Construction Volunteer Abroad Projects: Help Build Houses Overseas!
If you’re interested in volunteering abroad but aren't sure where to get started, construction volunteer programs overseas may be the perfect opportunity. Construction volunteer programs often are open to volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, and are perfect for solo travelers, groups, couples, and families. And since you’ll work alongside local staff on most programs (including those listed below), you’ll be guided by professionals that can teach and guide you in building and renovating homes, community centers, schools, and more worldwide.
Construction Volunteer Abroad Programs
There are tons of tasks you’ll take on when you sign up for a building project overseas, including digging, mixing cement, carrying or helping to lay bricks, landscaping, carpentry, painting, plastering, beautification, and much more. Most construction projects require a level of physical fitness, so these programs are perfect for students and active travelers who’d like to get dirty, do some good, and help a community in need.
Check out the opportunities below for just a few ideas to get started - and be sure to sign up for an account on Volunteer Forever to start planning and fundraising for your perfect volunteer trip!
In addition to many other volunteer abroad opportunities, Maximo Nivel offers a construction volunteer program where you can help with building or repairing homes, adding classrooms to schools, or making structural improvements to orphanages. These physically-demanding projects include digging, removing dirt, mixing cement, carrying bricks, preparing adobe, painting, plastering, helping in beautification or renovation work, and much more.
Maximo Nivel offers construction programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, each lasting for a minimum of one week. Work hours are split between the morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday, for three to four hours a day - however, your schedule will vary depending on the project's needs. Construction volunteers must be 17 or older, physically fit, and willing to take on different tasks based on the season and program needs. Programs start at a very reasonable cost of $595, and accommodations are provided in a shared volunteer house, with alternative options available upon request. For more information about Maximo Nivel’s construction volunteer projects, visit http://maximonivel.com/volunteers/construction/.
Through Maximo Nivel’s two-week volunteer adventure, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to volunteer and travel in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. You can choose from a variety of volunteer projects, including construction, where you can help build or repair schools, homes, and community centers. After your five-day volunteer project, you’ll embark on an adventurous, six-day tour, which can include zip lining, hiking, touring an island on a catamaran, visiting waterfalls and volcanoes, and much more. Learn more about Maximo Nivel’s volunteer adventure at: http://maximonivel.com/adventure/full
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
Had such an amazing time in Antigua with the Maximo Nivel crew. Everyone was very friendly, showing real interest in my experiences with their organization and within Antigua in general.-Kimsoo
I volunteered on the construction site with my project manager Fredy. He was such a kind and fun person to work with day to day teaching me many new things about building.
Maximo is very well organized and safety oriented making sure everyone was aware of their surroundings and the realities of the city. With that being said, Antigua in general was such an excellent area to visit and donate my time in, with the gorgeous volcanoes as a back drop and welcoming culture; I can't wait to go back.
Build Abroad sends volunteers to five countries in Latin America and Asia to work on construction and renovation projects for schools, homes, community centers, and more. Founded in 2010 by two architecture students who personally visit all projects to ensure their quality, this fast-growing organization ensures high-impact, sustainable placements for its travelers. Depending on where you go, your first week volunteering with Build Abroad starts at $510, which includes housing, two meals per day, airport pickup, 24/7 in-country support, and wifi.
Two to three new programs are added to Build Abroad’s offerings each year, and right now you can choose to volunteer in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Nepal, or Thailand. No matter where you travel to, you’ll have a completely immersive volunteer experience working alongside fellow volunteers and local individuals and families whose communities you’re helping to build. Your work will vary depending on the community’s needs, and Build Abroad focuses on several project areas including housing development, school building and renovation, disaster relief, and water and sanitation.
You’re invited to stay one week to six months to gain the most from your experience abroad and to see firsthand the impact of your work: in one month, you can build a classroom, and in two weeks, you can build a home. Your project schedule depends on your placement, but can include morning or afternoon shifts five days per week. And for certain placements, you can choose to spend your first week in a cultural immersion program to learn more and get accustomed to your host country and community. To learn more about how you can make a difference through Build Abroad, visit: www.buildabroad.org
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL
Habitat for Humanity International offers service opportunities locally and around the world for volunteers of all ages. From Collegiate Challenges to their Global Village volunteer program, Habitat can find the best construction volunteering placement for you.
Habitat’s Global Village program invites volunteers around the world to build decent, affordable housing while learning about community development challenges and Habitat for Humanity’s response to them. Each year, the organization offers trips to a variety of countries - this coming year, some trips include Argentina, Vermont, India, El Salvador, Kenya, and China. Each Global Village trip lasts one to two weeks and offers a unique opportunity for every volunteer.
Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village trip to Kenya this year is a fabulous opportunity to help build housing solutions for elderly people - many of whom are caring for their orphaned grandchildren - so the home improvement program you’ll be a part of will last for generations. These construction projects both improve upon existing foundations and include opportunities to build from scratch, all alongside local construction workers and neighbors. This 10-day trip costs a pretty steep $2,240, though it does include a donation to Habitat for Humanity, accommodations, meals, in-country transportation, and travel health insurance (you are still responsible for paying for your own airfare).
Tasks on the worksite include foundation excavation, wall construction, roofing, plastering, floor slab construction, and painting. During your trip, you’ll stay in a hotel with double-room occupancy and have the choice of European-style or local meals. Kenya is one of the few trips that Habitat for Humanity International offers - to learn more about other construction volunteer programs you can join locally and abroad, visit http://www.habitat.org/.
Global Vision International (GVI) offers many volunteer abroad programs overseas to take on teaching, wildlife, childcare, and much more - plus construction and building. One program GVI is offering right now invites you to the villages of Dawasamu District of Fiji, where you’ll assist with important infrastructure construction projects, set up community based income-generation initiations, work on studies to help create informed environmental decisions, and more.
This particular expedition through GVI has five main focuses: WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene), health and nutrition, income generation, education enrichment and empowerment, and environmental management and protection. Volunteers have the opportunity to develop small income-generating projects that solve basic infrastructure issues through improvements and new initiatives, along with assessing environmental impacts and enriching available education. GVI and its volunteers have successfully increased local access to fresh water, improved education resources and opportunities, and expanded income generation options for this community - and you can continue to help improve locals’ quality of life through this project.
This program lasts two to 24 weeks, and you’ll work Monday through Friday, with weekends free to explore the area - including tropical beaches, dive sites, and a multitude of islands. If you’d like to know more about this trip or the other opportunities GVI offers, please visit http://www.gviusa.com/.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
GVI's construction program in Pokhara, Nepal was my first volunteer trip ever and it was something I had been wanting to do for a very long time. There were many challenges during my 3 and a half week stay, but, do you know what the hardest thing about it was? Not the candle lit cold showers because the electricity randomly goes off, nor the carrying of bucket loads of cement back and forth for my construction project. Not even the fact I had to use squattie potties when I'm a very clumsy person. No, these were all challenges. Definitely challenges. But, the hardest thing… was coming home. Saying goodbye and leaving behind what now felt like a part of me. GVI and the other volunteers I lived with became my family. My home-stay family treated me like a daughter and took amazing care of each volunteer they hosted (even when there was 11 of us living there!). The projects I were on were the most amazing experiences where I got to work alongside locals and really feel like a part of the community. All in all I cannot wait to go back and see how much my projects have progressed and to say hello to all the amazing people I was so privileged to meet.-Jes
Volunteering Solutions offers service abroad programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific, with a variety of projects, from medical care, to teaching, and beyond. One construction volunteer program Volunteering Solutions is providing right now invites you to Uganda, where you’ll take part in field work and vocational training initiatives.
Along with a hardworking team of volunteers, you’ll help give the infrastructures in the area a fresh, colorful look - volunteers are needed for construction, building, and site preparation such as demolition, digging, clearing rubble, bricklaying, plumbing, and carpentry. You will also work on beautification of the site such as planting trees, landscaping, community cleanups, and painting murals. This program starts from one week, and you’ll work Tuesday through Friday with weekends to explore the area. You’ll stay with either a host family or in a volunteer house with three meals a day.
There are multiple program start dates available this year, with even more scheduled for 2017 - your trip will start from $260 for the first week, including pre-departure information, airport pickup, 24/7 assistance and support from Volunteering Solutions’ local staff, program orientation, meals, accommodation, and project drop-off and pick-up. To learn more about this program and the many other volunteer opportunities offered by Volunteering Solutions, visit https://www.volunteeringsolutions.com/.
With International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), there are a huge number of opportunities to improve local infrastructure and help with community development worldwide. Through their construction and building programs, volunteers work along with locals to build new community structures, renovate existing ones, and improve civil infrastructure initiatives. Most often, these construction projects benefit orphanages, schools, community centers, and recreational facilities. The tasks required for each program vary depending on the location, community needs, and phase of construction work.
One construction volunteer opportunity IVHQ is offering right now is a trip to Laos ranging from one to 12 weeks, and starting from just $270 for your first week. You’ll take on light tasks to improve medical centers, childcare centers, and schools within the local village, as many of their community centers are in dire need of improvement and maintenance. Some of your tasks can include building, renovating, painting, restoration, carpentry, and landscaping. Like many other construction opportunities abroad, project scope is constantly changing depending on program needs and season, so you should expect to work on multiple projects during your trip. On weekends, there’s plenty of time to relax, explore the area, or go biking, kayaking, climbing, caving, trekking, and rafting.
To apply, you must be 18 or older unless you’re traveling with a parent or guardian - and you don’t need prior construction experience. If you’d like to learn more about IVHQ’s construction volunteering opportunities, visit https://www.volunteerhq.org/volunteer-abroad-projects/construction-and-renovation.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
Wow! I don't even know where to start! My first experience with the IVHQ company was exceptional! I first looked in to volunteering this last summer. After looking at plenty of companies I found that many didn't have many reviews, or had very high costs. I stumbled across IVHQ on Instagram and was sold very quickly. What stood out the most was the amount of reviews IVHQ has from actual volunteers! Just on instagram I found tons of volunteers both current and past ones who were answering questions, posting their pics etc. Not only that but the prices are extremely affordable and the connection that IVHQ creates with itself and its volunteers in completely unique. It was so easy to contact someone about my many questions and get answers I needed in a timely matter. I was given ampules of good advice about where to go based on my dietary restrictions, which, as an individual made me feel like IVHQ really cared. Once I chose my country, Margarete made sure I had all the prep work I needed and was willing to address all my concerns. I felt very well taken care of, even once I landed in Bali she checked up on me to make sure everything was going well. I think IVHQ is a unique company and since coming back I have been telling everybody about my experience with your company! I cannot say enough good things! I am planning to continue to volunteer with IVHQ in the coming months/years! Thank you THANK YOU!-Nicole
In addition to many other volunteer opportunities, Love Volunteers invites you to join one of their construction volunteer abroad projects worldwide. To get started, check out this one-week program in Cambodia, where you’ll help to build a home for a family in need. As with many of Love Volunteers’ other programs, you don’t need to have prior experience in building or do-it-yourself projects - you’ll complete your project with the help of a local team.
Throughout this program, which starts from just $325 for one week, you’ll stay in a volunteer house that has been rented from the local community - a home-away-from-home where you can kick back and relax, and get to know your fellow volunteers. During your downtime, you’re invited to explore Siem Reap - a 10-minute walk from the volunteer house. To learn more about this program and others offered by Love Volunteers, visit http://www.lovevolunteers.org/category/program-categories/construction-and-outdoors.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
Working with Love Volunteers was amazing! They were so helpful from start to finish throughout the whole program. During my experience in Koh Samui, I really got to learn about the culture, customs, and the needs of the community.-Jessica
I've found it incredibly inspiring witnessing how others live so happily with bare essentials;even businesses are operated right out their homes. It's no question why this land is known as "the land of smiles." Even in the toughest situations a smile remains on their faces. In Thailand, they live off of "Thai-time"-which means going with the flow. Most classrooms take place on the bare floors outside. No rooms, no desks, no pens... Just floorspace.
For building and repairing their educational needs, we've utilized sand and hoes to make cement by hand. A task that's taken weeks to do would take hours using machines but this is how they live- happily going with the flow.
If there is one thing I've learned there is to appreciate life as it comes. Not stress on details or solutions, rather take every moment in as it is.
I would definitely recommend love volunteers if you're looking for an opportunity to travel and give back to the world!
If you are looking for a volunteer abroad experience that lasts a little bit longer than the others on this list, check out the opportunities that A Broader View has to offer. A Broader View has a few different options for you to work in community development and construction projects overseas, including a unique trip to Udaipur, India.
For two to four weeks, you can spend time in the magnificent city restoring and decorating health care centers, restoring and decorating primary/middle schools and children’s centers, artistic decoration of school interiors, preparing sports facilities, landscaping, repairing houses for families that need urgent support, and developing garbage and recycling facilities. This program starts from $1,020 for the first two weeks, and you’ll work Monday through Friday for four to six hours a day. Staying in a shared volunteer house, you’ll receive breakfast, lunchbox, and dinner daily, with 24/7 support from A Broader View staff.
In addition to your volunteer program, you’ll spend five days learning Hindi - and your program costs also cover marketing, information pack, administration, A Broader View donation, travel costs to inspect programs, communication costs with volunteers, ongoing support from program staff, and more. To learn more about this program and others offered by A Broader View, visit https://www.abroaderview.org/.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
I LOVED my experience in Peru! It was really the people in Peru, including my host family and fellow volunteers, that made my experience. We all get along so well its magical! I have had an amazing time exploring Cusco with them and learning about the public services in the city. If I could I would do it all over again and I would do it with ABV. ABVs design allowed me to personalize my experience so that I could go where and when I wanted to go and I could volunteer in a place that was perfect for me. ABV and Peru were truly magical!-Micaela
Projects Abroad offers volunteer travel programs worldwide, with opportunities ranging from childcare, to teaching, to agriculture, and beyond. Right now, Projects Abroad has several construction volunteer trips to Ghana, Jamaica, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Fiji, and Nepal. These programs are open to volunteers of all ages, and although you don’t need previous building experience to join, you should be physically fit to take on the work each day.
One of the many build trips you’re invited to join is in Manchester, Jamaica and the surrounding area. For two weeks or longer, you’ll help build facilities for schoolchildren. Many Jamaican schools are forced to rely on unsanitary and unsafe pit toilets, so with the help of many volunteers, Projects Abroad has begun to reduce the use of pit toilets, but there are still 40 schools with hundreds of children in the region that need an upgrade. In unsanitary conditions such as these, children develop skin rashes, infections, and illnesses along with the added potential of falling into the pits.
You’ll work beside an experienced local builder along with a dedicated construction team. Volunteers like you will dig the foundations, mix mortar, dig pits, lay blocks, and carry sand, cement, water, and stones. Besides working on a better toilet system for schools, you can also help to renovate homes that have been affected by natural disasters. Throughout your trip, you’ll stay with a host family in Mandeville with support from the Projects Abroad staff - this program starts at $2,990.
To learn more about volunteering for construction through Projects Abroad, visit http://www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
I volunteered in Jamaica, Mandeville with Projects Abroad for one month in the summer of 2013. I volunteered in a children's home for the first two weeks and in construction for the last two weeks of my trip. At the children's home, I assisted the staff with their daily care routines for 25-30 babies and young children. Working in construction, I assisted in a local building project by mixing cement, painting, and stacking bricks. My living accommodations were with a host family in the area and they were very nice welcoming. I learned about the Jamaican culture through the Projects Abroad office and often ate delicious, traditional Jamaican food in my host family's home. Two other girl volunteers lived with me in the same host family and I met other volunteers at lunchtime in the town or through the Projects Abroad office. On our weekends off, the volunteers and I often went away to visit other parts of Jamaica with permission of the Projects Abroad office. Overall, my experience with Projects Abroad was positive as the staff was always helpful, I made great friendships with other volunteers and I learned valuable lessons on my work placements.-Carolyn
READY TO TRAVEL?
If you’re ready to start planning your perfect volunteer trip, be sure to sign up for an account and check out the many volunteer opportunities listed right here on Volunteer Forever. For more inspiration for your travels, check out these articles: