Updated for 2023-2024
If you’re looking to do something a bit different on your European trip, Italy offers tons of opportunities to volunteer and intern abroad. While this is a wonderful destination just to kick back and relax – or go exploring! – there also are ways that you can make a difference for communities in need in this beautiful country. Let’s a look at some of the benefits of volunteering abroad in Italy:
- Make an impact on the community. Volunteer opportunities in after-school care, English education, historic site preservation, and much more give you the chance to make an impact on the community that welcomes you.
- Transform your perspective. It’s easy to have a narrow view of what’s going on in the world if you are far removed from it! Reading the news online or watching it on TV only gives you so much insight. The immersive experience provides learning and engagement opportunities to help you transform your views of different people, societies, and cultures. Volunteering in Italy allows you to step into the world of Italian culture and experience real life that can lead to a transformation of perspective.
- Commitment brings change. Through the efforts of volunteers like you, NGOs and community-based programs can effect change locally – whether it’s through education, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation, or preservation of historic artifacts and structures.
- Experience culture. As an international volunteer, you will have the wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, from tasting different foods to enhancing your language skills to better communicating with others.
Regardless of whether you have only one week to give, or if you would like to take a whole semester or a career break in Italy, there are so many different ways that you can get involved! Let’s take a look at just a few of the many worthwhile volunteer abroad programs that you can be a part of in Italy.
Featured Volunteer Programs in Italy
International Volunteer HQ has placed more than 130,000 travelers since its founding in 2007and offers volunteer opportunities across the globe, from Europe to Africa to Asia and beyond. IVHQ offers a variety of impactful projects you can join in Italy, including teaching, sustainable farming, nongovernmental organization (NGO) support, and after-school care. While IVHQ’s program in Italy is based in Rome, its impact stretches to several regions throughout the country. Volunteers will have weekends free to explore the city and surrounding regions and attractions, including Salerno, Pompeii, and Capri.
On this program, you will be responsible for assisting teachers at local NGOS in Rome. This program also intertwines with the after-school care project, where you can help social workers who support children ages 4 to 18 with educational activities and workshops including art, sports, and cooking. You also will be able to create activities for the after-school care project
This climate action program has the goal of tackling the effects of climate change outreach and directly contributing to making Rome a greener city. During your time here, you can expect long days filled with physical labor, but it’s an excellent opportunity to be a part of conserving and enhancing the city’s greenery. This program requires at least a two-week commitment, and you’ll take part in activities such as tree planting, litter collection, and weeding.
This program aims to help NGOs with limited resources through community development projects in the Rome region, specifically after-school and summer programs for children and teens. If you’re self-driven and highly motivated, the NGO Support project with IVHQ may be the ideal volunteer abroad opportunity for you. Each day is different, but you can expect to help with tasks such as providing English-language support and helping run community workshops. It also gives you the opportunity to provide counseling if you are qualified.
Click here to learn more about volunteering in Italy with IVHQ!
Founded in 2006, GoEco features more than 150 community, wildlife, and environmental programs across 40 countries. Recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization in 2018 by GoAbroad, GoEco has affordable, ethical projects where you can make a true difference. If you want to volunteer in Italy, they have a wonderful dolphin research expedition. See the details below!
Assist with dolphin data collection while living aboard a historic boat. Based along the coastline of the Italian island of Ischia, this program puts you on the front lines of dolphin conservation. You’ll get to film dolphins, record behavioral data, record bioacoustics, and steer the boat. You’ll work with all sorts of marine research equipment, learn how to operate a boat, and build your knowledge of marine biology. How amazing does that sound?
What’s also great is that Ischia is a breathtakingly beautiful place. So, are you ready to meet dolphins in paradise? Find out more about the program here.
Frontier offers unique volunteer abroad opportunities in the heart of Italy, including marine and language opportunities. Founded in 1989 as a non-profit NGO by Eibleis Fanning, Frontier began by helping the World Wildlife Fund in Tanzania, creating the world’s first multi-user marine park at Mafia Island. The project continues to host volunteers today, a testament to Frontier’s mission of safeguarding biodiversity and building sustainable endeavors. Frontier is a global organization with tremendous impact, having expanded to 60 countries and offering more than 400 projects worldwide. With an emphasis on conserving endangered wildlife and threatened habitats and building livelihoods for under-resourced communities, Frontier strives for solutions that are apolitical. Here is a sample of what you can expect.
Travel to Bologna, Italy, home of the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088, and learn the Italian language. Thousands of students flock to the city each year, enriching the social scene and making it one of the most culturally diverse locales in the country. Improve your linguistic skills and make lasting memories. Explore the Po Valley and the Apennine Mountains, and soak in the city’s cultural events including world-class music, theater, festivals, art, and cinema.
If you love dolphins and marine life, then it’s worth exploring the Italy Dolphin Monitoring and Sailing program on the island of Ischia, in the Gulf of Naples. Take part in activities such as dolphin watching and photographic identification as you stay on a historic boat. Live, work and even sleep (if you wish!) outside on the deck of a wooden sailing vessel, stargazing at night, and watching whales during the day. The program also provides training on how to operate the equipment.
Click here to learn more about volunteering in Italy with Frontier.
Global Nomadic is another excellent choice for volunteers, having placed more than 10,000 people on internships, TEFL courses, and volunteer placements since 2009. Its projects are global, reaching more than 40 countries and include environmental conservation, wildlife rehabilitation, social sustainability, and human rights. Global Nomadic was founded by Jeremy Freedman after his academic career stalled, and he bought a one-way ticket to Senegal. His experiences abroad spurred him to launch Global Nomadic, a company that connects high-quality project providers with people worldwide. Its mission is to provide opportunities for people to travel, develop skills and enable professionals to develop careers with international organizations that improve the world.
This project with Global Nomadic is perfect for students of marine biology, environmental conservation, and cetology research. You’ll travel to Ischia, a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples. Ischia is surrounded by mineral-rich thermal waters that provide a habitat for several species of whales, including gigantic fin and sperm whales, as well as several types of dolphins. The program places volunteers from June through October, working and studying aboard a historical cutter ship, investigating declining dolphin populations in the Italian Mediterranean with a local NGO. Cetacean research tasks include monitoring wildlife, performing acoustic analysis, and daily lectures.
Want to learn more about volunteering in Italy with Global Nomadic?
For more than 20 years, i-to-i TEFL courses have been preparing and placing teachers worldwide. i-to-i’s mission is to make teaching abroad as straightforward as possible, and accessible to everyone. Even if you don’t want to teach forever, combining a trip overseas with a teaching position means you gain valuable experience that allows you to generate income abroad. Established in 1994, i-to-i is the longest-running TEFL organization. i-to-i also is regulated and accredited, which means your i-to-i certificate will stand out on job applications.
i-to-i offers internships and jobs in a variety of countries, including Italy. Of course, these are on a first-come, first-served basis, so you need to check the jobs board as soon as you have completed your TEFL course. Teaching English abroad is an amazing way to see the world while you gain professional experience. Want to know more?
Click here to check out the TEFL jobs that are currently open in Europe.
Volunteer in Italy with a Purpose
Volunteering in Italy comes with a whole host of benefits, although it does take time, commitment, and determination. This is an amazing opportunity for you to help others in need. You also will be able to meet new people and forge bonds that can last a lifetime with people who believe in the same causes as you. Take a chance and enjoy a life-changing experience; make a difference in communities abroad by volunteering in Italy!