From the Pyrenees Mountains and dramatic coastlines to Gaudí’s architectural gems and Picasso’s masterpieces, Spain leaves quite the impression. Add in delicious food and wine, and it’s easy to see why the country is a top destination for travelers who want to volunteer or intern abroad.
Spain offers a breadth of options to do good while building your career or enhancing your education, from environmental conservation in the countryside to teaching English in disadvantaged communities. This guide can help you plan and find a program that’s just right for you.
Know Before You Go
If you’re going to be interning or volunteering in Spain, understand this is a country with incredible geographic and cultural diversity. Research destinations before going, as Spain is full of unique cities, villages, and nature.
In addition to Spanish, the national language, you’ll hear different languages across the country, such as Catalan, which is spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, and Andorra, as well as the Balearic Isles and other areas. Other common languages include Galician and Basque.
It’s also important to know Spain’s recent history. The country survived civil war and fascism during the 20th century, although it’s easy to forget this considering how festive the atmosphere is today. Take some time to research and learn about the history of Spain, as its story from ancient times to present is truly remarkable.
Types of Interning and Volunteering in Spain
Interning and volunteering in Spain is especially popular for those intrigued by the beauty, depth, and variety of Spanish culture. For instance, Spain’s modern economy offers plenty of opportunities in professional fields, making it attractive for interns. The country’s natural environments, communities, and agricultural areas also attract many international volunteers.
If you want to volunteer in Spain, popular options include:
- Teaching English: Tutor students in English and help increase their future employment opportunities.
- Cultural immersion service trips: Learn Spanish, visit art museums, and experience “flamenco night” as you travel the country, volunteering in schools, villages, and other places.
- Special needs support: Teach disabled children and adults important life skills and engage in fun games and activities.
If you want to intern in Spain, popular options include:
- Technology: Support NGOs and other organizations in Spain by building their online presence.
- Journalism: Gain experience in reporting and content production as you capture exciting stories around Spain.
- Marine conservation: Help protect the habitat of whales and dolphins near the Canary Islands, improve the quality of water at Albufera Natural Park, monitor sea turtle nesting sites and more.
Founded in 2006, Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) is perfect for those who want to make a difference abroad, but who are on a tight budget. With volunteer programs and internships overseas starting from just $200 for your first week, VolSol works hard to make sure you’re able to make an impact on communities in need, at a low cost. Each year, VolSol sends hundreds of volunteers and interns all over the world on projects focusing on children’s education and development, community building, women’s empowerment, medical care, and much more. Right now, Volunteering Solutions offers several opportunities in Spain, spanning from two weeks to three months.
Childcare in Social Welfare
If you want to make a difference for children in need, take a look at VolSol’s childcare in social welfare program in Spain, where you’ll tutor children from disadvantaged backgrounds at a local community center. These children often do not receive the care and support they need at home, which impacts their educational development. As a result, many of them struggle with homework – as a volunteer, you’ll help ensure these children can have a brighter future. A few things you can do include helping with homework, teaching English, playing games, organizing cultural activities, and serving as a mentor and role model.
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation in Spain
If you’re more interested in a European adventure, Volunteering Solutions has an amazing conservation volunteer opportunity in Spain, where you’ll travel to the Valencia region to help with protection of its biodiversity and ecosystem. You’ll work at the Albufera Natural Park and other wetlands to improve the quality of the water and ecosystems, help with dune and beach conservation, monitor turtles, help with restoring bird habitats, take flora and fauna surveys, help with tree planting and forest fire prevention, and assist with eradicating invasive vegetation. As part of your trip, you also will be able to visit ancient monuments and heritage sites, hang out at Valencia’s beaches, learn about Spanish culture and traditions, and so much more. As a volunteer, you can stay two weeks or longer in Spain, starting from $1,000.
International Volunteer HQ
IVHQ has sent more than 80,000 interns and volunteers overseas since 2007 when the organization launched. They’re truly transforming the face of volunteer travel by ensuring that the needs of the local people and environment come first.
For those looking to volunteer in Spain with International Volunteer HQ, you have numerous options, such as:
- Teaching: Educate students in the English language. Or, if you have some Spanish skills, teach math, computer science, sports and more.
- Agriculture: Teach gardening and farming techniques to migrants and individuals with special needs. The goal is to provide them with the skills necessary to find employment in the local community.
- After-school support: Work at local youth centers to offer educational and social support to students from disadvantaged communities and backgrounds.
IVHQ programs in Spain are held in and around Madrid and last anywhere from two to 12 weeks. Fees start at $720.
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
If you want to volunteer in Spain and completely immerse yourself in the local culture, Global Leadership Adventures is a great choice. Operating since 2003, GLA combines a powerful cultural experience with meaningful service work.
GLA’s Spanish Service Adventure program gives you the opportunity to improve your Spanish through a mix of immersion and classroom instruction. During your stay, you can take a paella workshop, explore Barcelona’s world-renowned architecture and learn to dance flamenco. On top of that, you get to do community service in Valencia, where you’ll help teenagers and young adults improve the skills necessary to obtain employment. The program lasts 21 days and costs $6,499.
With over 400 projects across the globe, Frontier absolutely plays a part in helping volunteers be active global citizens. For those looking to intern or volunteer in Spain, they have numerous programs.
If you want to intern in Spain, consider Frontier’s media and journalism internship in Tenerife. This is a great opportunity for aspiring journalists, bloggers, photographers and videographers to gain hands-on experience. Capture life in the stunning Canary Islands in whatever way you do best. The program lasts two months and costs $2,595.
Making the Most Out of Interning or Volunteering in Spain
Options aren’t limited for interning or volunteering in Spain. Take time to research and find the program that matches your needs, goals, preferences, and budget.
The programs listed here are all reputable and a good place to start your search. Go through these and you’ll find a volunteer or internship opportunity that will lead to an amazing experience in Spain.
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.