Volunteering abroad with a friend is a great way to do some good, have fun, broaden your perspectives, and build a stronger relationship. Simply put, it can be the best time of your life. Going abroad with friends enables you to have familiar support and share the traveling experience with someone special to you. Moreover, you can still make lasting connections with locals and fellow volunteers.
Whether you decide to volunteer for marine conservation in Fiji or work in childcare in Peru, know there are lots of reputable organizations and programs across the world to choose from. Let this article be your resource for figuring out what you want to do and where you want to go.
What You Can Do When You Volunteer Abroad With A Friend
For volunteer trips abroad with a travel buddy, the choice of destination may require some discussion. It’s vital to consider each other’s preferences, and find a good compromise that best meets both of your desires and goals.
When it comes to adult and teen volunteer trips for groups of people, there are many types of programs, including:
- Education projects: For instance, you could teach English in China with your travel buddy, volunteer in childcare in Costa Rica, and more.
- Community development: Help build schools, health clinics, community centers, and more in places like Tanzania and Puerto Rico.
- Medicine internships: Usually for those enrolled in medical school or preparing for professional work, as well as those currently working in healthcare, medicine internships are a great way to provide impoverished people quality healthcare services. You can literally help save lives with your friends!
- Environmental conservation: Experience life in some of the most beautiful places in the world–and help preserve the biodiversity there. From wildlife research in Guyana in the Amazon rainforest to Great Barrier Reef conservation projects in Australia, the places you can go are amazing.
- Social change initiatives: For example, you could volunteer for women’s empowerment in India with your friend or do a law and human rights internship in South Africa. Such programs work to empower disadvantaged people and catalyze positive societal change.
No matter what you do, there is incredible opportunity for personal growth when you volunteer abroad with a friend. You can encourage each other, learn from each other, step out of your comfort zone together, and work to make a difference together. And, when you come back home, you’ll have inside jokes and be able to tell stories that begin with things like, “Remember when we were in Cambodia and…”
For adult, college, and high school volunteer trips with friends, you have ample options. To help you navigate through all the volunteer programs out there, check out our featured programs below. You and your friend will certainly find a high-quality project that matches your interests!
Plan My Gap Year
An award-winning organization, Plan My Gap Year is a great choice for volunteering abroad with a friend, as they offer programs in 17 countries across Asia, Africa, and South America, including:
- Volunteering to support NGOs in Hanoi, Vietnam (from $684 for two weeks): Tackle important challenges in healthcare, promote human rights, and implement environmental conservation strategies with local NGOs. Explore happening Hanoi, including Old Quarter, in your free time.
- Be a medical volunteer in Kumasi, Ghana (from $714 for two weeks): Gain first-hand experience into Ghana’s healthcare system as you support understaffed and under-resourced hospitals. When you’re not busy, check out sites in Kumasi with your friends, such as Manhyia Palace.
If you and your friend looking for adult or teen volunteer trips in Central and South America, Maximo Nivel may just be your best bet. They’re known for great programs in this region, such as their sustainable agriculture and indigenous communities support projects in Guatemala. Fees begin at $645 for one week for Guatemala programs).
Or, you could volunteer in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel. Notable projects include beach conservation, sea turtle conservation, working with kids, and organic farming (fees begin at $695 for one week). When you’re not volunteering, you and your friend can see the capital of San Jose, as well as all those wonderful natural spots around the country.
With Love Volunteers, there’s just so much you can do when you volunteer abroad with a friend. They’re an organization that’s committed to affordability for their volunteers and making a big impact on the communities they serve.
Want to help out Syrian refugees? Head to Istanbul, Turkey (from $529 for one week), and work on projects designed to empower refugees to break out of poverty and build better futures. The experience can be a true eye-opener.
Or, maybe you want to teach sports? Journey to Brazil, where you and your friend can coach sports and work to give children the in Rio’s shanty towns a chance at a brighter tomorrow (from $409 for one week).
Founded in 1992 and known for their exceptional support, Projects Abroad has placed more than 120,000 volunteers and interns in incredible projects throughout the world. With a large variety of reputable, impactful, and safe initiatives, from wildlife conservation in Botswana to archaeology volunteer projects in Romania, you and your friend are certain to find a program you both like.
For example, Projects Abroad has offerings specifically for group volunteer trips. Volunteer in childcare in Colombo, Sri Lanka (from $2,505 for two weeks), and help local children get their education off to a strong start. Or, you and your travel buddy could do rainforest conservation work in Peru at the breathtaking Taricaya Ecological Reserve ($1,410 for two weeks).
Projects Abroad has options for high school volunteer trips as well, like this community development project in Samoa. Immerse yourself in traditional Samoan village life and help run literacy programs at a local library (fees from $2,805 for two weeks). The human rights internship in Cordoba, Argentina is a great initiative if you’re interested in law and want to raise awareness about human rights issues and empower disadvantaged communities ($3,105 for two weeks or $4,180 for four weeks).
Projects Abroad even has opportunities for younger folks. Their middle school volunteer trips include a service learning trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where you’ll help teach English at a local kindergarten, do community clean-ups, and get the chance to learn about the local culture and language (from $2,805 for two weeks).
If you and your best friend want to volunteer in Africa, then Agape Volunteers is a highly recommended organization. Focused on humanitarian work that guarantees real impact, Agape Volunteers is well-regarded in the volunteering industry. Their programs are quite affordable and come with free travel insurance (a benefit not commonly provided for volunteer abroad excursions).
Agape Volunteers has numerous unique volunteer projects in Africa where you and your friend can make a difference. You may teach music to children in Ghana and empower them to unleash their full creative potential (fees from £510 or ~$644 USD for one week). Or, you could engage in animal conservation efforts in Marakele National Park in South Africa (from £1530 or ~$1,933 USD for two weeks).
Another awesome program is the English teaching initiative in Kenya (from £590 or ~$745 for one week). Through this project, you can help the youth learn a language that will make them more employable in the future and help them break the cycle of poverty. You’ll also have fun playing games and sports with the children.
A Broader View (ABV)
Since starting in 2007, A Broader View has sent more than 19,900 volunteers abroad to destinations across four continents. A highly trusted organization, ABV is known for their meaningful projects and commitment to safety and affordability. ABV currently has more than 245 social projects around the world, including many suitable options if you’re volunteering abroad with a friend, like the HIV/AIDS awareness and care initiative in Honduras (from $895 and the women’s empowerment and agricultural project in Nepal(from $890 for one week).
A Broader View offers volunteer groups, such as faculty-led service learning trips or friends going on a volunteer vacation, the chance to book together. Belize is a popular destination for friends volunteering together, as you can help out at a local orphanage, teach, or care for animals, all the while enjoying the fun and beauty of the country (from $895 per person for one week).
ABV also organizes student trips, such as a trek in the Andean highlands of Peru or a safari in Tanzania. These customized programs are great choices if you want to travel abroad with a friend and explore the culture and history of another place.
Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS)
Focused on maximizing volunteer impact and creating authentic travel experiences, Cross Cultural Solutions is highly recommended by previous volunteers and has been featured in publications like The Wall Street Journal and Time. With more than two decades of experience, CCS has plenty of programs if you’re looking to volunteer abroad with a friend.
For high school volunteer abroad trips, CCS has some noteworthy programs. These include:
- Volunteer opportunities in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco: Coach sports and/or teach English in the stunning Atlas Mountains region. And help improve the future prospects of local children.
- Volunteer opportunities in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica: Teach sports, lead English language workshops, and/or provide basic health services to communities in need. Enjoy the culture and tropical living offered in Santa Cruz.
Note: For these high school volunteer programs, fees begin at $2,500 per person for one week (if booking with 2-3 people). It’s $2,250 per person if booking with 4+ people.
Cross Cultural Solutions also has group volunteer programs for families, friends, companies, and classmates, like childcare projects in Ghana. Pricing for groups of families and friends start from $1,750 (2-3 people) or $1,490 (4+ people) for one week.
One more great CCS group program is the refugee support program in Greece. Bring normalcy and dignity to the lives of refugees by working at a supply distribution center, helping out at a female-friendly space, and/or assisting at a clothing shop.
Known for offering real and raw volunteer experiences in off-the-beaten-path locations, Fronteering is your go-to organization if you and your travel buddy want to do something unforgettable and see some of the world’s most unspoiled natural spots.
For instance, you could journey to Guyana and take part in a jungle survival adventure. Live in the remote Amazon rainforest, and learn how to survive on your own through hunting with a bow and arrow, making traps, searching for water sources, and more. Doesn’t that sound intense and exciting? The two-week program costs $2,795.
Or, perhaps you want to learn more about indigenous communities and preserve the environment? Travel to Yukon, Canada, and work alongside a First Nation Community as you perform wildlife research and contribute to conservation efforts. Immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the First Nation people during your time. The program starts from $945 for two weeks.
Global Vision International (GVI)
Operating since 1998, GVI has numerous award-winning programs and is known for their variety of high quality and high impact conservation and community development programs. Their projects have missions that fit with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.
If you’re looking to volunteer abroad with a friend, GVI certainly has a program that will catch both your eyes, such as this community development program in Kerala, India, where you can teach English to slum children and build eco-gardens. Some other excellent projects run by Global Vision International are:
- Marine conservation in Mexico (from $2,595 for one week): Suitable for alternative spring break trips, this program gives you the chance to earn PADI Open Water certification and contribute to conservation efforts for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Have a good time and do some good!
- Community development in Phang Nga, Thailand: Work on construction projects, promote environmental education, teach children, host skills workshops, and more in one of Thailand’s most beautiful regions. Note this project is one of GVI’s top choices for high school volunteer trips and university volunteer adventures.
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Known for packing itineraries with leadership development, volunteering projects, and learning opportunities, GLA offers group volunteer trips for teens across more than 20 countries. For high school volunteer trips, GLA is absolutely a top organization, whether you want to teach at a children’s camp in tropical Fiji or be a healthcare volunteer in Haiti.
With GLA, you can choose among dozens of great volunteer programs to go on with your travel buddy. A few notable ones include:
- Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™: Make the adventure to Hispaniola, where you’ll work on eco-friendly building projects, create a community garden, and promote sustainable natural resources management. During free time, go rafting, snorkel, and tour the city of Santo Domingo.
- Thailand: The Elephant Sanctuary Project: Journey to Chiang Rai, where you’ll care for Asian elephants at a true sanctuary. You’ll also get to teach English to local children. When you’re not volunteering, hike to waterfalls, check out night markets, learn Thai, and more.
What’s convenient about GLA is that they have pre-designed programs for teen volunteer trips, but you can also customize your adventure based on your budget needs, interests, and accommodation preferences. Just get in touch with GLA staff and they’ll go the extra mile to craft the right program for your group.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
Around since 2007, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is known for their affordability and commitment to making a difference. They have year-round projects that are great for adult, college, and high school volunteer trips with two or more people.
Looking for a destination in North America? Volunteer in Mexico with your friend. IVHQ offers projects in childcare, agriculture, teaching English, and more in the vibrant city of Merida, which is the capital of Yucatan and has a rich Mayan heritage. Fees begin at $270 for one week.
Or, if you’re hoping to go to Asia, consider volunteering in the Philippines at a kindergarten, on a construction project, or with an environmental conservation initiative. Projects are hosted in Palawan, a gorgeous archipelagic province. Fees begin at just $220 for one week.
For Raleigh International, volunteer expeditions are all about bringing people together to create lasting change. The organization’s work contributes to eight of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
When you volunteer abroad with a friend through Raleigh International, you’ll be contributing towards goals like no poverty, quality education, and access to clean water and sanitation. Programs offered by Raleigh International are called Expeditions. Prices begin from $3,100 for four weeks. 10-week Expeditions cost $5,000.
For example, you could volunteer in Nepal to help build and repair water infrastructure that was damaged by the 2015 earthquake. Raleigh International’s Expedition in Nepal also includes a trek through immaculate Ruby Valley in Dhading District.
Or, you may wish to go on an Expedition in Tanzania. Promote safe water and hygiene knowledge to schoolchildren, work on a sustainable forest management project, and go on a trek through the Morogoro region or Southern Highlands.
Ready To Volunteer Abroad With Your Friend?
From high school volunteer trips for groups of friends to volunteer travel for retirees, there’s something for everyone. In short, you’re definitely going to have fun. Just do your research first and communicate with your friend(s). And you’ll choose the best possible program.
Ready to plan your trip with your travel buddy? Get an account on Volunteer Forever, and you can start a fundraiser to reduce your travel expenses. And then start packing your bags.
Nick Callos · Writer
With a BA in English Literature & Writing from Boston College, Nick researches and writes about volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs worldwide. He has studied abroad and taught English in Chengdu, China, and aims to help fellow travelers make a lasting impact on the communities they visit.