Why volunteer abroad?
For much the same reasons you might choose to work abroad. You'll gain vital work
experience and improve your foreign language abilities. You'll learn about another
culture by living in it and working alongside people from that culture, and in doing
so you will learn more about yourself and your own culture. You will make friends,
create an international network, and give something back.
There are many reasons to volunteer abroad and the rewards from doing so are even
greater. On this page, we offer some tips as you begin looking for international volunteer opportunities and list a few programs that can assist you. Please note, however, that
we do not endorse any of these programs:
we simply offer them as a way for you to begin your research.
Tips on Volunteering Abroad
Many organizations can provide an opportunity for you to volunteer your time and skills
abroad. You can volunteer with a local not-for-profit or religious group, can apply
to a US-government based program like the Peace Corps, or work though an organization
that can help you find a volunteer placement abroad.
Finding your own placement through a local organization offers you a chance to work
with people you already know and with whom you feel comfortable, but can also be difficult
and can require a lot more leg work on your part. Using a placement organization
opens up greater possibilities, but will require that you pay some sort of fee to
offset the cost of the services the organization provides. A few Web-based resources
you might look at as you think about your options are:
IVPA (International Volunteer Programs Association) -- An association of non-governmental
organizations involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges; they
set forth good principles and practices that volunteer programs should follow.
ServeYourWorld -- Articles explaining how volunteer program fees are used.
TransitionsAbroad -- Articles that explain the benefits of volunteering with an organization and where
BUNAC (British Universities North American Club) -- Programs in Australia, Britain, Ireland,
Cross-Cultural Solutions -- Opportunities in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco,
Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand.
EarthWatch -- Programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America
Idealist.org -- A not-for-profit online organization that offers a searchable database of volunteer
Peace Corps -- 139 host countries worldwide.
WorldTeach -- Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Pacific Islands