Different Ways To Volunteer Abroad

Different Ways To Volunteer Abroad

Unusual and unconventional volunteer projects are popping up all over the place. With so many projects out there, it can be difficult and time-consuming filtering through each one to find the ideal project for you! It is a good idea to think about how you want to volunteer abroad before beginning your search.

Below are just some of the ways you can make an impact abroad:


Arguably one of the area’s most needing of help, environment volunteering is often overlooked even though it is an essential part of the world. Volunteers surge after natural disasters, running to clean a beach after an oil spill, however projects struggle to find help all year round.

As a conservation volunteer, each day is different, from cleaning beaches to planting trees in areas of deforestation. Although jobs are varied, the common goal is the same from project to project: to improve and sustain life for the planet. Reducing the impact made by humans and help the planet survive naturally.

Conservation Careers is a great site to find a project focused on land conservation and they post jobs all over the world, so you can travel anywhere and volunteer in conservation. I always find land conservation projects harder to find as searching online for conservation projects brings up volunteer work with animals and oceans.

Animal Welfare

Over 41,000 species in the world are endangered with 16,000 on the edge of extinction. Endangered animals are welcomed into sanctuaries to help repopulate them and aim to un-endanger the species. Volunteering in these sanctuaries may require experience for hands on work, however there are often opportunities to, monitoring them and their natural habitat and collecting data.

Volunteers wanting to help hands on in animal sanctuaries with no previous experience can do at sanctuaries for smaller animals like cats and dogs sanctuaries. There are many of these set up by expats all over the world. In most cases, the animals on site have been injured or rescued, because they have been in captivity for too long, unfortunately cannot be released back into the wild.

Animal projects can be expensive to volunteer on. There aren’t many in the world, so the projects don’t have to worry about filling beds. In addition, caring for animals’ cost more. From my experience I would recommend going direct to a charity to save a bit of money. If you want to volunteer with elephants in Thailand, try and find a small charity online and contact them directly.

Teaching English

In areas booming in tourism, English lessons open up another career path for children, working with the public without a language barrier. The focus of these lessons is spoken English, less writing and preparing for exams which language lessons in the UK often involve.

The English language allows locals to apply for jobs with better working conditions and better pay, in major cities. Often large companies offering better jobs require candidates to speak English, even if it is not required for the job they are applying for.

Scholarships are more likely to be provided to children who have a basic spoken English language, allowing them to go onto further education. Parents often cannot afford to give all of their children education, with high costs of books, uniforms and tuition fees. If a child is awarded a scholarship, the family is less financially burdened, and they can allow another child to attend school.

Dave’s ESL Café is one of the most useful and long lasing websites listing volunteer opportunities and everything you could possibly need to know about teaching English abroad. Some of the job requirements are specific but don’t be put off! It is still possible to find language schools abroad welcoming novice teachers, it may just take a bit more time.

General Teaching

Traveling to countries and regions where English is the first language, or widely spoken, volunteers have opportunities to teach subject of their choice. Some areas are extremely deprived and there may not be a local curriculum or even regular teachers in some poor regions, volunteers are free to provide any education they can.

Not all childcare volunteering involves teaching some are more centered around general play work. Many nurseries have been set up by previous volunteers to provide day care for children, while parents go to work. When there is no language barrier, volunteers are free to introduce locals to more unusual and obscure activities or something which they are passionate about. Sports the children may never have heard of before, explaining how to play and every rule, which isn’t easily achieved in areas where the locals speak little or no English.


A lack of funds and resources make it nearly impossible for underdeveloped communities to repair or construct well needed buildings. Volunteers step in to make a difference helping to develop a community, seeing tangible results, leaving the community having created something which wasn’t there when you arrived.

Not all volunteers on a building project will be erecting new buildings, help can be offered in other ways: painting new walls or over graffiti, making mud bricks by hand, repairing the building in the community which are falling down or even having nothing to do with building at all instead building and repairing furniture to go inside them.

One of the largest building volunteer sending organizations is Habitat for Humanity, housing people all around the world when they didn’t have a home before.

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  1. As a conservationist, I find most volunteer programs do more harm than good. The good work done never offsets the amount of resources and emissions it takes to get to these remotes places unless you stay there for a long time (a year or two). These volunteer programs seem like a guise just to have others pay for your travel, maybe I’m just too cynical, haha.

    Rachel || http://anotherstationanothermile.com


    • I would agree that some volunteer projects certainly do more harm than good, however if someone is planning to go on holiday anyway, it is better for them to do some good whilst on holiday at their destination, wouldn’t you agree?
      You are spot on, certainly the longer you stay the better and bigger the impact you can make, but some projects such as building can make a difference in just a couple of weeks!
      Finding a volunteer project that covers travel costs, or any costs at all will be very difficult, near impossible. The majority require payment from volunteers to cover accommodation, food, donations and such.

      There is no right or wrong way of travelling, I just believe that helping develop the community you’re visiting can be more fun rather that sitting by a pool doing nothing!


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