, and pre-health programs.
Since 2006, GoEco has offered affordable volunteer abroad programs and internships in over 45 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. With more than 170 different affordable programs, GoEco is a great organization to check out if you’re looking for a variety of impactful trips to choose from, from wildlife conservation to teaching English. GoEco was recently recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad, Top Eco-Enthusiast by Greenmatch, and has been recommended by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and more. As a volunteer, you will have 24-hour support from the GoEco team, from start to finish.
On this program, you will join the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to help protect endangered desert animal populations, preserve native wildlife, and educate the public about conservation in the desert. You’re invited to stay two weeks to three months on this project, which starts from only $450 for your first week in Israel. A few of your tasks can include preparing food and feeding animals, cleaning and maintaining reserve facilities, and accompanying and assisting park rangers. Learn more and register here!
Based in Vientiane, Laos, you will make a difference by providing education services and support to underprivileged families and children. The school you will teach at has about 60 students between the ages of 4 and 12, and through your volunteer work, you will teach basic English grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, plus creating fun role-playing games for children to use their English language skills. You also will have the chance to organize extracurricular activities such as sports and games, songs, and arts and crafts projects. This program starts from $520 for your first week in Laos – learn more and sign up here!
If you’re interested in conservation and marine life, and if you’re up for adventure, check out this great white shark conservation program in South Africa! On this trip, you will work alongside marine biologists to track sharks, go cage diving, educate tourists about conservation and biodiversity, go on “chum trips” to bring sharks close to the research vessel to assess populations, and observe whales, dolphins, penguins, seals, and sea birds. If you’re traveling between June and November, you also have the option of volunteering with a whale conservation initiative – and if you decide to stay longer than four weeks, you can volunteer at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. This volunteer project starts from $900, and GoEco recommends a four-week stay to gain the most from your experience. Learn more and register here!
Join GoEco on the beautiful island of Nusa Penida, just off the coast of Bali! Work hands-on with injured sea turtles and release the rehabilitated turtles back into their ocean home. You also will have the chance to teach the local community about the importance of sea turtle conservation. Whether it’s hatching or nesting season, there are always sea turtles in need of your caring hands at this rescue center. Learn more here.
Known for their unique, exotic, and off-the-beaten-path volunteer abroad opportunities, Fronteering has the mission to make a positive impact for indigenous people, wildlife, and the environment. Projects are often in remote, unspoiled locations, making volunteer trips with the organization truly an incredible journey.
Fronteering operates programs in more than 15 countries across the world, including places like the United States, Brazil, Scotland, Ghana, and Indonesia. If you’re looking for cheap, affordable volunteer abroad programs in an exciting destination, look no further: Fronteering is an excellent choice. From helping save the Amazon Amerindian way of life to lemur conservation projects in Madagascar and wild takhi research in Mongolia, you have lots of amazing options.
Ready to look for low-cost overseas projects with Fronteering? Start your search here. And check out the awesome programs below!
Head to a Florida wildlife center located between Miami and the Everglades. There, you’ll help rehabilitate mammals, birds, and reptiles and prepare them for release back into the wild. During the day, you’ll work with local veterinarians and assist with duties like cage cleaning, diet preparation, and maintaining patient records. You can also do some public education outreach.
During free time, explore the region. Miami, with spots like South Beach and sites like Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, is known for its world-class entertainment and arts and culture. Interested? Prices start from $1,495 CAD (~$1,135 USD) for four weeks, with stays up to 12 weeks available. Get even more details here!
Travel to the Rupununi Savannah in Guyana, a savanna plain that is one of the country’s most diverse ecosystems. There, you’ll join the Fronteering team at one of Guyana’s first eco-tourism lodges and sustainable farms. Your primary responsibility will be to help the Amerindian community continue to build a self-sufficient farm and eco-tourism destination. Depending on your interests and experience, you could help out with farming, art and landscaping, hospitality management, and/or librarian work. This is all in an effort to preserve the local way of life and give the Amerindian people an economic alternative to logging and mining (which destroys the local rainforest and environment).
When you’re not volunteering, you’re free to have fun. The Rupununi Savannah is absolutely stunning, and you’ll want to soak up every minute. Interested? Prices start from $1,495 for four weeks, with stays up to 12 weeks available. Get even more details here!
This is a program where you can really make an impact. During the program, you’ll work at one of the world’s largest koala sanctuaries, helping out as an animal keeper assistant. You’ll have close encounters with koalas on a daily basis, and get to do tasks like monitoring the animals, keeping the sanctuary clean and safe, preparing food, and being a guide for visitors. Your work as a volunteer helps ensure the sanctuary runs smoothly and the koalas can live healthy, happy lives.
When you’re not working with the koalas, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Queensland—a state famous for The Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, and other great natural sites. Interested? Prices start from $1,795 for four weeks, with stays up to 12 weeks available. Get even more details here!
Research and compare high-quality and affordable volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs based on what matters to you with Abroadly, Volunteer Forever’s new booking platform that connects you with trusted partners anywhere in the world – through Abroadly, you can find and apply for meaningful service trips for college students and other travelers all over the globe.
Abroadly partners with organizations worldwide that connect travelers with more than 150 unique programs vetted for safety and long-term commitment to ethical and sustainable social impact in the areas of child and youth development, construction and community development, education, health and medicine, human rights, sports and recreation, and wildlife and environmental conservation.
When you apply for a volunteer, intern, or teach abroad program through Abroadly, not only will you have free access to Volunteer Forever’s crowdsourcing platform, but you’ll also be entered for the chance to win a $500 scholarship, which can be used for any part of your travel! Start the search for your perfect trip, with programs starting from only $171 for one week.
If you have an interest in marketing, take a look at this tourism development internship in Yogyakarta, Indonesia offered by GROUND. Based on the island of Java, this region is on the verge of a tourism boom thanks to the construction of a new international airport. Be a guiding voice as you help to advocate for sustainable, eco-friendly, and responsible tourism while introducing creative ideas for cultural attractions and sound tourism infrastructure. Work in the Tourist Information Center, helping to brainstorm activities and initiatives to develop the tourism industry, and help with marketing, product analysis, web development, photography, writing, and job training. You also may find yourself surveying locations, interviewing locals, and more.
GROUND helps students and business teams strengthen leadership skills, and teaches cross-cultural understanding. During your visit, sample the local cuisine, trek the forests, learn how to harvest rice, swim in rivers, go whitewater rafting, and shop the open-air markets. Program costs start at $445, with stays from two weeks and longer. Read more and register here!
If you’re looking for an amazing experience at a low cost, take a look at this SAVE Volunteering medical internship in Cape Town, South Africa. At $2,888 for 12 weeks, this career-changing opportunity works out to only $240 per week! If you’re a pre-med or nursing student, or considering a future in healthcare, this program will give you the hands-on experience you need and help you to develop a global understanding of medicine.
As a volunteer in a facility that sees 500 patients per day, you’ll be shadowing doctors and nurses, floating through different departments and assisting in clinics and wards. You’ll learn from practitioners in many disciplines and specialities, including the hypertension clinic, the X-ray department, social work, the HIV/AIDS center, the TB center, pediatrics, psychiatry, and physiotherapy, to name a few. You’ll even assist in the triage room to check vital signs of patients, then referring them to the medical professionals according to urgency or injury.
While you’re in South Africa, spend your free time exploring the beaches, including Boulders Beach with its large population of penguins. Learn about the country’s history with apartheid at the Robben Island museum, and stretch your legs with a hike to Table Mountain. Learn more about this exciting opportunity here.
Accept a challenge that’s as rewarding as it is vitally needed: helping to improve the lives of street children in New Delhi, India, with Volunteering Solutions. One of the most important roles you’ll play is a caregiver who can show these children love and give them hope for the future. Your job will be engaging with them in recreational activities, playing games, introducing them to new activities, and helping them have fun. You will also be working with the children to help improve their basic literacy skills, taking informal education courses with them, showing them attention and love, and even teaching them about things like hygiene, manners, and the importance of cleanliness.
On evenings and weekends, you’ll be free to explore Delhi, see the sights, meet new people, try the local cuisine, and experience the culture to its fullest. Delhi has internet cafes, restaurants, unique markets, and museums you’ll get to explore, and you can book tours to neighboring states, such as Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. Fees begin at $500 for one week – learn more and apply here!
If you’re a pre-med, medical, or nursing student wanting hands-on experience, take a look at Volunteering Solutions’ medical internship in Kathmandu, Nepal. This exciting opportunity places you alongside medical professionals in a beautiful country where you’ll shadow doctors and nurses in hospitals or medical clinics, making rounds, checking blood pressure, monitoring patients, and learning about medical practices in Nepal. Placements and duties vary depending upon your level of education, and you’ll also gain an understanding of the administrative side of healthcare as you help with charts, file maintenance, and other office duties.
Spend your weekends exploring Nepal’s sacred and religious temples and monasteries, and visiting the markets for souvenirs. You’re in the lap of the Himalaya Mountains, so include a trek in the foothills. Fees begin at $710 for two weeks, with stays up to 16 weeks. Read more and register here.
Travel to Cape Town, South Africa with Love Volunteers and volunteer at a daycare center, providing much-needed assistance in early childhood development. No experience is necessary for this placement in a crèche, working with infants and children up to six years of age. Your presence in-country can support their education as you help with conversational English and inspire them learn more about your culture. In addition to teaching, you’ll create activities and entertain the children with games and songs.
On weekends, sightsee Table Mountain by taking a cable car to the mountaintop, or go for a tour of Robben Island, the former prison that held Nelson Mandela and now serves as a museum. Check out Boulders Beach and its colony of resident penguins, or explore the city’s busy sights. Program fees begin at $748 and duration is two weeks or more. Click here to learn more!
Founded in 1984, Raleigh International provides volunteer experiences for youth and young adults in Nepal, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. Projects include clean water and hygiene, sustainable use of natural resources, and community building, and are led by multicultural and multinational teams dedicated to making a positive and long-term impact. So far, 400,000 volunteers have traveled with Raleigh International, with another 800 signing up this year. As part of their 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. To help defray the costs of your volunteer trip, Raleigh International provides fundraising resources and guides, including sponsorship forms, event posters, press release templates, social media images, PowerPoint presentations, and foundation lists.
If you’re looking for a summer volunteer abroad program, take a look at Raleigh International’s Tanzania expedition for student travelers. As a volunteer, your service program will focus on environment and community, where you will be able to help with projects that improve access to clean water, teach about sustainability, and much more. You also will be able to pick up survival skills and sleep under the stars on a trek to the Southern Highlands, and learn about conservation and view some of Tanzania’s wild animals at Ruaha National Park. Learn more and apply here!
Globalteer, founded as a UK Charity in 2006, offers affordable volunteer programs that ensure each volunteer experience is responsible, rewarding, and enjoyable without compromising on safety. Globalteer works alongside local partners and projects for long-term, sustainable solutions that improve the communities in which they work. An emphasis is placed upon keeping costs to a minimum, ensuring that volunteer fees directly benefit each project as directly as possible.
Travel to the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains of South America and work in the shadow of Machu Picchu with children of the Picaflor House Community Project. Picaflor House serves the children of Oropesa and neighboring villages, providing disadvantaged students with homework assistance, reading, writing, and math. As a volunteer, you’ll help teach English classes, arts and crafts, play games, and organize sporting activities. Your work day is 1:00 to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, with your weekends open. Program fees for one week are $399.
Travel to the “friendliest country in the world” to volunteer this summer with Globalteer and Helping Hands Cambodia, and on your weekends off, visit the amazing Temples of Angkor Wat. As a volunteer, you will assist dedicated teachers to improve the lives of underprivileged children in Siem Reap. You’ll work between four and six hours per day, Monday through Friday, helping out with arts and crafts, sports and games, supervising children on excursions, cleaning classrooms and playgrounds, and assisting with general maintenance. You can combine placements at Globalteer’s Cambodia Community Project, Women’s Empowerment Project, Clean Water Project or the Food and Farming Project. Program fees for one week at this outstanding opportunity begin at $459.
If you’re a dog lover, you’ll appreciate Globalteer’s volunteer program at the Peru Dog Rescue Shelter in Cusco. Stray dogs are commonplace in certain cities throughout South America, and this program provides a humane and long-term solution to the ongoing problem. As a volunteer, you’ll assist veterinary students and others to nurture dogs back to health and, when possible, find dogs homes with loving families. You’ll work four hours per day, Monday through Friday at the shelter, and your duties – dependent upon your skills – may include feeding and preparing food, cleaning the center, helping with basic medical care, walking dogs, playing with dogs, and helping them to socialize. One week at this popular program costs $399.
Since 1994, i-to-i has offered TEFL certification, English teaching trips, paid internship, and jobs for travelers who’d like to teach English abroad. More than 175,000 people have completed i-to-i’s TEFL courses, which are recognized by thousands of employers around the world. i-to-i holds a 90% approval rating from their participants and students, who have traveled to China and Vietnam for four- to five-month paid internships, as well as shorter-term TEFL trips to Thailand, Cambodia, and beyond.
If you want to gain new skills and get paid to travel, check out i-to-i’s TEFL Internship in China! You’ll start with a 120-hour TEFL training course online, and once you arrive in Beijing, you’ll take on two days of classroom teaching training to get you used to working on your own. After that, i-to-i will place you at one of their partner schools in a Chinese community, where you’ll work five days per week as an English teacher for the next five months. As part of this internship, you’ll receive housing, meals, and a living allowance of about $260 per month, plus a bonus of $320 once you’ve successfully completed your internship. Learn more here!
If you have two months to travel, why not sign up for i-to-i’s Cambodia TEFL Experience? For $1,199 for the full two months (less than $150 per week!)- plus i-to-i’s online 120-hour TEFL training course – you’ll have the amazing opportunity to travel in Cambodia and teach English at a private school in Phnom Penh. You’ll start with an orientation, where you’ll learn about Khmer culture and history, and get to know the school where you’ll teach for the next 7 weeks. During your teaching placement, you’ll work with students aged 3 to 16, with weekends free for exploration or just relaxation. After that, you’ll travel to the Sihanoukville resort, where you’ll have five days to visit beaches, bars, shops, and restaurants. Click here to sign up!
Another paid internship i-to-i is offering right now invites you to teach English in Vietnam. Similar to the China TEFL internship, you will start with an online TEFL training course, plus a 20-hour classroom training experience once you arrive to Vietnam. During your first week abroad, you’ll have the chance to explore, learn about culture and history, and meet your fellow interns. Over the next five months, you’ll teach students aged 4 to 18 – so there will be plenty of opportunity to get creative and learn to work with students of all language levels – plus receive a monthly living allowance of $700. Learn more about teaching in Vietnam here!
Camp Thailand is dedicated to helping communities by providing volunteer teachers to assist with English instruction, while also ensuring an extraordinary volunteer experience for them. If you want to see Thailand like nobody else, then Camp Thailand is the way to do it. Along with getting involved in the community through schools, camps, and orphanages, Camp Thailand also provides thrilling opportunities like helping at an elephant sanctuary, fun activities like rafting and sightseeing, and even a chance to take Thai boxing and language classes. Camp Thailand caters to students and gap year travelers, teachers, conscientious travelers, and others who want to be able to leave their mark and make a difference as they experience the world.
The main focus of Camp Thailand’s program in Buriram is to teach English to children and adult staff members in a variety of settings, including summer camps, schools, and even temples. During your time here, you’ll have an opportunity to visit the Country Roads’ Elephant Freedom Conservation Project, take Thai language lessons, have a Thai cooking demonstration and lakeside barbecue, go to the Silk Village, and explore the exotic island of Koh Samet. During your free time when you’re not teaching or going on excursions, you’ll have lots of time to explore Buriram or even get involved in other activities like building a community center.
Welcome to the jungle! In Chiang Mai, you’ll be immersed in Thai culture as you teach conversational English to children at camps and in schools, go on sightseeing tours, and pick up a new language along the way. In between teaching opportunities, you’ll also have time to take a bicycle tour or even visit Chiang Mai’s world-famous night market. After your first week of teaching and exploring, you’ll take a trip to an elephant nature park, and even have a free day to go river rafting or tubing. Following your graduation party after your second week in Thailand, you’ll head to Cha-Am Beach and have a chance to experience everything that Thai beach life has to offer before heading home or off to your next destination.
Ready to earn your TEFL/TESOL certification and get paid to teach English abroad? Camp Thailand has a wonderful opportunity for you! This journey begins in the comfort of your own home with a 120-hour online certification. Open to any Natural English Speaker with a Bachelor’s Degree in any subject, this program guarantees five-month, 12-month, or longer paid internships in Thailand upon successful completion of your course. And the tours, excursions, and days off to explore also offer amazing opportunities for learning, excitement, and fun.
For those looking jump in right away and get started, Camp Thailand offers a TEFL/TESOL certification program onsite in Buriram. This 120-hour course is essential for finding a paid opportunity to teach English in a country like Thailand. Taking the course onsite also allows volunteers to acclimatize to the conditions and culture in the area while also getting a head start on the adventure. After passing the certification, you will be placed in a paid teaching position at a Thai school where you will make a difference in the lives of others.
SAVE Volunteering was established in 2006, and since that time they’ve built schools, cultivated gardens, taught hundreds of children new skills such as reading, and helped to uplift many communities throughout Africa. Today, the organization runs or assists volunteer projects in South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, and Kenya. Project opportunities for volunteers include teaching children, building homes and schools, teaching life and business life and business skills to adults, assisting teachers, and working with animals through different conservation projects. SAVE Volunteering is dedicated to helping travelers to see and explore new countries and cultures while also meeting new people and gaining new skills.
The Wings of Hope School in Dunoon, Cape Town, is a safe and fun learning environment for children, and while here, you’ll help to improve the educational experience for as many as 160 local kids. As a volunteer with this project, you’ll help teachers with their lessons and grading, participate in play and teaching activities, help out at after-school care programs, serve meals to the children, and offer love and encouragement to the students. During your time with the Wings of Hope School, you’ll learn about South African history and culture, and have plenty of free time to explore the nearby beaches and shops, relax in the bars when your work days are done, dine in the restaurants and enjoy the local fare, and socialize with fellow volunteers and travelers at the hostel where you’re staying.
This wildlife conservation and rescue program in Hartbeespoort, South Africa is an excellent option if you love animals and want hands-on experience working with and caring for them. As a volunteer, some of your responsibilities can include working with rescued elephants and monkeys, learning about anti-poaching efforts, maintaining cheetah enclosures, rehabilitating rescued and injured owls, and lending a hand at a nature reserve. You also will have the chance to volunteer with a community organization caring for abandoned, neglected, and abused wildlife, pets, and farm animals. During your free 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.
Khaya operates in South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar, and Malawi, and has been dedicated to providing unparalleled volunteer opportunities since 2005. Khaya has many goals, and the most important of them include providing the best volunteer experience possible, uplifting the communities where they operate, and providing employment and other opportunities to the people who live in those communities. As part of their commitment to volunteers, Khaya offers affordable trips for students, gap year travelers, and others. To ensure each volunteer has the best experience possible, they go to great lengths to pair the right people with the right projects.
This community volunteering project will have you working in a hands-on environment with a nonprofit organization in Cape Town. This extremely rewarding program will have you helping with a number of different community programs, including day care, a foster care facility, after-school care, drug rehabilitation, and a community food program. Depending on the placements you choose, you could help with meal preparation, feeding children, looking after children and babies, assisting children with their educational needs, helping teachers with lessons and planning, participating in activities like singing, dancing, and exercise, working in a community garden, distributing food, or teaching life skills at a substance abuse clinic. Your main focus with any of these initiatives, however, will be providing support, love, and guidance to the children who are being helped through the Cape Town Community Project.
The Human Dignity Centre is a registered nonprofit organization in Port Elizabeth that provides community programs for children and adults, runs an orphanage, organizes fundraising efforts, and operates a primary school and after-school program. At the centre, you’ll have an orientation that introduces you to the different projects, and will have the opportunity to choose to work with children at the primary school, help community workers, or volunteer with the after-school program. When you’re not busy with your volunteer duties, you can check out the city’s beachfront cafés, restaurants, and shops, or take advantage of the home’s pool, walk through the garden, have a barbecue, and get to know your fellow volunteers.
The rural village of Xhosa is ideal for volunteers looking for a dynamic experience full of meaningful interactions, high impact, and fun. Partaking in smaller village projects such as teaching English, helping bookkeepers, leading after-school crafts and activities, and working in the local wood shop, you will help this underprivileged community thrive. Staying in a hostel with other volunteers and tourists, you will enjoy a sense of community while you help preserve the indigenous forest and provide support and friendship to the local residents. This community suffers from a lack of jobs, and there are many tasks that they need help with, and for those travelers looking for a varied experience, this is an ideal volunteer opportunity.
There are few animals more adorable than the African Penguin, and in this project, you will help care for the species. The South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Center (SANCCOB) needs your help to care for these creatures and rehabilitate sick or injured penguins in need. There are only an estimated 25,000 breeding pairs of these penguins left in the world, and about 21,000 of them are located in the Port Elizabeth area. After caring for these penguins, you will help release them back into the wild, giving them a fighting chance at survival. From administrative duties to tourism and caring for the penguins, this program offers a dynamic experience that will touch your heart forever.
Since 2014, Volunteering Journeys has provided volunteer placements in Asia and Africa for travelers interested in community development, medical care, wildlife and conservation programs, and even summer and gap year travel opportunities.
The basis for Volunteering Journeys was formed when founder Ridhi Patel quit her job in 2009, and volunteered for three months in South Africa. This life-changing experience inspired her to begin building Volunteering Journeys in her home country of India, with a goal of bringing together travelers who want to explore the world, give back to the communities that welcome them, and learn more about themselves.
This organization sets itself apart by providing personal attention and tailored trips for all volunteers, committing to high-quality service, and engaging community leaders and local professionals on all programs. And Volunteering Journeys is affordable for travelers on a budget, starting from less than $1,000 for a two-week placement overseas.
If you’re looking for a great way to broaden your horizons and gain new skills, check out Volunteering Journeys’ English teaching programs in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Bali. Through these placements, you’ll work in a local school, community center, rural classroom, or with a local charity, where you’ll connect with teachers and fellow volunteers to support long-term literacy initiatives.
As a volunteer, you’ll be able to help improve teaching standards in poor communities, help underprivileged children and adults get the education they deserve, develop your own interpersonal and leadership skills, and of course explore new places and meet amazing people. Depending on where you go, you can stay two weeks or longer, with a program fee starting below $1,000.
Located in Seenigama, Sri Lanka, this program invites you to coach sports at a local school, orphanage, or community center for children in need of support and connection. As a volunteer, you’ll focus on helping these children develop self-confidence, hone their talents, and create long-lasting friendships while playing popular sports such as cricket, volleyball, badminton, and netball.
During your stay, you’ll plan coaching sessions and matches, run warm-up routines and stretches, teach rules and regulations of different games, and even have the chance to organize a sports club if you’re staying longer-term. During your weekends, you’ll be able to relax at the beach, go diving or surfing, or visit the cities of Colombo and Galle. This placement starts from two weeks at about $940.
If you want to volunteer with animals, don’t miss Volunteering Journeys’ placement in Thailand, where you’ll have the chance to learn about elephant conservation and interact directly with these amazing creatures. Throughout Thailand, elephant populations have been held in captivity for work as farm animals, cavalry in the army, and as tourist attractions.
As a volunteer, you will work with an initiative to provide a home for domesticated elephants to live more naturally, without being chained up, ridden, or put to work. A few of your activities can include preparing food, feeding the elephants, cleaning their living areas, and walking with the elephants to the river for bathing. This program also includes a guided trek through the surrounding hills, bamboo rafting, and much more. You’re invited to stay one to two weeks, at about $815 for your first week.
Since 2010, Reach Out Volunteers has provided adventurous volunteer placements where travelers can make a difference worldwide. Whether you’d like to work with animals on a wildlife preserve, teach children in a local school, or even help renovate classrooms, there are many opportunities to choose from for a culturally immersive and impactful experience. So far, about 3,500 volunteers have signed up with Reach Out Volunteers, with 1,000 more expected to travel with this organization in 2017 alone. And you can be sure your work will be meaningful: Reach Out Volunteers only places travelers on projects created by the communities in which they work, with all programs employing local, skilled laborers to ensure long-term success. Depending on the program you sign up for, Reach Out Volunteers’ program fees start from $1,599 for a two-week trip, and includes airport pick-up and drop-off, ground transport, food, housing, excursions and activities, project materials, educational materials, and much more.
If you’ve always wanted to explore the Inca Trail and view the amazing site of Machu Picchu, check out Reach Out Volunteers’ Peru volunteer program, which invites you to work alongside a local village to build greenhouses. Through your work, you’ll help extend the short growing season and contribute to the community’s food supply – a vital need for families whose children otherwise would suffer from malnutrition. During your trip, you’ll visit local artisans, take a cooking lesson, take walking tours of the different cities you’ll visit, and much more. This program lasts 14 days with a fee of $2,049. Learn more at: https://www.rovolunteers.com/Volunteer-Machu-Picchu-Inca-Trail.htm
For a longer stay overseas, Reach Out Volunteers is offering a 35-day South Africa Volunteering Adventure. Through this placement, you’ll work in a local crèche, or day care center, to help build or renovate classrooms, provide maintenance assistance, help teachers with lessons, and much more. You’ll also be able to visit and volunteer at wildlife preserves and learn how to track and assist with patrols for elephants, rhinos, and other animals. Along with your volunteer projects, you’ll be able to go surfing, explore the St. Lucia UNESCO World Heritage Site, go shopping, and much more. Click here to learn more and to sign up: https://www.rovolunteers.com/Volunteer-Africa-Adventure.htm
If you’re looking for adventure, Reach Out Volunteers invites you to Cambodia, where you can earn your scuba certification while volunteering on an environmental conservation project to rejuvenate a coral reef and marine life surrounding a tropical island. You’ll start with an orientation in Phnom Penh, and then travel to Koh Rong island, where you’ll earn PADI scuba certification while helping with local construction projects, as well as beach and village clean up, sanding and coating coral pods, and more. A few optional activities you can embark on include exploring markets and shops, visiting temples, and relaxing at the beach. This program lasts two weeks, with a program fee of $1,899. To learn more and to sign up, visit: www.rovolunteers.com/Volunteer-Cambodia-Scuba-Diving-and-Island-Escape-Program.htm
Global Nomadic offers affordable, impactful volunteer and intern abroad placements for travelers who’d like to expand your education and get a head start on your career while also doing good for communities in need. Their programs are great for college students. With Global Nomadic, you’ll work in partnership with local NGOs on projects relating to your degree or career goals, with placement costs as minimal as possible in keeping with a student, gap year, or career breaker budget–covering your support before, during, and after your program abroad.
If you’re interested in focusing on marine biology and research, Global Nomadic has the perfect internship opportunity for you to study and work with endangered sea turtles in south Guatemala. In this program–which is customizeable for your interests and background–you’ll work with scientists and biologists in sea turtle conservation and research, caiman and iguana breeding, environmental education, and community projects, which may include water treatment, ecotourism, school construction, and lots more.
You’ll stay with other volunteers and visitors near the project site in the southern part of Guatemala, and you’re invited to apply for this internship at any time throughout the year. This program costs $905 for placement, support, and your first week of interning; after that, you’re invited to stay as long as you’d like, for only $175 for each additional week. To learn more and apply, visit: https://globalnomadic.com/project/sea-turtle-research-guatemala/
In this unique program, you’re invited to live on a tropical farm deep in the jungle of Belize, while learning about and gaining hands-on experience in tropical agroforestry and sustainable farming. A few of the activities you’ll help with include planting, mulching, harvesting, and drying cacao beans; assisting researchers working with rare cacao strains; maintaining a genetic seed bank; learning about biodiversity and agroforestry; and developing nurseries on the farm and within the surrounding communities.
You also can customize your work based on your interests and background, and if you’re currently a student, Global Nomadic can work with you to earn college credit for your placement. This program is also extremely affordable for travelers on a budget: your placement is $730 for the first week, plus $200 for additional weeks – or $600 per month if you’re staying long-term. To learn more and sign up, go to: https://globalnomadic.com/project/tropical-agroforestry-sustainable-farming-belize/
Global Nomadic invites you to Koh Phangan in southern Thailand for its business development internship, where you’ll work with a company on a wide variety of projects, including social media marketing and organization for a coworking space, volleyball team, and beach cleanup group–you also will be able to assist with the day-to-day operations of a real estate team.
Throughout your internship, you’ll stay in housing at the company headquarters, and learn a great deal about Thai business models and customs. You must be able to stay for at least three months, and can apply at any time–and this internship has only a one-time placement fee of about $500. Click here to learn more: https://globalnomadic.com/project/business-development-internship-thailand/
Global Nomadic’s Nicaragua volunteer program is perfect for travelers who’d like to to try short-term volunteer projects in a variety of areas. From one week to six months, you can volunteer in a primary school, at a children’s library, with an organic farm and community garden, or at an eco-hotel’s wildlife and animal rescue center. There’s also an option to take Spanish lessons in the mornings at a local school. Throughout your program, you’ll stay in a private room with a host family close to the eco-hotel that manages all the volunteer projects; you’ll also have three home-cooked meals per day. Placement starts at $630 for the first week, plus $280 for each week after that. To learn more and to sign up, visit: https://globalnomadic.com/project/volunteer-in-nicaragua/
What Volunteers Say
I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful experience in Bali! The Cultural Immersion, Teaching, and Adventure Weeks surpassed my expectations. Global Nomadic and the Green Lion Bali Center made it possible for me to make lifelong friends from all over the globe and bring many incredible experiences home with me. Three weeks was almost too short. The longer your stay the better! – Shannon
Read on for More Affordable Volunteer Opportunities Overseas
uVolunteer Volunteer Organization
uVolunteer was founded in 2006 by Nathaniel Amponsah-Manu, who founded the organization after volunteering in Southeast Asia. Nathaniel worked at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for nine years and the left the BBC to run uVolunteer full-time.
With over 70 reviews on our website, uVolunteer is one of the most popular volunteer programs featured on Volunteer Forever and was named a top volunteer abroad program for 2015. Indeed, Volunteer Forever’s co-founder, Billy Beltz, volunteered with uVolunteer in Thailand in 2013. Here’s a summary of Billy’ volunteer experience:
“Overall I think their biggest strength is value; they provide the same support & quality experience as many much higher priced options, and I would endorse them to anyone with the skills/knowledge that align the projects they offer.”
uVolunteer offers one week volunteer abroad and two week volunteer abroad projects in Thailand, Costa Rica, and Ghana starting at $600 and $705, respectively. Please note that volunteers have the option of staying longer than one or two weeks. uVolunteer’s program fee not only includes your room & board and in-country airport pickup, but also your travel insurance. Keep in mind that many volunteer organizations’ program fees do not include travel insurance, which costs about $100 for a two week trip.
UBELONG Volunteer Organization
UBELONG is a relatively new volunteer organization founded by Raul Roman and Cedric Hodgeman. Raul Roman is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Cedric is a social entrepreneur who has lived in and traveled to over 30 countries. I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Roman in Washington D.C. in 2012 just as UBELONG was getting started. UBELONG was recently funded by a prestigious civic accelerator program and has now hosted several thousand volunteers.
Compared to the vast majority of volunteer organizations, UBELONG is quite cheap (I mean that in a positive way). Indeed, Volunteer Forever fundraisers Stephani and Taylor specifically picked the organization for its low program costs. For example, UBELONG offers numerous volunteer projects in Cartago, Costa Rica where volunteers can care for elders, contribute to construction projects, or raise awareness of environmental issues for a local conservation organization. The UBELONG Costa Rica project starts at $370 for two weeks.
UBELONG also offers projects in Quito, Ecuador for only $270 for two weeks. In Quito, volunteers can contribute to local public health education efforts, volunteer in a school, or assist caregivers at an after-school center.
You should note that UBELONG’s program fees include room and board and an airport pick-up. You will still be responsible for your own airfare, travel insurance, vaccinations, and visa fees. With volunteer opportunities in 10 countries, UBELONG is a fantastic choice for the budget-minded volunteer traveler.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) offers volunteers the opportunity to work on an organic or sustainable farm in exchange for daily room and board. Volunteers are expected to work 4-6 hours per day and can stay for as short as a few days to several months.
Unlike many volunteer organizations, WWOOF does not charge a program fee. Instead, prospective volunteers pay a subscription fee in order to access host farms on WWOOF’s websites. Each country has its own dedicated WWOOF website and the subscription fee can cost anywhere from $0 to $72 depending on the country.
Furthermore, as a WWOOF volunteer, you are responsible for finding a host farm and working out your volunteer arrangements with the farm directly. Unlike volunteering with a traditional volunteer organization, there is no matching performed by WWOOF.
WWOOFing is a great option for travelers who are willing to volunteer a few hours of their time each day in exchange for food and a place to sleep. Also, the relatively short commitment is conducive to travelers who are only staying in a town or city for a few days at a time. Volunteers should note that they will be responsible for their own airfare, travel insurance, vaccinations, and visa expenses.
For more information, visit http://www.wwoof.net/
Volunteers For Peace (VFP) Volunteer Organization
Since 1982, Volunteers For Peace (VFP) has hosted more than 32,000 volunteers for its overseas opportunities. VFP offers more than 3,000 volunteer opportunities in 100 different countries. Most of the volunteer opportunities are for 2-3 weeks, but there are longer volunteer opportunities as well (1-3 months). The registration fee for a VFP project is $500 for volunteers 18+ and $650 for volunteers under 18 years of age. However, please note that there may be an additional in-country fee for some projects (typically a few hundred dollars). Even with this additional fee, VFP’s volunteer projects are still under $1,000 for a 2-3 week trip and relatively cheap compared to other programs. Also, VFP’s projects are currently only available to U.S. residents or American citizens living overseas.
Volunteer Overseas Projects with Free Airfare
People and Places Volunteer Organization
People and Places is an award-winning responsible volunteer organization that was founded by Sallie Grayson and two of her colleagues in 2006. In addition to being one of Volunteer Forever’s top ten reviewed organizations, People and Places has won a number of awards and accolades including the following:
- 2014 National Geographic Top 5 Ethical Volunteer Organization
- 2013 World Responsible Tourism Award
- 2009 Best Volunteering Organization
The majority of People and Places volunteer projects aren’t considered cheap, but two of their projects stand out because the program fee includes roundtrip airfare, which is quite unique. Indeed, the only other volunteer program (outside of state-sponsored volunteer programs) that includes airfare is Youth Challenge International, who provides a flight bursary for its Ghana and Tanzania programs.
The two People and Places volunteer projects that include airfare are located in the Gambia in Africa. The first project is at a nursery school that has a specific need for volunteers with experience in Early Childhood Development, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, child nutrition, education administration, or arts and crafts.
The second People and Places volunteer project that includes airfare is their “Wealth through Tourism” project. This volunteer project seeks to help the Gambian people by providing them business and craft skills. Specifically, volunteers will be working with small businesses in Gambia to earn a living through tourism. As such, this project is seeking volunteers with the following skill sets: accounting, information technology, general management, business administration, marketing and sales, product design, hospitality and tourism, and agriculture.
As mentioned previously, the program fee for both of these projects by People and Places includes airfare and room and board. However, the volunteer will still be responsible for travel insurance, vaccinations, and visa fees.
Other Resources for Cheap Volunteer Abroad Trips
With the exception of the Peace Corps, United Nations Volunteers, Voluntary Service Overseas, and other state-sponsored international development programs, most international volunteers will be responsible for assuming some costs for volunteering overseas. However, there are several ways to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for volunteering overseas.
First, check out our list of 200 Volunteer Abroad and Study Abroad Scholarships and Grants. Our list includes scholarships and grants from sources like Travelocity, National Geographic, Volunteers for Prosperity, and the Rotary Foundation. These awards range from a few hundred dollars to stipends worth $85,000 – these resources make cheap trips abroad not just a dream, but a reality. You can also click here to join our priority waiting list to be among the first to know when the next award of the Volunteer Forever scholarship ($500-$1000) is announced in Spring 2015.
Next, check out our article on how to volunteer abroad for free by finding no-cost volunteer programs (hint: you’ll still be responsible for your room and board, airfare, and other expenses), finding free airfare, and reducing other miscellaneous travel costs like travel insurance.
Lastly, consider fundraising (aka crowdfunding) for your volunteer trip abroad. Volunteer Forever fundraisers have already raised nearly $1,500,000 for their volunteer trips abroad. In fact, many of our volunteers have completely funded their volunteer trips by fundraising through Volunteer Forever. If you’re comfortable with e-mail and Facebook, then you’ve got the basic skills needed to fundraise online. And if you need a little more assistance, our expert staff will provide one-on-one guidance and support to help you reach your fundraising goals. It’s our mission to make volunteer abroad trips affordable for anyone who wants to go overseas. We hope all of these information and resources will help you go volunteer abroad!
P.S. If you’re still looking for a volunteer opportunity, check out our list of best volunteer abroad programs and recommended volunteer projects in Africa, Central 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 18, you may be interested in a teen volunteer abroad program from one of our many great partners.