Volunteer Abroad Opportunities for Seniors and Retirees
Boomers, seniors, and retirees: are you looking for a wonderful vacation that not only will let you explore the world, but also to make a positive impact on the community you visit? Consider a volunteer vacation!
There are so many reasons seniors and retirees should embark on volunteer trips. Your experience and knowledge can be incredibly valuable to share with a community organization that’s striving to make a difference for people in need, and by volunteering, you can make a direct impact while also learning about a new culture and enjoying free time to explore your country of choice. From teaching English or life skills to underprivileged girls and women in Laos, to providing legal insight for an NGO that supports disadvantaged communities in India, to administering veterinary care to sick and injured animals in Costa Rica, and so much more, there is no shortage of ways you can combine volunteering with your vacation.
Your volunteer trip doesn’t have to be all work and no play, however: many organizations you’ll travel with as a volunteer provide side trips and activities that allow you to explore a new culture, learn the history of the country you’ll visit, and meet local professionals and artisans. You can take cooking classes and dancing lessons, attend workshops and seminars, go hiking or snorkeling, and a wide array of many other activities to let you immerse yourself in a wonderful new location and fully enjoy your trip overseas.
Read on to learn more about some of the many volunteering abroad opportunities perfect for older travelers!
Global Vision International (GVI) offers many different volunteer abroad opportunities for travelers of all ages, including those over 50. With more than 150 different volunteer programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Australasia, GVI offers impactful opportunities in a wide variety of project areas. So far, more than 24,000 travelers have signed up with GVI on projects ranging from conservation, to teaching, to construction and beyond.
Based in Luang Prabang - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - this program invites you to contribute to sustainable women’s empowerment initiatives locally. From English teaching, to life skills workshops, and beyond, you can make a difference in women trying to improve their quality of life and the future of their family and community. Along the way, you will immerse yourself in Lao culture and learn about its history, food, religion, and language, and you will even be able to enjoy a weekend break along the Mekong River. Optional side trips include a visit to the Pak Ou Caves, which hold thousands of Buddha images, a tour of weaving villages, and much more.
If your background is in healthcare or medicine - or if you have an interest in these initiatives - you’re invited to volunteer with GVI in Thailand, where you can work with a local community to improve their health and hygiene through education. Based in Phang Nga, this program invites you to volunteer with children, as well as some adults who are physically or mentally disabled, through a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, exercise, basic English teaching, and health and hygiene education in schools, care centers, and community centers. During your free time, you will have lots of opportunity to visit beaches, parks, and caves, and even take optional side trips to Khao Sok National Park, Phuket Island, and much more.
Another excellent healthcare program through GVI that’s perfect for seniors and retirees takes place in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where you will volunteer alongside Integral Care Center to support children and young people with special needs. As a volunteer, you will play a role in empowering children and others in need by providing different types of therapies, such as aqua and physical therapy, as well as equine therapy. You also will be able to help with basic to advanced education, as well as teaching basic life skills that will allow youth to perform day-to-day activities. During your free time, you will be able to go snorkeling, visit Mayan archaeological sites, and more.
Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel offers many different programs in Latin America for travelers who want to volunteer, intern abroad, teach abroad, learn Spanish, and more. More than 25,000 travelers have signed up with Maximo Nivel, which offers affordable placements in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru starting from just $595 for one week abroad. For seniors and retirees, Maximo Nivel can be an excellent option for solo travel, to learn Spanish abroad, or even to vacation with your spouse or family.
If you’ve always wanted to become fluent in Spanish, now is your chance: through Maximo Nivel’s Spanish language immersion programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, you can take courses customized to your learning requirements. Group classes range from 2 to 8 participants, allowing for a great balance between engagement and personalized attention. You also can choose to take private classes while visiting Central or South America, where you can learn at your own pace and choose how intensive your instruction is - whether you would like to take a full day of classes every day, or even just one hour of tutoring while exploring the area and immersing yourself in the culture, Maximo Nivel is an excellent way to learn a new language while spending time abroad.
Maximo Nivel offers several different volunteer programs that can let you use your skills and knowledge - or pick up new skills while exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. Programs include:
Working with children
Conservation and the environment
Working with indigenous communities
No matter your background or age, Maximo Nivel has wonderful opportunities to make a difference in communities in need. And if you’re traveling with a group or with your spouse or family, Maximo Nivel can arrange meaningful and engaging trips as well.
Another impactful volunteer opportunity to consider is International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). Since its founding in 2007, IVHQ has placed more than 68,000 volunteers around the world on 150 projects from childcare, to community building, to medical care, and everything in between. With programs in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific, IVHQ has so much opportunity for travelers who want to make a difference and pursue adventure, whether you’re traveling on your own or with a group, or for a week or several months.
Perfect for senior travelers, IVHQ’s NGO support volunteer programs offer the opportunity to help build capacity and support for local businesses, nonprofits, and community groups. A few tasks you might be able to take on as a volunteer include general administration, grant writing, research, marketing, fundraising, IT support, website development and teaching English. Right now, IVHQ offers NGO support placements in Cambodia, Ecuador, Italy, New Zealand, Romania, and Spain. This is a wonderful way to assist local community-based organizations that are understaffed or underfunded, but that can make an excellent impact with volunteers like you.
Through IVHQ’s medical and healthcare volunteer programs, you will have the chance to work alongside local professionals in hospitals, clinics, and community centers to provide medical and healthcare, support, and education within the community. For 9 years, IVHQ has provided medical placements not only for students who want to learn more about their future work, but also for medical mission teams comprised of professionals who’d like to put their hard-earned skills to use with grateful communities in need. Areas of specialty include physiotherapy, pharmacy, speech therapy, HIV/AIDS support, midwifery and pediatrics, and much more. Right now, IVHQ is offering medical and healthcare placements in Argentina, Bali, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.
For over 20 years, Projects Abroad has offered volunteer programs throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the South Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. As one of the world’s largest volunteer travel organizations, Projects Abroad sends more than 10,000 volunteers on high-quality programs each year, ranging from archaeology, to teaching, to child care, to medical assistance, and much more. Projects Abroad offers many different volunteer programs perfect for older travelers, particularly skilled placements in areas such as medical care, journalism, or NGO support.
For one to two weeks, you’re invited to take part in a group trip through Projects Abroad specifically designed for travelers over age 50. These programs will give you the chance to work alongside like-minded people, explore a new community, and have the most impact possible on your host community while you’re abroad. Right now, Projects Abroad is offering several different group projects for older travelers, including:
Conservation and community development in Ecuador: Volunteer for environmental protection and teach English to students in the Galapagos Islands
Shark conservation in Fiji: Assist with ongoing shark research being conducted by renowned scientists in this beautiful island nation
Teaching in Peru: Teach conversational English to students in Cusco, allowing them the chance to further their education and career opportunities
Care and Community in Nepal: Volunteer in a school or community center to support children through running educational activities and helping with outreach and renovation work
READY TO TRAVEL?
These were just a few of the many different amazing volunteer abroad opportunities available to travelers over 50 - whether you would like to teach, care for children, or put your years of experience and carefully honed skills to use for a community abroad, you’re sure to find an engaging and worthwhile trip. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer programs open to seniors and retirees, please click here to start searching for the perfect opportunity.
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February 02, 2017 | Read 697,286 Times