Are you ready to volunteer overseas again?
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, things in the travel sector have mostly returned to normal as we learn to ‘live with the virus’. Just look at these statistics:
- According to a travel survey, international travel in 2022 should be near pre-pandemic levels.
- Overall, 2022 international travel should increase between 90-140% in comparison to 2021.
- 14.2 million Americans went abroad in the first three months of 2022. Numbers should only continue to increase for the rest of the year.
Plus, many countries have begun letting citizens return home from abroad without having to show a negative COVID test. As of June 12th, 2022, US citizens no longer need a negative COVID text in order to enter the US. Things are finally getting back to normal.
Without a doubt, travel is back! Many volunteer abroad programs are resuming as well, which is great news for our community.
- Read our article about traveling safely and staying healthy while volunteering abroad after the coronavirus outbreak.
If you wish to make a difference this year, there’s no shortage of volunteer, intern and teach abroad programs.
For instance, Maximo Nivel offers a wide range of impactful programs in education, conservation, construction, childcare and more. You can enjoy traveling to Costa Rica, Peru or Guatemala while helping local communities!
Now, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in some way, and finances may be a concern. Don’t stress! Check out our guide on how to Volunteer Abroad for Free. This guide shows you how to save money on your trip, fundraise, get scholarships and more.
You can also work abroad and make money to fund your travels as you help others learn important skills. The International TEFL Academy (ITA) can help you get certified to teach English abroad. They offer in-house courses and then assist you with job placement overseas. Whether you want to teach English in Japan, Spain or Mexico, ITA can help you get qualified and find a paying job there!
To help you plan your volunteer abroad trip, we’ve compiled a list of the best volunteer abroad organizations and programs in this article. These programs are all back live after the pandemic, and are accepting applications NOW.
Read on and decide which program suits your interests, goals and budget best. Apply and you’ll be on your way before you know it!
- Note: We’ve included programs in destinations where travel is largely open to international visitors. We’ve listed any requirements for entry as well.
International TEFL Academy
Do you want to get paid to live abroad as a professional English teacher in a country such as Italy, Thailand, or Costa Rica?
If so, then consider the programs offered by International TEFL Academy (ITA).
Founded in 2010, ITA offers the gold standard in TEFL certification, certifying 5,000 people per year to teach English overseas. For those wishing to teach English abroad, ITA offers high-quality accredited TEFL courses both online and in-person at 20+ locations across the world. All ITA TEFL classes, including online courses, employ a state-of-the-art curriculum taught by experienced instructions. You’ll get live practice teaching, personalized guidance and more to ensure you’re ready to be an excellent teacher.
Once you’ve completed your TEFL certification, the International TEFL Academy offers lifetime job placement assistance. No matter where you wish to teach English, ITA can help you find a teaching job there, as well as help you navigate any COVID-19 regulations that your destination country may have for international travelers.
To learn more about ITA and begin your journey, download your free TEFL guide today.
Teach English in South Korea
Through the International TEFL Academy, you can land a teaching position in South Korea – one of the strongest job markets for ESL teachers. To qualify, you need TEFL certification and a 4-year university degree, and you must be a native English speaker.
After getting your TEFL certificate with ITA, you can get a job in a bustling metropolis such as Seoul or Gwangju. Learn Korean, immerse yourself in local culture, teach students, and earn money while you have the trip of a lifetime. You can expect to earn between $1,500 and $2,700 per month, with housing and airfare provided — which helps a lot with the budget!
COVID-19 guidelines: No major restrictions; you must take a PCR test within 3 days of arrival.
Teach English in Italy
From Renaissance masterpieces to sun-kissed Mediterranean shores, Italy delights with beautiful culture, great food, and an enjoyable pace of life. ITA can help you land a job teaching there too. You just need a TEFL certificate, native English proficiency, and a 4-year college degree to qualify for a position.
You can anticipate earning around $2,000 or more per month. Jobs are available in cities like Rome, Naples, and Milan, so you have plenty of options. ITA can assist you with getting the job you want, in the city you want.
COVID-19 guidelines: No restrictions
Teach English in Turkey
With a thriving economy, stunning scenery, and plenty of culture and history, Turkey is a top destination for English teachers. To get hired for a job, you need a TEFL certificate, a 4-year degree, and native English proficiency.
ITA has lots of connections in Turkey, so they can help you get a solid teaching job in a city such as Istanbul or Ankara. You can expect to earn $1,000+ per month. Most contracts include stipends for airfare and housing too.
COVID-19 guidelines: No major restrictions; proof of vaccination or negative PCR test
Founded in 2003, Maximo Nivel is known for their high-quality, affordable volunteer abroad projects in Latin America. Each of their programs is internationally accredited, which means you can trust that they’re reputable and that you’ll make a lasting impact where you volunteer. You can even obtain academic credit for participating in some programs!
Maximo Nivel ensures everything is set up properly for their volunteers. For each program, they offer 24/7 emergency support, airport pickup, orientation, Spanish learning opportunities, and all-inclusive accommodation so your meals are fully covered. Most programs start from just $665 per week, making them very budget-friendly.
Program choices abound, from eco-agriculture volunteer projects to childcare and education work. Whether you want to work in jungle conservation in Peru or construction in Costa Rica, Maximo Nivel has a program for you. Check out three of their popular programs below.
Volunteer in Healthcare in Guatemala
Hospitals and clinics in Guatemala often suffer from a lack of funding and resources, as well as being understaffed. This makes volunteer help extremely important to ensuring patients get adequate care. As a medical volunteer, you can truly help medical professionals in Guatemala and their patients.
The type of work you do is determined by your level of knowledge. Maximo Nivel has specific programs for pre-med, nursing, and medical school student volunteers (where you can also earn academic credit). Program fees are $665 for one week, $915 for two weeks, and just $1,295 for four weeks. So, it gets cheaper per week the longer you stay!
Volunteer in Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica
Vitally important to the health of the ocean’s ecosystem, sea turtles face extinction due to climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, illegal poaching and other issues. As a sea turtle conservation volunteer, you can help reverse the tide by helping with:
- Hatchery management
- Beach patrols
- Beach cleanup
- Data collection
- Community outreach
Your volunteer work can go a long way in ensuring sea turtles hatch safely and eggs aren’t stolen. You can collect key data to aid in research and policy-setting. And you can spread awareness to local communities about the importance of sea turtle conservation.
Program fees start from $1,015 for two weeks, with each additional week costing just $185!
COVID-19 guidelines: No restrictions
Volunteer in Construction in Peru
Want to build homes, schools, churches and more in Peru?
If yes, then Maximo Nivel has a program for you. As a construction and building volunteer, you’ll not only help local communities get much-needed infrastructure, but you’ll also learn valuable skills, such as mixing cement, laying brick, painting, and excavation. The great thing about this program is that you get to see tangible results immediately, whether you’re repairing a health clinic or building a new community center. Along the way, you can practice your Spanish and immerse yourself in local culture.
Program fees start at $665 for one week. It’s $915 for two weeks and $1,295 for four weeks. So, it gets cheaper per week the longer you stay!COVID-19 guidelines: No major restrictions; proof of vaccination or negative PCR test
Founded in 2006, GoEco hosts 150+ volunteer abroad and internship programs in 40+ countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Australasia. Recognized as a Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by GoAbroad, GoEco offers something for everyone, from global internships for students to guided projects for teens.
GoEco’s diversity of high-quality projects is precisely what makes the organization so great. For instance, you can volunteer at the following places through GoEco:
- Rhino Orphan Sanctuary in South Africa
- Marine Conservation Center in Portugal
- Wildlife Animal Rescue Shelter in Ecuador
GoEco is known for their volunteer initiatives in preserving nature and wildlife, so lots of their projects focus on conservation. Still, you’ll find volunteer opportunities in home building, education, medicine and more through them. Read about some of GoEco’s most popular projects below!
Volunteer at a Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe
Head to Zimbabwe to make a positive impact on the delicate ecosystem. You’ll get to work with lions, monkeys, cheetahs, birds, and other animals in need of rehabilitation. Most of the wildlife at the orphanage have been brought up in captivity and abandoned, so you’ll be helping injured, sick, orphaned and even abused wildlife. Some of the animals are capable of returning to the wild, while others will remain at the preserve for life.
Duties include food preparation, cleaning enclosures, and educational outreach in the community. You’ll get to make an impact and increase environmental awareness. Plus, you’ll get to see amazing wildlife creatures up close! Program fees start at $1,650 for two weeks ($2,950 for four weeks).
COVID-19 guidelines: No major restrictions; proof of vaccination or negative PCR test
Volunteer for Great Barrier Reef Conservation in Australia
Home to more than 30 types of dolphins and whales and 1,500+ fish species, as well as all types of aquatic plants, the Great Barrier Reef is an incredibly important ecosystem. Unfortunately, the reef faces threats, notably climate change, marine pollution, and overfishing. As a marine conservation volunteer, you can help preserve the reef and protect the marine life living there.
Volunteer work consists of collecting vital data during dives alongside a professional team of marine experts, as well as exploring and photographing the reef. Before you begin diving, you’ll undergo training to become PADI Open Water certified and PADI Project AWARE Specialty certified. This means you’ll learn skills and gain valuable certifications while helping preserve one of the world’s most important marine environments.
Program fees are $2,400 for one week of volunteer work plus five days of dive training.
COVID-19 guidelines: Must be fully vaccinated to enter Australia; if not vaccinated, you may have to quarantine upon arrival
It’s time to volunteer abroad again
Volunteering abroad is back, and we couldn’t be more excited. We hope this guide has helped you prepare for your post-pandemic volunteer abroad trip.
With that said, the pandemic continues and a variety of macroeconomic issues have made the process a bit more challenging. To ensure you have the best possible volunteer abroad experience, follow these tips and things will go more smoothly:
- Be flexible: Due to staff shortages and supply chain issues, travel delays are common. Additionally, some organizations may only have certain dates or locations where they can take volunteers. You must be flexible with the dates and places you go to volunteer abroad to ensure you get into a suitable program at a reasonable price.
- Plan ahead: While we may have recommended 4-6 weeks of preparation time before, allow for 9-12 weeks now. You have to make sure you meet entry requirements, find a flight, get a new passport, etc. More time ensures you don’t have to rush around.
- Budget accordingly: Prices are going up when it comes to both travel expenses and program fees. If you need to save money, some of our guides can help you figure out how to do that: Volunteer Abroad Scholarships & Grants; Volunteer Abroad for Free; Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs
Now that you know about all the great volunteer abroad programs available today, as well as how to prepare for a post-pandemic volunteer trip, the next steps are clear: Find your program, apply, prepare to go, and finally head out on the volunteer adventure of a lifetime.
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.