Volunteering opportunities abroad
Welcome to our Volunteering opportunities abroad page. This is your portal to find free and low cost responsible volunteering opportunities abroad.
When we were travelling we struggled to find volunteering opportunities that didn’t cost the earth. We were shocked to see how many companies had been set up that charged 1000’s of $ to organise a volunteering placement. A little more digging helped us discover that in many cases most of the money didn’t go to the people who needed it.
We knew there were hundreds of organisations out there who genuinely needed volunteers, but a lack of funding or access to the internet meant that they couldn’t advertise themselves. A mission started to form.
We wanted to help these organisations reach volunteers and so we built this site with the intention of promoting volunteering opportunities abroad. And whilst this site has now grown to be a travel blog as well, we do keep adding to our volunteering opportunities abroad.
Not all volunteering opportunities abroad are equal
As we learnt more about volunteering we realised that volunteering is not always responsible and has a dark side to it. For example we learnt that volunteering with children provides many challenges. We were shocked to learn that in some orphanages, the kids weren’t really orphans. We also read articles that brought to light the fact that kids form strong bonds with volunteers and get jaded when volunteer after volunteer eventually leaves. This has a huge impact on children’s ability to form lasting relationships. And then there’s the added horror that child predators will generally seek out places where they can spend time with children, and we couldn’t hand on heart say we were sure this wouldn’t happen with the volunteering opportunities we were promoting. So we took the decision to remove any volunteering opportunities involving kids. This isn’t to say that there aren’t volunteering opportunities with children that aren’t great and useful, but we would rather operate on the safe side.
Another challenge is volunteering with animals. I remember being approached by an organisation that wanted volunteers to work with tigers. Further research revealed that the tigers spend their days chained and drugged. Unbelievable. So when we do publish volunteering opportunities with animals we make sure that the animals aren’t being hurt or exploited for someone else’s gains.
So while you will notice that none of our opportunities involve volunteering with children, there are still some fantastic volunteering opportunities abroad in the next pages.
How to find free volunteering opportunities abroad
You can access these opportunities in two ways.
Your first option is to buy our Directory of Volunteering opportunities which lists these opportunities in a PDF. This gives you a document that is easy to search, and which you can use even when you’re not connected to the internet.
More importantly with the directory you will also get a list of questions to ask to make sure you get the most out of your volunteering experience. We know how important it is to clarify expectations and to get a clear idea of what you’re signing up for before you volunteer. I know that there are opportunities we signed up for that didn’t end up being what we expected. A conversation with the hosts before we turned up would have helped us avoid a few uncomfortable situations. You can find our Directory of Volunteering opportunities abroad here.
The second option is to click on the continent you’re interested in volunteering in and you will find all the opportunities organised by country.
We consistently add new volunteering opportunities abroad so do check in regularly to find some great responsible volunteering opportunities abroad. We would also love your help in keeping this list up to date and useful. If you know of any other places that should be featured, or maybe you’ve visited a place and would like to share your story, please get in touch.
We really hope this information helps you volunteer abroad in a way that makes your travels feel meaningful and memorable.
If you are considering volunteering abroad we highly recommend reading this fantastic book by award winning writer Shannon O’Donnell. It is full of practical tips that will help you get a deeper understanding of volunteering abroad. It asks the questions you never thought to ask about volunteering abroad and will help you make sure that your time spent volunteering will truly be of mutual benefit to both you and the organisation you are helping out.
You can also read this article by the wonderful People and Places: Key questions and answers before you volunteer