Maybe you are looking for something more than a trip to crystal clear waters or perhaps you want to give living overseas a go, working as a volunteer is a great opportunity. What I am calling volunteering may be what others call an internship or work. This type of volunteering abroad does not require a large personal investment, however, being a “paid volunteer” is for those with a clearly defined skill set. This is not about going to build a house when you’ve never swung a hammer.
Having availed myself of several of these postings, I had the pleasure of working in locations as diverse as the UK and Palestine. In each instance, the organization paid for my travel and accommodation while also supplying a stipend for my time on location. This is not voluntourism this is lending your skills to an organization who could not afford your salary or day rate.
I am talking to you doctors, accountants, database managers, website developers, social media experts, professional videographers, nurses, social workers, HR professionals, and educators. There are organizations across the globe looking for someone like you who is willing to spend a week to a year volunteering with them. This is travel beyond tourism where you will experience first-hand what it is like to work in another country and interact with local professionals all while knowing you are helping them increase their capacity and ability to provide services. You can think about it as a bridge between vacation, volunteering, and moving to a new country. In some instances, you will see parts of a new country that the average tourist would never access. For me this meant venturing way off the beaten track, I spent weeks shooting deep in the bush of Madagascar well past the last Peace Corps outpost.
- Local transport
- Language classes
- Local excursions
- Professional development
- Health insurance
- Meeting local people
- Being part of a community
- Be over 18 years of age (25 for the UN)
- Commit to the full-term
- Speak English fluently
- Have at least two years of work experience and/or college degree preferably within the area in which you will be volunteering
- Be up-to-date on your immunizations
- Some request a criminal background check which can obtain from your local police station
Skill In Demand
- Community development
- Environmental sustainability
- Fundraising and grant writing
- Finical services
- Public policy
GeoVisions participants are looking for a specific kind of travel immersion — one that is about making a kind of (temporary) home within the culture they’ve chosen to experience. Making bigger memories, filling journals with photos and inspiring and shareable content.
E Global is committed to selecting candidates that are passionate and responsible, with a strong desire to change outcomes for children at social risk. To protect the children and ensure the volunteer program is run with integrity, they have a competitive selection process.
United Nations (UN) Volunteers operates one the world’s largest volunteer programs. They work closely with local NGOs and their expansive network of field offices in 130 countries. A competitive program, applicants have to apply via the UN portal and wait to be contacted. Areas of work include capacity building, medical services, environment, community development and peacekeeping operations.
Voluntary Service Overseas is the world’s leading international development charity working through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. VSO volunteers work in whatever fields are necessary to fight the forces that keep people from education and health through to helping people learn the skills to make a living. In doing so, they invest in local people, so the impact they make endures long after their placement ends.
European Voluntary Service (EVS) helps young people travel abroad to participate in volunteering projects. As an EVS volunteer, you commit yourself to the work of an organization abroad. Volunteering projects can involve many different kinds of activities in areas such as youth work, cultural activities, social care, or environmental protection. You volunteer on an unpaid and full-time basis for a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 12 months.
International Executive Service Corps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to equitable, sustainable economic growth in developing countries. Supported by USAID and the State Department, IESC like the UNV program is competitive and need-based. As there is no age cap you should have ample experience in trade, enterprise development, agriculture, information communication, applied technologies, financial services, tourism, or the public sector.
MovingWorlds is a social impact organization addressing the global talent gap. The online platform and community connect people who want to travel and volunteer their expertise directly with social impact organizations around the world. They maintain quality by selectively sourcing professionals and organizations who then interact through the website to find each other for “Experteering” engagements.
Sudan Volunteer Programme (SVP) is a London and Khartoum-based charitable organization sending graduates and near-graduates to Sudan to teach English at public higher education institutions around the country. Their aim is to raise the standard of English among ordinary Sudanese, who increasingly need it to access jobs allowing a reasonable standard of living. This is an opportunity to rapidly learn or improve Arabic language skills and a unique chance to work in a friendly, safe and fascinating location at the intersection of the Middle East and Africa.
Be part of a larger community and gain valuable intercultural skills. Check out more in our Volunteer Section