Want to make a change but not sure where to start? Eager to go volunteer abroad but don’t know any suitable programmes? Allow us to make a few suggestions:
EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS
The European Solidarity Corps is your chance to bring change while feeling part of something positive, developing skills, and having an experience that will make your CV stand out!
There is a huge range of activities for you to choose from. Basically these come under two main headings: volunteering and working, and can be in the UK or across Europe. You can also run your own funded Solidarity Project in a group of at least five young people.
If you decide to volunteer, you will be entitled to travel, lodging and subsistence expenses as well as insurance cover and relevant training. If you do a work placement, there will always be a formal labour contract and a wage in line with local laws, regulations and collective agreements.
You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but the minimum age to start a project is 18 and you must complete it before you turn 31.
After completing your European Solidarity Corps activity, you will receive a certificate – great as evidence when applying for jobs or further learning.
Whatever your interest, the first step is to register on the European Solidarity Corps portal. This works as a matching tool between young people aged 18-30 and organisations – of all types and sizes, from big multinationals to small, community-based enterprises – for projects that benefit people and society.
For more information on how to apply and what you can do, visit the European Solidarity Corps UK website.
EU AID VOLUNTEERS
EU Aid Volunteers brings together volunteers and organisations from different countries, providing practical support to humanitarian aid projects and contributing to strengthening the local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities. Individuals can apply to be deployed to humanitarian projects worldwide.
Participants in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative must be over 18 years old and be a citizen of an EU Member State or a long-term resident in the EU. The support package to volunteers while on deployment includes accommodation, travel, insurance, ongoing learning, development, a monthly allowance, and a resettlement allowance to help with expenses on returning home.
Individuals can apply to volunteer in humanitarian projects worldwide. Check out the EU Aid Volunteers vacancies.
INTERNATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE (ICS)
International Citizen Service is an overseas volunteering programme for 18-25 year olds (23-35 for Team Leaders), led by VSO and funded by the UK Government.
ICS is a development programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Placements last between 10 and 12 weeks, and you will be required to raise at least £800 with the help of their fundraising team. Are you ready to go? Apply now through their website!
UNITED NATIONS VOLUNTEERS
International UN Volunteers promote peace and development in communities around the globe, while upholding the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations.
The first step to volunteer abroad with the UN is to determine whether you meet the minimum requirements (see below). If this is the case, register your profile in their Global Talent Pool.
The minimum requirements to serve as an international UN Volunteer are:
- 25 years old and older (no upper age limit);
- hold a university degree or higher technical diploma;
- at least two years of relevant work experience in a professional background;
- good working knowledge of English, Spanish or French;
Profiles from the Talent Pool are then matched with assignments offered by UN partner agencies. Approximately 2,000 assignments become available per year. Most of them are filled through the Global Talent Pool without being advertised so if you are interested and meet the minimum requirements, we highly recommend you to register your profile as soon as possible. Only special calls for assignments in highly specialised areas or in high demand are advertised on their website.
The British Council's Study and Work Abroad webpage describes different opportunities abroad for a summer, gap year or, you know, life. There are different work or volunteer programmes, teaching English abroad placements and more, so go check it out!
Volunteer for peace with the International Voluntary Service, the British branch of Service Civil International. You will be able to find short-term and long-term projects all over the world.
Want to gain new skills, experience a different culture and help people? If you're aged between 18 and 30, you can volunteer across Europe for 8 to 12 months with the British Red Cross.
WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms - the name says it all really! Register online, find a project that you like and get ready to learn a lot of new skills, make a difference and lend a hand to support organic farmers and growers.
Workaway - Workawayers typically are interested in cultural exchange and learning and will help out for a few hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation, with visits lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months. You can travel cheaply and stay for free, whilst making a difference to the communities you visit. Put your existing skills to good use, or try something new you‘d never normally get to do and pick up new skills along the way. There is an ever growing list of 30,000+ active hosts in over 180 countries offering all kinds of places to stay.
If you are organising your gap year, is also worth checking Projects Abroad, it might be what you are looking for.
Volunteer Forever: find a suitable programme and fundraise for your travel.
GVI runs volunteering and internship programmes in 13 countries all over the world, each of them managed by their own staff and aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Their projects are centred around making a positive impact on topics such as wildlife and marine conservation, women's empowerment, teaching, animal care, healthcare, sports construction and volunteering with children.
Raleigh International: Raleigh Expedition brings young people together from all over the world to impact change for the communities you will work with, environmental change, and change in yourself.
Interested in going to the USA? Camp America might be your choice, but you will have to pay a good sum for summer of fun and cultural exchange.
Volunteer Action for Peace (VAP) is a UK based charity organisation which works towards creating and preserving international peace, justice and human solidarity for people and their communities. Through a range of working projects both in the United Kingdom and around the world, VAP provides volunteers with opportunities to work together with people from around the globe and in partnership with local groups to enhance and empower communities. They have short term volunteering opportunities (2-4 weeks), medium term volunteering (2-6 months) and long term volunteering (6+ months). Some of these opportunities are funded by the European Solidarity Corps, but for some others you will have to contribute economically.
Habitat for Humanity is a global, non-profit housing organisation with over 40 years of experience. They empower people in the world’s poorest communities to overcome the chronic lack of decent, affordable housing. They have an expert team of builders and volunteer coordinators who will help you make it all possible - from fundraising to laying bricks.
Global Volunteers have tax-deductible programs to volunteer abroad, contribute meaningfully, and change lives with a long-standing, non-profit leader.