Updated for 2023-2024
Each year, thousands of eager, passionate volunteers leave their own countries to travel to different countries to try and create positive, sustainable change. Most volunteers join existing projects and help serve as the hands and hearts behind each of these project’s mission. Because of the high level of development in the volunteer abroad space, there are dozens of different kinds of volunteer opportunities available. One of these opportunities is to volunteer with children and youth working for sports and coaching. I am one of these volunteers who got the opportunity to work as a sports coach while volunteering to teach English abroad in Malaysia.
Volunteering with sports abroad was not a natural decision for me. After all, for my entire life, I’ve only been marginally athletic, usually preferring the library to the gym. When I envisioned teaching English in a foreign, tropical country, I didn’t picture myself playing a lot of Frisbee and American football. Still, when I accepted my unexpected opportunity to bond with my students through coaching football, ultimate Frisbee, and other various games and sports, I found the experience to be wonderfully fulfilling– and I think you will too.
When I arrived to volunteer for a year in Malaysia, I was a little taken aback to learn that a large part of my job was expected to be me coaching our school’s sports. It honestly took me a while to warm up to the idea and to see the incredible value of sports as an avenue for cross-cultural communication and as a way to improve the confidence and academics of students around the world.
First Things First—Why Sports?
One of the most difficult things about volunteering with children abroad is the language barrier. For many kids, you will be the first person they’ve ever met who they cannot easily communicate with and they aren’t really sure how to deal with that. They might even think that there’s something wrong with you, or that you will be able to understand them fully once you settle in for a day or two. Even an unseasoned volunteer will know that this is not true. Although some people might have a knack with picking up the local lingo, learning anything beyond the basic components of a new language is a challenge for anyone, especially if you’re there for less than a few months. Without a common language, it can be excruciatingly difficult to communicate even basic messages or feelings, especially with children who are already nervous and incredibly shy about speaking to someone from another country. How can you share a powerful experience with someone else abroad if you can’t even exchange greetings? One avenue is through sports and games. But hey– don’t just take it from me. One of Volunteer Forever’s co-founders, Billy Beltz, had an incredible experience as a sports coach while volunteering in Thailand.
Billy’s interest in sports coaching volunteer abroad opportunity stems from his own experience as a student-athlete when he played college football while at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. As Billy’s career has centered around working with physical education teachers in the United States, he was eager to take his passion and expertise abroad and became interested in uVolunteer’s Teach Physical Education program, in which he would be assisting a local school in Trat, Thailand coordinate a sports and games camp for local kids. Since Billy had plenty of experience with the endless possibilities of sports in the lives of children, he knew that he wanted to use his experience to benefit the students of his village long after he left. Billy began to use Volunteer Forever not only to raise money for funding the camp itself but to buy sports and PE equipment that the schools could use for years to come. He was able to buy footballs, soccer balls, playground balls, cones, jump ropes, and other PE equipment to enrich the local sports programs. Through crowdfunding on Volunteer Forever, Billy was able to exceed his goal of 1,000 dollars and provide even more funds and supplies to the area schools in Trat, Thailand.
After two weeks in Trat, Billy’s belief in the power of sports education was validated even more. Despite the language barrier, Billy was able to execute a successful two-week sports camp that served around thirty local children and was able to leave the children with the brand new sports equipment that they were so excited to use, let alone keep. The camp served children from ages seven to seventeen, and Billy was especially inspired by the sense of community that the children demonstrated as the older children worked together to support the younger children and the way that all of the children learned and shared working together.
What Sports and Coaching Volunteering Abroad Involves
Out of the myriad of volunteer abroad opportunities, volunteering for sports and coaching is definitely one of the most straightforward in knowing how you’ll spend your time. Aside from the expected duties of leading games, coordinating tournaments among larger groups of kids, and helping young students grasp sports techniques, there are a couple of other things that you might be required to do in order to provide the children a holistic health and exercise experience. Because sports and games are such a great way to hook children into academic activities, there is usually some element of teaching English in sports volunteering, especially if the kids are studying English as part of their school’s curriculum. This combination of sports and academics it the exact approach that Surfpop takes – they offer a surf camp to disadvantaged kids in Cape Town, South Africa and use that as an opportunity to also provide free math, English, and computer literacy tutoring as well. Depending on the country or area’s orientation towards western countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, you may also be asked to teach students interesting western sports that they might not have as much exposure with, including baseball and American football as part of a cultural experience for the children.
Many volunteer opportunities also encourage volunteers to share sports and games that you are particularly passionate about. I’d suggest that you take this opportunity to really put your personality into your work. If you’re a huge fan of a lesser-known sport like ultimate Frisbee or even some kind of variation of table tennis, teach it to the kids. Students are always hungry to learn more about their foreign teachers and coaches and will be excited to be in the know about a “real” American sport or game. Since sports are frequently taught in schools or during English camps, you might also be expected to assist with other school functions, such as taking over a club or holding “English hours”. School officials will definitely be interested in harnessing the popularity of sports and games to improve their English-language test scores. Of course, all of this can be dependent on your placement location and the specifications of the volunteer experience itself, so be sure to ask specific questions to your point-of-contact before you begin to embark on your volunteer abroad experience.
Preparing for sports volunteering abroad experience varies significantly from preparing for other volunteer experiences as you might want to put time into collecting various types of equipment, especially for western games, before you leave your home country. Be sure to contact your placement so that you know what equipment they already have, the condition and age of the equipment, and whether or not you’ll be guaranteed the use of the equipment for your entire stay. You don’t want to end up like me– after my school assured me that they had plenty of basketballs, I arrived to find that I was the proud custodian of five aged, flat basketballs that had been left outside for about two years and wasn’t able to find a basketball pump until I was able to travel to a more urban area a few weeks into my stay. Even if your school does have the equipment, you may want to bring additional equipment just in case. Kids love to play hard and you’ll want to be able to provide equipment that allows them to do this.
Where to Volunteer Abroad for Sports and Coaching
Sports and coaching volunteering abroad are popular for a reason– volunteers tend to have incredibly fulfilling, rich experiences often by teaching or participating in an activity that they already love. There is nothing quite like seeing children grasp onto a new experience or activity that is a big part of your own life. Communities that host sports and coaching volunteers are similarly satisfied. Children absolutely love being able to interact with volunteers from other countries and cultures in such as low-stress, high-impact way. Communities are also satisfied with the low level of support typically needed by sports and coaching volunteers, as volunteers typically only require space, children, and minimal equipment in order to make a difference in a very real way. Volunteering for sports and games really is a win-win situation for all involved.
As sports volunteer programs are some of the most popular programs that our volunteers work with, there are plenty of choices and locations to consider as you plan your own trip. We’ve compiled a list of nine volunteer organizations and programs that we know to be tried and true — usually because volunteers just like you have given them spectacular feedback through the volunteer abroad program reviews system on Volunteer Forever. Although there are plenty more organizations that do incredible work with volunteering for coaching and sports abroad, these organizations are a great way to begin your search. Sports have become an essential part of everyone’s life, but you don’t need to be an athlete to share your love of the game. Your enthusiasm is enough to encourage a child to learn a game, become healthy and active, and achieve a new level of fitness.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) organizes affordable and low-cost volunteer projects in 40+ destinations throughout the world. IVHQ partners with local NGOs and organizations in a partnership in which high-quality, skilled volunteers join all kinds of local projects and projects range from one week to six months. Before volunteers depart from their home country, IVHQ provides a free, intensive online training that help prepare volunteers for life in their home country, their specific roles as a volunteer, and the intricacies of the project that the volunteers will be working with. All volunteers are expected to complete this training prior to leaving their home country to align their expectations with the realities of being an international volunteer.
Sports Education in Fiji
IVHQ offers an incredible sports education opportunity based in Fiji in which volunteers work with youth ages 6-16, helping develop lesson plans and curriculum with the local sports coaches. Volunteers should expect to work hands-on with kids for about 20 hours per week, introducing them to new games and sports and helping the students create and maintain health and fitness goals. Sporting activities may be unstructured, so you’ll need to be flexible and willing to teach with limited equipment. It’s important that you enjoy being with young, energetic children, but also comfortable with enforcing discipline. Program fees begin at $340 and stays can last from one to 12 weeks. Click here to apply!
Surf, Skate & Swim in South Africa
Teach what you love when you “Surf, Skate & Swim” in Table View, a west coast suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Volunteering with the IVHQ program there, you’ll offer after-school activities for youth from low-income communities. The children range in age from 10 to 16, and the sporting events you help coach will keep them off of the streets and provide them with confidence-building activities. Teach the concept of teamwork, along with valuable life lessons, through adventurous play while skateboarding, swimming, and surfing. Their skill and knowledge of water sports vary, so you’ll assist with water safety and teach surfing. You must be a competent swimmer to volunteer for this project, however, you can learn to surf and skate while you’re in-country. Volunteers are advised to bring their own wetsuits or to purchase one in Cape Town. Program fees are $310 for one week, and volunteers may stay as long as six months. Read more and apply here!
Sports Development in Jamaica
Volunteer with IVHQ as a sports development assistant in the parish of Saint Mary in northeast Jamaica. Suitable for self-motivated volunteers with a passion for sports, you’ll use exercise and games to help the community strengthen ties and improve the quality of life. You’ll play a leading role in teaching local school children indoor and outdoor games, and most common sports such as track and field, football, basketball, and netball. Equipment is limited, so volunteers are encouraged to bring what they can from home. You’ll work between four to six hours per day, with students age 5 to 12 years old. You may stay from one week, up to eight weeks, and program fees start at $365. Learn more about this fun program here!
Physical Education in Ecuador
If you have an interest in physical education and sports, consider an IVHQ program that puts you to work in local schools supporting instruction in physical education classes. Volunteers are based throughout Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, located high in the Andean foothills. There, you’ll work with children, keeping them active and teaching them different sporting activities. You can expect to work with entire classes, instructing students in games, motor development, movement activities, coordination and agility exercises. You’ll also help coach soccer or basketball. Your participation and leadership role is reliant upon your sports experience and level of Spanish. A teaching background is not required since you’ll work alongside local educators. Program fees are $290 for a one-week duration, and you can stay up to 12 weeks. Fees begin at $290. Want to know more? Click here!
What Volunteers Have to Say about IVHQ:
“My wife and I are in our 60s and wanted an active, involved “vacation”. I was very pleased with the IVHQ experience. Our questions were answered speedily and thoroughly. Arrangements were implemented as communicated. Our local agency, Maximo Nivel, was excellent in all regards. Our homestay and volunteer site (child care) were all we had hoped them to be and the many, many relationships and contacts with other international volunteers far exceeded our expectations. Having been involved in many programs and organizations, I was prepared for some “let downs”. There were challenging times; such is to be expected. But the challenges were not with IVHQ or Maximo. Both organizations were there in our corner and very helpful on all regards. Our itchy feet will take us to a different country next year but we will do it through IVHQ and probably at another Maximo site. Keep up the good work.”- Fred Elmore
African Impact is an award-winning, responsible travel organization that offers volunteer and internship opportunities in 7 countries across Africa. It was founded in 2004 and has since hosted over 35,000 volunteers. African Impact has over 20 different projects, ranging from teaching in Zambia to marine conservation in Zanzibar. The organization is known for its long-term objectives and measurable change. It is also recognized as a trusted specialist on volunteering and interning in Southern Africa. African Impact offers internships, as well as group, family, and high school projects. The minimum age requirement for their projects is 16, making African Impact a great option for teen and high school volunteers.
African Impact’s Sports Coaching Volunteer Programs in Africa are an opportunity for individuals with a passion for sports to use their skills to benefit children in underprivileged communities in Zambia and South Africa. These programs aim to provide children with access to physical exercise and teach important life lessons, such as self-confidence, teamwork, and the importance of physical exercise. Volunteers will be based in Cape Town or Livingstone, both of which offer excellent travel opportunities. Housing will be provided in a comfortable volunteer house with a community of driven people from around the world, and support will be available from the African Impact team.
The Sports Coaching and Development Volunteering project in Cape Town is an opportunity for individuals with a passion for sports to provide much-needed coaching and physical education to children in the township areas of Khayelitsha and Langa in Cape Town, South Africa. As a volunteer, you will assist coaches in teaching physical education sessions at schools, help design sports classes that may include new games, fitness tests, and competitions, and teach sports at after-school programs. You will have the opportunity to bring fresh ideas and motivation to disadvantaged children through physical activity while living and working in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Accommodation will be provided in a shared guesthouse in the center of town, with shared bathroom facilities and social areas. Meals and communication support will also be provided. The project aims to increase the concentration, leadership, teamwork, and communication abilities of the children and to provide a safe and productive environment for them in the hours after school.
The Sports Coaching and Community Development volunteering project in Livingstone, Zambia is an opportunity for individuals with a passion for sports, fitness, wellness, and nutrition to educate and train school students in rural villages. Physical education is not part of the school curriculum in Zambia and there are limited resources and skilled coaches, making your input vital in ensuring that children stay active and learn to enjoy exercise. As a volunteer, you will bring a fun, creative, and dynamic approach to delivering sports lessons to primary school-aged children, assist with a variety of after-school sports clubs, and teach lessons on physical health and general life skills at schools, focusing on issues such as hygiene, nutrition, communication, and teamwork. You will have the opportunity to observe the progression, improved skills, and confidence of the local children, be immersed in the community, and help empower and influence people of all ages with a sense of self-worth. You will also participate in afternoon community development projects and visit the majestic Victoria Falls, also known as “The Smoke that Thunders.” Accommodation will be provided at a private volunteer house within Victoria Falls Backpackers in Livingstone, with shared bathroom facilities and daily housekeeping. Meals and communication support will also be provided. The project aims to improve the self-confidence, teamwork, mental and physical health, and life skills of the children and to promote physical activity in the community. Click here to learn more and apply!
If you want to work with an organization that exclusively focused on sports volunteer, then definitely check out Surfpop. Founded in 2015 by Daniel Botha, Surfpop is a South African-based organization that aims to build a sustainable future for vulnerable children from township communities around Muizenberg, Cape Town through a powerful formula of surfing, education, and life coaching. They have hosted over 350 international volunteers for their two surf volunteer projects in Cape Town.
Surfpop is very unique compared to other international organizations due to their long-term outlook on supporting the needs of the local community. On average, they work with each child for roughly 8 years, after which they help them find solid employment opportunities or even provide them with employment within Surfpop. Their holistic model of surfing, education, life coaching, and nutrition also sets them apart from most other organizations.
Surfpop is the only Volunteer Forever partner that exclusively focuses on surf volunteering, so if you are a surfer or have a strong interest in surfing, Surfpop is definitely an organization you will want to check out!
Volunteer with Surfpop in Cape Town, South Africa
Surfpop’s surf volunteer program is based in the beautiful seaside town of Muizenberg, South Africa (near Cape Town). As a surf volunteer, you will play a critical role in helping disadvantaged children escape poverty, crime, gangs, and drugs. Through their comprehensive after-school program, you will not only teach children to surf and swim, but also tutor them on more formal academic subjects such as math, English, and computer literacy.
Surfpop’s volunteer program is open to volunteers ages 18 and up and no experience with surfing is necessary as surf lessons are included as part of the program. This program starts at roughly $500 USD per week with a minimum duration of four weeks. The cost of the program includes accommodation, breakfast, airport pick-up, orientation, 24/7 support, and surf lessons. Volunteers will also receive surf gear rentals for their stay.
Love Volunteers is a low-cost volunteer program that provides over 120 volunteering abroad placements in 34 countries around the world. Each year, Love Volunteers sends thousands of volunteers from all over the world on international projects in Central and South America, Asia, Africa, The Middle East, and Europe. Some of their most popular destinations include:
Love Volunteers’ international placements start at just $199 for a one-week placement, depending on which program you sign up for.
Sports Development in Cape Town
With this program, you will travel to South Africa to coach and serve as a mentor for primary school students in Cape Town. Physical education has only recently been introduced to the South African school curriculum, so your help is needed to teach students about healthy lifestyles, introduce new sports and activities, and much more. You will engage in one to three sports education periods each day, and outside of that, you will have the chance to help teachers with their lessons in the classroom. This program starts from two weeks at $449 – learn more here!
Sports Development in Brazil
Travel to Rio de Janeiro as a volunteer on this excellent program that teaches at-risk youth important life skills and healthy lifestyles, an understanding and love for sports and physical activity, and helps to keep them active and off of the streets. As a volunteer, you will be able to teach physical education classes and coach games such as soccer, volleyball, and basketball, while helping students with their self-esteem and involvement in a healthy network. This volunteer trip starts from one week at $419 – click here to apply!
Surf and Adventure in Cape Town
Another South African adventure you can go on right now with Love Volunteers brings you to an impactful program that brings impoverished young people off of the streets and into healthy activities. This weekly, extramural activity gets underprivileged students involved in surfing, sandboarding, mountain hiking, swimming, soccer, team building, and much more. This program starts from two weeks at $829 – learn more here!
What Volunteers Have to Say about Love Volunteers:
“Love Volunteers is such an amazing organization. I can’t stress enough how kind and helpful they were doing the whole trip process. They were happy to answer any question I asked, and made the process as smooth as possible. I would recommend Love Volunteers to everyone. I can’t thank them enough for helping give me this opportunity. It easily was the greatest experience of my life, and I can’t wait to do it again. ” – Jordan and Delaney
Global Leadership Adventures is a teen volunteer abroad program that organizes trips where volunteers have the opportunity to engage local youth through the implementation of sports programming. In their projects in Costa Rica and Ghana, volunteers are encouraged to take children on activities such as water sports and field sports. Global Leadership Adventures also connects its volunteers to local health education practitioners so that they are able to support missions that aim to lower childhood obesity rates and instill in children a lifelong love of exercise and health. Global Leadership Adventures coordinates trips that are especially catered to teens and youth and can be planned for a mission or school groups.
What Volunteers Have to Say about Global Leadership Adventures:
“Such an amazing experience and company to volunteer with. I went to Thailand this summer (2013) with GLA and was really impressed by the home base as well as the American and Thai staff members. The volunteer sights were really nice and for the most part it did not feel like you were volunteering because you were just having fun with the people you were helping. Once you arrive at the actual base with all the other 29 kids you might be nervous but by the second day you will have already begun to make friends and memories. I cannot wait to volunteer abroad again with GLA during the summer of 2014 because it honestly did change my life.” -Jacob Petersen
Fronteering takes you outside the ordinary. If you’re looking for exciting sports and coaching volunteer abroad programs, this organization has the project for you. What’s also convenient is that sports volunteering programs with Fronteering are quite affordable.
Operating in more than 15 countries, Fronteering has built a great reputation in the volunteering industry. Their projects are known for supporting and improving the future prospects of indigenous communities and disadvantaged peoples throughout the world. As a sports coach with Fronteering, you’ll have the opportunity to help out youth and have fun.
Sports Coaching and Community Outreach in Western Cape, South Africa
Journey to South Africa with Fronteering, where you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to teach children sports. The main goal is to inspire children to live active, healthy lives, make friends, and develop teamwork and communication skills. Your tasks will include teaching football and news sports, being sure to show the children the skills needed to play well. Being able to introduce them to a game they can play throughout their childhood, teenage years, and adulthood is truly an amazing experience. In addition to sports coaching, you’ll also do community outreach, which includes assisting with food security, helping the elderly, and handling community surveys to see what services can be improved.
When you’re not busy volunteering, explore the Western Cape, a province that includes sites like Table Mountain National Park and Robben Island. Interested? The program fee is $1,495 for two weeks. Learn more here!
Teach English, Math, and Sports in Guyana
Head to the Amazon with Fronteering and help teach in an Amerindian community. A good deal of the program involves teaching English and Math, as these two subjects will help the community’s youth develop the necessary skills to earn a sustainable income through eco-tourism. There will also be plenty of time to teach and play sports with the children. Sports are not only a good way for the children to have fun and be active after school, it’s also great for improving their teamwork abilities, making friends, and boosting self-confidence. In addition to teaching subjects and sports, you’ll have the chance to teach IT and marketing to older teens and adults in the community.
And when you’re free, immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with locals and learning the language. If you can, explore the surrounding rainforests too! Interested? Program fees begin at $1,795 for four weeks, with stays up to 12 weeks available. Learn more here!
Projects Abroad organizes top-quality volunteer abroad opportunities for volunteers all over the world. Projects Abroad offers a variety of different sports and coaching volunteer abroad opportunities and have activity-specific volunteer abroad projects for activities including cricket, basketball, rugby, soccer, track and field, surfing, and volleyball. These types of activities are perfect for athletes or groups of athletes interested in bringing the passion of their sport to new eyes. Projects Abroad also offers after-school projects and projects centered around health and physical education that benefit local schoolchildren.
What Volunteers Have to Say about Projects Abroad:
“I first heard about Projects Abroad through my university. I chose to go to Peru and it was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, and I have Projects Abroad to thank for organizing it and being with me every step of the way before I even boarded the plane for Peru. When I got to Peru, I was picked up from the airport by a member of the staff and taken to my host family. I was very lucky because I immediately fell in love with my placements. I participated in the Teaching Program and was placed at a school called Colegio Agropecuario to teach English to students ages 11 to 18. I also worked in the Sports Program on some afternoons, in which I served as a recreational volleyball coach and mentor to 10 to 11 year old girls. Both of these programs were fun and extremely rewarding. I also always had the support of Projects Abroad, especially as a teacher through teaching workshops and the aid of a teaching supervisor.” Cassie Chee
Naturally Africa Volunteers (NAV) seeks to support sustainable, community-centered volunteer abroad projects throughout Africa in the countries of Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, and Ghana. Although NAV sponsors projects in many different areas of interest, their sports and coaching volunteer abroad experiences are especially designed to build students’ skills in ways that they love. Naturally Africa Volunteers is strongly committed to ensuring that its volunteers are able to work in a way that is safe, sustainable, and highly responsive to the needs of the individual communities. Volunteers who are interested in both teaching and volunteering with sports should check out NAV’s Lake Malawi Program, which places volunteers to work as assistant teachers in order to give students the teacher attention that they desperately need to grow.
What Volunteers Have to Say about Naturally Africa Volunteers:
“From June-July 2-14, I volunteered with Naturally Africa in the village of Nkope, Malawi. My experience was excellent. I was impressed with the mix of international and local staff, the commitment to cultural awareness, and genuine community engagement. The program was oriented toward improving the lives of those in the village through health and education. Its goals were focused and realistic, making its work more impactful. The camaraderie between staff and volunteers was wonderful. I highly recommend this program.” – Courtney Irwin
Global Vision International (GVI) is a volunteer program that aims to connect passionate volunteers with causes that are in desperate need of extra hands and hearts to keep them going. GVI organizes many different trips involving working with disadvantaged youth and children, including its program in Costa Rica, in which volunteers organize extracurricular activities for children who do not usually have access to enrichment activities. Such activities can include music, games, crafts, and sports events. GVI also offers sports and coaching opportunities in other parts of the world such as in South Africa and in Fiji.
Sports and Surfing in South Africa
One project you should definitely check out is GVI’s sports and coaching opportunity in South Africa. On this program, you’ll help teachers and GVI staff with physical education classes for sports like football, cricket, rugby, and more – and you’ll also help run a surf club where you’ll teach surfing lessons and coastal environment care techniques to local children. Plus you can take on extra side trips to Robben Island, Table Mountain, and Cape Point, and go for a wine tasting or wildlife safari. Click here to learn more and to sign up!
Teach Sports in India
Another adventurous program to sign up for with GVI invites you to teach football, netball, cricket, tennis, and athletics to students in India. As a volunteer, you’ll help children of different ages develop English speaking skills, self-confidence, and healthy habits. You’ll work Monday through Friday each week, assisting with physical education classes in the morning, and in the afternoon you help run an after-school sports program. During your stay, you’ll live in a dormitory-style home with other volunteers close to town, and you’ll have plenty of free time to take side trips to Fort Kochi, the Periyar Forest and National Park, and much more. Learn more here!
Community Development Short Term Internship in Cape Town
Finally, if you have six weeks to three months to devote to your adventure abroad, GVI offers an internship in Cape Town, South Africa where you can support local children through games, arts, and much more. Depending on your placement and project needs, you can help with a variety of programs, including:
- Outdoor exercises and games
- Arts and crafts
- Music and drama
- Homework assistance
- Special needs support
- Health workshops
- Numeracy and literacy
Through your efforts, you will contribute to long-term objectives to improve the quality of education locally, promote gender equality, increase the health and well-being of local community members, and provide training to disadvantaged South Africans. Learn more and sign up here!
What Volunteers Have to Say about Global Vision International:
“I was in need of a career break, and was looking to do something out of the ordinary. I was looking to get far away and do something worthwhile. After some heavy research GVI continued to be the organization that ticked all the boxes. They were incredibly helpful when I was choosing my location, and the onsite assistance and support throughout the entire journey was fantastic. I was so lucky to be involved in the Community development program of El Cocal, the children were amazing, I made some friends for life and hopefully one day soon I’ll return for a visit! It really was an unforgettable experience! “- Amelia Rogers
uVolunteer began with their founder, Nathaniel Amponsah-Manu’s personal belief in the power of combining service and travel. When Nathaniel sought to first volunteer abroad in 2006, he wanted to be able to use his expertise (web design and IT) to the benefit of people whose lives could be transformed by more sophisticated computer education. However, he found that the world of international volunteerism wasn’t as developed as he had hoped and it was often difficult to communicate clearly with small, local projects in remote locations. Still, Nathaniel decided to make the leap and spent his first volunteer abroad trip teaching an improvised course on computer science in Thailand. Nathaniel’s experience would lead him to realize the great potential for international, skills-based volunteering. This first volunteer abroad experience would lead him to orchestrate a massive network of volunteer experiences that extend from Thailand to Ghana and Costa Rica and include all types of programs.
What Volunteers Have to Say about uVolunteer:
As we mentioned earlier, our own co-founder, Billy Beltz, was able to use Volunteer Forever to raise over 1,000 dollars to volunteer with uVolunteer’s Teach PE program, a youth sports program, in the province of Trat in Thailand. Billy spent two weeks volunteering in an area of Thailand far off of the beaten tourist track and found the program and his experience to be inspirational and effective:
“First and foremost, uVolunteer is clearly committed to ensuring each project makes a positive impact on the host community in Trat. They had spent significant time engaging with the community and basically becoming an invaluable part of the community itself. I felt like a local from the time I got there; Meaw, the local volunteer coordinator, seemed to know everyone in town and was a trusted figurehead. Everything we did seemed to be supported by the community. It was a unique way to experience Thailand, since Trat is definitely not a tourist attraction. But I think uVolunteer chose it for that very reason- they found a community that could use the help rather than focusing only on a place the volunteers would want to stay. And because of this, you really get an idea of how everyday Thai culture works and how locals live…The project went very well throughout the 2 weeks I was there. Everyone at the school I worked at was fantastic and very supportive.”- Billy Beltz
Founded in 2006, Connect-123 offers tailor-made international internships, volunteer placements, and study abroad opportunities in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. Through these customized trips, you can focus on just about any topic of your choice, including healthcare, human rights, social work, education, sustainable development, marketing, entrepreneurship, fashion, and beyond.
All of Connect-123’s programs are hosted by local organizations – schools, NGOs, hospitals, and more – and with flexible start and end dates, you can apply any time. Connect-123 also offers housing support, orientation, weekly events and socials with fellow travelers, and emergency support – read on to learn about Connect-123’s sports and coaching opportunities abroad!
Sports and Coaching Volunteering in Ireland
Based in Dublin, this program invites you to volunteer with community organizations, nonprofits, and education programs to help young people positively channel their energy. By coaching a youth sports team and mentoring young people, you’ll be able to help promote team building, teach life skills, and help teens with personal development, which is a great way to support at-risk youth. Learn more and sign up here!
Youth Development and Coaching Volunteering in South Africa
Another great volunteer opportunity with Connect-123 brings you to Cape Town, South Africa to volunteer with young people through initiatives including life skills workshops, HIV/AIDS awareness programs, and sports coaching. This is a wonderful way to support youth who are facing poverty, hunger, and an inadequate education system – by helping them invest their energy, time, and enthusiasm into structured and supportive outlets, these children can become successful members of society. Click here to learn more and to sign up!
Ready to volunteer abroad for sports and coaching? Let’s Go!
Now, all that’s left to do is to find the program that suits you best. We’ve tried to get you started by listing a few of our volunteers’ favorite programs above, but there are plenty of other awesome opportunities that might just be the perfect opportunity for you to make a change that lasts. As you sort through the options available to you, check out our article on questions to ask volunteer abroad programs or how to use Volunteer Forever to fund your trip.
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 from one of our many great partners.