Want to volunteer abroad but worried about the Coronavirus?
You’re right to have concerns. By March 27, 2020, more than 25,000 people had died from the Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China—far more than the 774 lives claimed by SARS in all of 2002-2003. And we only became aware of the outbreak in Wuhan at the end of December 2019.
The COVID-19 virus, as it’s called, first hit the city of Wuhan and its province, Hubei, the hardest. Surrounding provinces and cities, such as the province of Henan Province and the city of Shanghai, saw a high number of Coronavirus cases as well.
Though COVID-19 cases appear to have slowed down in China and South Korea, another early hotspot, the virus has spread across the world. And life, as we know it, has changed dramatically.
From Thailand to South Africa to Argentina to Canada, every area of the world has been hit. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. During the first part of March, Europe became the epicenter, as Italy and Spain became the two countries with the highest number of Coronavirus-related deaths.
In late March, New York City became the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the United States saw its number of cases surpass all other countries.
These are unprecedented and truly difficult times. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Before we continue, let us say:
Thank you to all those on the front lines, the doctors, the nurses, the pharmacists, the first responders, and other medical staff. You’ve risked your health to save us. You are the true heroes.
Thank you to everyone working to get us what we need. Without the grocery store employees, the delivery drivers, the warehouse staff, the manufacturing workers, and others who are supporting the relief operation, we wouldn’t be able to fight this deadly virus. Without teachers and childcare workers, we couldn’t support our youth. You all are the everyday heroes.
Thank you to everyone practicing social distancing and staying at home. You’ve done your part to prevent the spread.
We previously covered where you could safely volunteer during the Coronavirus outbreak. That was in mid-February 2020. Given the way COVID-19 has spread, we had to update this post. For most volunteers, it’s legally not possible or at least not advisable to go volunteer abroad at this time.
So, in this article, we’ll highlight volunteer projects that you can join after the Coronavirus pandemic has passed and life returns to some sort of normalcy. See what programs catch your eye, bookmark them, and apply to one later.
With these volunteer programs, use a wait-and-see approach. Because we don’t know when the Coronavirus outbreak will slow. The situation changes rapidly, so it’s hard to plan a volunteer trip now. If you’re interested in a specific program, stay in touch with the organization. That way, once things do settle down, you’ll be ready to apply and go volunteer abroad.
Note: Hopefully, the rate of new coronavirus cases slows and effective treatments and a vaccine are developed. There has been much progress already and the way countries and international health organizations have been working together bodes well for all of us. In the meantime, we’ll continually update this guide and our list of the best volunteer abroad programs as the situation evolves.
Also, regularly check this live map from Johns Hopkins University that tracks the Coronavirus outbreak around the world. This way, you can stay updated on when it’s safe to go volunteer abroad.
Best Volunteer Programs for After the Coronavirus Outbreak
Plan My Gap Year (PMGY)
If you’re looking for volunteer abroad programs after the Coronavirus outbreak, put Plan My Gap Year at the top of your list. An award-winning organization, Plan My Gap Year receives high praise from past volunteers for their affordable fees, superb support, and impactful projects. On Volunteer Forever, PMGY has a rating of 4.82 out of 5 stars across 2,195 reviews.
With projects across Asia, Oceania, Africa, and South America, PMGY has plenty of options for volunteer destinations after the Coronavirus outbreak. Read below!
Teach English in Ecuador
Price: $789 for 2 weeks; $984 for 4 weeks
Gain teaching experience as you help secondary school students learn English—a language skill that can open up economic opportunities for them in the future. As a teaching volunteer in Quito, your duties will include assisting local teachers, conversing and playing games with the students, and tutoring students after school.
In the afternoons and evenings, enjoy the city of Quito, Put a foot in each hemisphere at Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, explore Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, and more. And if you have extra time, end your volunteer vacation with a trip to the Galapagos Islands!
Childcare Volunteering in Fiji
Price: $639 for 2 weeks; $1,029 for 4 weeks
Journey to Suva, Fiji’s capital. As a childcare volunteer, you’ll support staff at local kindergartens and daycares, ensuring each child gets the attention they need to develop. Your efforts go a long way in helping working families get their young children a quality education and learning environment. Examples of things you’ll do include reading stories to the kids, teaching English, playing games, and helping with general maintenance.
Past volunteers have wonderful things to say about this project, such as Manouk:
“All of the staff and children were so welcoming and kind towards us. We wish we could have stayed longer. I would 100% do another volunteer project with PMGY. They’re there to help with anything you need or anything you are worried about.”
What’s great about this program is that you’ll be in Fiji. Snorkel, relax on the beach, go hiking, and more. And check out the Municipal Market in Suva for some amazingly fresh fruit!
Read more about volunteering in Fiji
Medical Volunteering in Ghana
Price: $714 for 2 weeks; $894 for 4 weeks
What better time than now to serve as a healthcare volunteer? Based in Accra, Ghana’s bustling capital, this project suits medical and nursing students, as well as anyone interested in helping Ghanian healthcare professionals serve people in need. As a volunteer, you’ll get to assist staff in a variety of departments, from general surgery and midwifery to radiology and pharmacology. Your role is mostly observational, but your help with administrative tasks and errands will benefit the under-resourced and understaffed hospital. You’ll also get to take part in community outreach campaigns in rural areas, which bring much-needed health education and services to villages.
During free time, have fun in Accra! Visit Osu Castle, relax on Bojo Beach, and more. Already packing your bags?
Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel is the leading volunteer program provider in Latin America. They directly oversee internships, study abroad programs, and volunteer projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. That means the chance to volunteer with a local organization and work on initiatives that address real needs in the community. Maximo Nivel staff are with you every step of the way, and make sure you have a meaningful, immersive experience.
Check out Maximo Nivel’s volunteer projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru below! They’re all great choices for volunteering abroad after the Coronavirus outbreak.
Eco-Agriculture Volunteering in Costa Rica
Price: $725 for 1 week; $1,545 for 4 weeks
Don’t just wake up and smell the coffee. Wake up and grow the coffee. If you’re interested in organic, sustainable farming, this project is calling your name. During the project, you’ll learn how to utilize traditional agricultural techniques alongside modern, energy-efficient practices. Your work will enable farmers to optimize their coffee operation and reduce environmental damage. You’ll work in Monteverde Cloud Forest, a breathtaking area. Not only will you learn about coffee production from bean to cup, but you’ll also get to taste that coffee every day.
Past participants give this project wonderful reviews. Here’s what Curtis had to say:
“I had a great experience working at the Coffee Farm project. The host mom is a great cook, and the work we did every day with the local farmers felt important and impactful. Overall, I would definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in coffee and community service. I had a lot of opportunities to practice Spanish as well, in addition to exploring the area and playing soccer with a local team.”
When you’re not on the coffee farm, make the most of your time in Costa Rica—one of the world’s most popular destinations. Hike through Monteverde Cloud Forest, visit San Jose, head to the beaches, and more.
Find out more and sign up here
Exotic Animal Rescue in Guatemala
Price: $665 for 1 week; $1,295 for 4 weeks
Animal rights remain an issue in Guatemala. As a volunteer, you can save animals and raise awareness in the community. When you volunteer to rescue animals in Guatemala with Maximo Nivel, you have a few choices of where you volunteer. You can volunteer at the Amphibian and Reptile Rescue Center in Antigua, and help wildlife get back to the wild where they belong. Or, you can work at the Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and care for rescued horses, mules, and donkeys. For each project, you’ll work directly with veterinarians and wildlife experts and learn all that goes into animal rescue and rehabilitation.
During off-hours, Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage City, awaits. Snap photos of the stunning colonial architecture, hang out in Central Park, savor the chocolates at Chocomuseo, and more.
Volunteer in Construction in Peru
Price: $665 for 1 week; $1,295 for 4 weeks
Build the future in Cusco! As a construction volunteer, you’ll create key infrastructure, such as schools, housing, and health clinics, for communities in need. You’ll also get to learn all about how Peruvian builders mix traditional building methods with modern techniques. You’ll work with adobe, bamboo, cement, aluminum, and other materials. This is a cool project where you’ll see the results of your work. Imagine seeing a finished house and a smiling family entering! That’s what you can accomplish on this project.
Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, offers plenty to do too. Take a trip to Machu Picchu, visit the Cusco Cathedral, and try all the Peruvian cuisine you can.
Book your volunteer trip to Peru here
Love Volunteer began in 2009 with the goal to make volunteering abroad more transparent, affordable, and impactful. With a 96% rating from past volunteers, it appears Love Volunteers is achieving their mission. The organization operates programs across more than 34 countries worldwide, from Asia to Africa to Europe to South America. Simply put, once the Coronavirus outbreak slows and we can travel more freely, you can volunteer almost anywhere with Love Volunteers.
Whether you want to volunteer in healthcare, education, community development, or wildlife and environmental protection, Love Volunteers has a suitable project for you. Look over a few below!
Community Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Price: $569 for 4 weeks; $1,129 for 8 weeks
A truly inspiring community development program, Love Volunteers’ initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina strives to break down the racial prejudices still present from the Bosnian War of 1992-95. As a volunteer, you’ll help heal the war’s lingering wounds by participating in a multi-ethnic anti-segregation project. Through team-building activities, open discussions, fun social events, and music, arts, and sports, you’ll help youth from historically conflicting ethnic groups build connections and understand one another.
You’ll be based in Brcko, a city on the banks of the Sava River that’s quickly becoming one of Europe’s destination cities. So, are you ready to do good and have fun in Bosnia?
Find out more and register here
Elephant Conservation in Thailand
Price: $609 for 1 week; $1,659 for 4 weeks
Touch down in Chiang Mai, a gorgeous, laid-back city that blends the ancient and modern like no other place. There, you’ll protect the majestic Asian elephant at a sanctuary outside. Your main duties will include feeding and caring for the elephants, educating visitors on conservation efforts, doing general maintenance, and assisting with reforestation work.
When you’re not saving the elephant, visit the temples of Chiang Mai, explore Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, see what you can find at the markets, and more. Seems like the volunteer adventure you need after the Coronavirus passes, right?
Recycling and Urban Conservation in Colombia
Price: $1,099 for 3 weeks; $2,099 for 6 weeks
Worried about plastic pollution? Hope to fight climate change? Make the trek to Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage city with a gorgeous oceanside location and colorful colonial architecture. As an urban conservation volunteer, you’ll make the city more sustainable through beach cleanups, community gardening projects, and educational workshops for children (you’ll make art out of recycled plastic with kids!). You’ll also help implement programs to enhance waste management efficiency.
When you’re not helping the environment, enjoy Cartagena. From the architecture to the cuisine to the white-sand beaches, you’ll be wowed at every turn. Tour Old Town, snorkel off the Rosario Islands, and more.
Book your volunteer trip to Colombia
Projects Abroad has been helping volunteers make an impact since 1992. To date, they’ve placed more than 125,000 volunteers in programs abroad. All of Projects Abroad’s initiatives advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. When you volunteer on one of their programs, you’ll get around-the-clock staff support and the chance to create real, positive change.
Projects Abroad has an incredible variety of programs across the world, giving you plenty of volunteer destinations to choose from after the Coronavirus outbreak. Read over three volunteer opportunities below.
Public Health Internship in the Philippines
Price: $2,520 for 1 week; $3,660 for 4 weeks
Suitable for anyone pursuing a career in healthcare, this public health program in the Philippines is a great volunteer abroad program for after the Coronavirus outbreak. As an intern, you’ll conduct basic health checks, record and analyze medical data, and raise awareness about nutrition and hygiene. It’s all in an effort to mitigate disease and slow the spread of viruses. Through this internship, not only will you expand your skills and knowledge, but you’ll also boost your CV for medical school.
This program is based in Cebu, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. You’ll have free time for beach-bumming, diving, mountain trekking, shopping, and nightlife. So, are you ready to do your part for public health?
Lemur Research and Protection in Madagascar
Price: $3,220 for 1 week; $4,660 for 4 weeks
Who doesn’t love lemurs? They’re cool, active, and smart. Native to only Madagascar, these primates depend on rainforest conservation to survive. As a lemur research volunteer, you’ll conduct plant and animal surveys, plant trees as part of a reforestation initiative, remove invasive plant species, and clean up parks. You’ll even build hideouts for night surveys—that’s when the lemurs are out and about!
Previous volunteers give this project high praise. Here’s what Katie had to say:
“I absolutely loved my project in the rainforest. We did a bird and lemur census, planted trees, collected seedlings, picked up litter, did path restoration, built bins, and educated local villagers about recycling and waste management. It was such a wonderful experience to work with the locals, learning from them, as well as teaching them.”
You’ll work in and around Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, an unspoiled rainforest that’s home to a rich array of plants and animals. Before or after your volunteer work, take time to explore Madagascar, a unique, diverse country with natural beauty, welcoming people, and great beaches.
Sign up to volunteer with lemurs here
Human Rights Internship in Argentina
Price: $2,520 for 1 week; $3,660 for 4 weeks
Want to stand up for the less fortunate? Aspire to become a lawyer? Then join this human rights internship in Cordoba. As an intern, you’ll raise awareness about human rights issues through educational workshops, outreach campaigns, and NGO-hosted events. You’ll also work directly with marginalized communities, helping them address issues such as human trafficking, domestic violence, and gender inequality. In addition to educating people about their rights, you’ll attend civil court hearings and learn how the legal system in Argentina is dealing with human rights cases.
After your internship each day, experience Cordoba, a city known for its colorful street art, vibrant nightlife, and mix of cultures. Yes, you can do good and have fun! So, are you ready to go?
Note this program is available for high school students as well.
Global Vision International (GVI)
Established in 1998, Global Vision International motivates volunteers to create an impact as they roam the world. With a firm focus on ethical volunteering, GVI partners with numerous international organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Save the Children, to make a positive difference on a large scale. Their programs also work towards UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as Quality Education and Clean Water.
If you’d like to volunteer abroad after the COVID-19 outbreak, know GVI runs lots of amazing projects across the world.
Lemon Shark and Turtle Conservation in the Seychelles
Price: $2,865 for 2 weeks; $3,960 for 4 weeks
Spend time on Curieuse Island in the Seychelles and contribute to vital conservation efforts. Mainly, you’ll work towards the long-term survival of the sicklefin lemon shark, the hawksbill turtle, and the green turtle. For the sharks, you’ll assist with catch and release efforts and collect data on shark pups. For turtles, you’ll mostly study their nesting success and habits and document that information. As you can see, this program suits those interested in a career in marine and animal conservation.
During the program, you’ll certainly love relaxing at your beachfront accommodation. Yes, this program takes you to paradise.
Volunteer for Girl Empowerment in Zambia
Price: from $2,000
Work to increase gender equality in Zambia! As a volunteer for girls and women’s empowerment, you’ll help with a variety of educational and health workshops. You’ll create a safe space for girls and women to discuss menstrual health, early pregnancy, domestic violence, future goals, and other topics. You’ll also teach business and life skills so that the girls and women can become more independent. Additionally, you’ll raise awareness of gender equality with local boys and men. Overall, GVI’s initiative challenges the current environment and opens up more opportunities for girls. Be a part of realizing that vision.
This project is based in Livingstone, a gateway city to Victoria Falls. Enjoy the splendid scenery during free time!
Learn more and reserve your spot here
Volunteer with Children in India
Price: $2,615 for 2 weeks; $3,155 for 4 weeks
Head to the gorgeous southern state of Kerala, where you’ll conduct child development programs and educational workshops. You’ll work alongside local teachers, helping support lessons for primary and secondary school students. If you want to work in education, childcare, or any field that involves work with children, this program will develop your skills and increase your cross-cultural competency.
When you’re not developing lesson plans and helping children, go on adventures in Kerala. Cruise the backwaters, visit a spice plantation, hit the beaches, explore Fort Kochi, and more. Yes, this volunteer trip is a blast. And you can make an impact!
Sign up to Help Children in India
Specializing in affordable, ethical volunteer projects, GoEco has more than 160 community, environmental, and wildlife initiatives around the world. Founded in 2006, GoEco has become a leader in volunteering, and was recognized as the 2018 Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by GoAbroad. They’ve also been featured by major publications, such as USA Today and The Boston Globe.
Looking for volunteer opportunities once the COVID-19 pandemic ends? GoEco has options for you!
Build Schools in Ethiopia
Price: $620 for 1 week; $1,460 for 4 weeks
Build a brighter future when you build schools for disadvantaged children in Ethiopia. As a construction volunteer in Bahir Dar, you’ll lay bricks, paint classrooms, fix old desks, landscape the grounds, and build sports fields. Your work will give poor kids a better learning environment and more resources to reach their full potential.
When you’re not building schools, you can soak in the scenery of Lake Tana and walk around the city of Bahir Dar. You can also sign up for Ethiopian Culture Week with GoEco and learn Amharic, participate in a coffee ceremony, and engage in other cultural activities.
Register to build schools in Ethiopia
Marine Conservation in Belize
Price: $1,150 for 1 week; $3,490 for 4 weeks
Combine a vacation with volunteer activities in beautiful Belize! During your adventure, you’ll assist with tasks that protect the coral reefs off the coast, including doing dives for coral data collection, surveying native species like the whale shark, cleaning up trash, and removing lionfish (an invasive fish). If you have an interest in diving and/or marine conservation, this project will be an amazing time for you.
You’ll stay steps from the beach and have plenty of time for fun-filled activities, like hiking and cave tours. Ready for a tropical getaway?
Eco-Friendly Hospitality Internship in Spain
Price: just $350 for 6 weeks (same price for 12 weeks)
Work at a hostel in Barcelona, one of the world’s greatest cities! Learn all about sustainable tourism as you care for guests, arrange social activities, plan travel excursions, and assist with operations. As part of the hostel’s green initiatives, you’ll help with recycling efforts, assist with alternative energy projects, and promote ethical travel to guests too.
Throughout your time working, you’ll meet like-minded travelers and make lasting connections. You’ll also feel like a local in Barcelona. The city, with the bustling Gothic Quarter, all the Gaudí buildings, and a love for good times, offers the perfect getaway once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Start planning today!
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)
Founded in 2007, International Volunteer HQ has become the most trusted name in volunteering. To date, IVHQ has sent more than 112,000 volunteers abroad. Renowned educational institutions, such as UCLA, Northwestern University, and the University of Florida, arrange volunteer trips through IVHQ—a testament to the good work they do.
IVHQ has affordable, impactful programs across the world. Check out two volunteer destinations for after the Coronavirus outbreak!
Volunteer Computer Teaching in South Africa
Price: $250 for 1 week; $700 for 4 weeks
Volunteer on a computer training project in Cape Town and bridge the digital divide! By teaching local children how to use the computer, you can provide them with a strong foundation for learning on the internet and building skills. As the world goes increasingly digital, children from low-income communities can utilize digital skills to find employment later in life and break the cycle of poverty. Help make that happen as a volunteer computer teacher!
When you’re not teaching, make the most of your stay in Cape Town. Hike Table Mountain, chill on Boulders Beach, and walk around V&A Waterfront. Sounds like fun, right?
Get more details and apply here
Childcare Volunteering in Tanzania
Price: $270 for 1 week; $595 for 4 weeks
Make your way to Arusha, a beautiful city that’s a gateway to safari destinations and Mount Kilimanjaro. As a volunteer at a daycare or kindergarten there, you’ll provide support to low-income families by teaching, playing, and caring for their children as they go to work. Duties include teaching basic English and math skills, arranging games and activities, preparing meals, and offering companionship. As you see the kids smile and have fun, you’ll feel your impact.
Past volunteers have great things to say about IVHQ’s childcare program in Tanzania, like Nikola:
“To say that Tanzania changed my entire life would be the world’s greatest understatement. The country, the people…but most of all the children! I guess the reason I chose to volunteer was to help make a difference in these kids’ lives, but in reality it was them that made a difference in mine. Such a rewarding and life-changing experience and I would recommend it to anyone willing to throw themselves into a different culture. My greatest advice would be to go with an open heart and an open mind and I can guarantee you that you’ll come home a different person.”
Ready for your volunteer adventure to Tanzania? You can combine it with travel to some of Africa’s most beautiful parks.
Find out more and register here
Preparing for a Safe, Fun Time Volunteering Abroad After COVID-19
COVID-19 has been an especially destructive Coronavirus. Basically, every country and every person has been affected in some way. We will get through this together, and we hope victory over COVID-19 comes sooner rather than later.
With that said, you can begin planning your volunteer abroad journey today. In addition to looking over volunteer programs, keep track of where and when the spread of COVID-19 gets under control and cases decline. Lots of awesome volunteer destinations await, but you have to wait until it’s safe and you’re sure you can stay healthy while traveling abroad.
When you volunteer abroad after the Coronavirus, don’t forget the lessons we’ve learned during this outbreak. Continue to follow the advice you’ve been hearing about protecting yourself against the Coronavirus (like washing your hands frequently). Practicing good hygiene and taking precautions make sense at any time. You’ll ensure you stay healthy and have the experience of a lifetime volunteering abroad.
As you wait for it to be safe to volunteer abroad, please continue to protect yourself from the Coronavirus. The following poster from the New York State Department of Health sums up not only steps you can take to prevent COVID-19, but also what you should do every day, especially if traveling.
That concludes our guide on volunteering abroad after the coronavirus outbreak. In the (hopefully near) future, as you embark on your volunteer adventure, remember to stay safe, have fun, and do good. Bon voyage!
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.