When you think about volunteering in Greece, you may soon be counting gyros as you fall asleep. And while it’s true that the rich cultural landscape across the Greek islands is alluring enough to attract you like a magnet, there are plenty of ways to give back to a nation that has offered the world so much. Between volunteering with vulnerable populations to helping protect the environment, volunteer programs in Greece are truly diverse. Here are some things to know about spending time in Greece and the volunteer projects that connect you with meaningful work.
Know Before You Go
Greece is a sun-soaked nation in Southeast Europe, comprised of thousands of islands. The exact number of islands in Greece is actually debated, with estimates ranging as high as 6,000. The capital of the country is Athens, a city that boasts more concentrated history than most places on earth. But Greece is known for more than the Acropolis and Parthenon of Athens — its famous black sand beaches and the lively atmosphere of Mykonos also draw in quite the crowds.
For a country as beautiful and tourist-heavy as Greece, you may be wondering why they would need international volunteers. The truth is that tourism has taken a toll on parts of Greece, especially coastal regions. Greece is considered a hotspot for biodiversity, and its animals are facing extinction as their natural habitats are threatened. Aside from tourism, industries like fishing and forestry are also affecting native species. This has created a demand for eco-volunteers in Greece: you can learn about the dynamic ecosystem while helping to preserve it. Greece also hosts many refugees, particularly from Syria and Afghanistan, who are awaiting placement in new home nations.
What else can you expect during your time in Greece? The country is quite rainy in the winter, though the temperatures remain mild with an average of 52 degrees. By August, the high temperature can reach about 92 degrees on average. The diet in Greece has a few staples: olives and olive oil, eggplant, lentils, yogurt, fish, and lamb.