Volunteering Overseas

General information

For many people volunteering overseas provides an unforgettable experience.  Whatever you have done before, the chance to travel and work in a totally different environment can be life-changing.

If you have skills that are required overseas, especially in developing countries, then it shouldn't be too hard to find a voluntary post. Although some countries are moving more towards training and retaining their own professionals rather than importing them, there is still a need for people qualified and experienced in, for example, engineering, teaching, or medicine.

You are likely to be required to commit for a reasonable length of time, but will usually have the costs of travel, board and lodging met. Often you will receive a payment equivalent to a local wage.

Costs

If you don't have skills and experience that are in demand you are likely to have to pay the costs of your trip abroad. With flights, insurance, staff costs, administration, board and lodging to consider, these costs can run to thousands of pounds.

Indeed, some volunteering overseas might be better described as a working holiday.

The key thing, if you undertake such a trip, is to try and make sure that you will actually be doing some good, that you will be safe and that you will get value for money. Try to speak to other people who have volunteered with the organisation and find out as much as you possibly can before you pay any money or make a commitment.

The overseas volunteering organisations listed here are not endorsed or approved by us.

More advice

Foreign & Commonwealth Office - for the latest travel advice about where's safe and where isn't.

Stop orphanage volunteering

The London Metropolitan University Job Shop does not support volunteering in orphanages abroad, whether undertaken by organised groups or individuals for short or longer periods of time. We pledge not to advertise these to our students and we will endeavour to ensure that such opportunities are neither facilitated nor promoted within our institution.

We believe in the power of volunteerism and support and encourage student learning experiences and overseas volunteering opportunities that strive for the highest standards of child protection and best practice for ethical engagement.

If you’re a student and passionate about this cause please sign the petition calling for the end of orphanage volunteering.

If you’re a higher or further education institute please add this pledge to your website. Email volunteer@lse.ac.uk to be added to the list of supporters.

This pledge has been designed by the Better Volunteering, Better Care group, which the LSE Volunteer Centre is a supporting member. Please read the LSE blog post setting out why we won’t promote orphanage volunteering.

www.volunteerafrica.org An international not-for-profit organisation that is run by a team of volunteers spread around the world.

www.internationalservice.org.uk An international development organisation providing skilled and experienced people to work in local partner organisations in Latin America, West Africa and the Middle East.

www.ceci.ca A Canada-based organisation which supports development in many of the poorest countries on the planet.

www.unv.org Volunteer arm of the UN, it serves as a partner in developmental cooperation.

www.workingabroad.com The international networking service for volunteers, workers and travellers. It's involved in projects in over 150 countries worldwide.

www.challengesworldwide.com Scottish based charity, matching skilled individuals with short-term voluntary placements overseas.

www.concern.net enable willing volunteers the opportunity to undertake global challenges in a variety of locations including the Himalayas, China, Peru and Europe. Challenges last 2 – 4 weeks, and costs vary.

www.aventure.co.uk is a specialist gap year organisation and a founding member of the Year Out Group. They offer a wide variety of opportunities including; teaching, coaching sport, conservation work and construction projects in Africa and Asia. Typical placement length is 5 – 6 months and costs vary depending on location. 

Volunteering Matters full-time volunteers participate for 4-12 months in the UK helping to change the lives of people in need, facing new challenges, making new friends, and developing essential personal and workplace skills.

www.iaeste.org.uk Provides course-related summer placements abroad for science, engineering and applied arts students.

www.yearoutgroup.org A website packed with information and guidance on taking a gap-year or career break.

www.responsibletravel.com Volunteer travel advice.

www.tourismconcern.org.uk Tourism Concern's vision is tourism which is ethical, fair and a positive experience for both travellers and the people and places they visit.

www.cfhi.org CFHI's 30+ programs in 10 countries connect students with local health professionals and community leaders transforming perspectives about self, global health, and healing.

www.balloonventures.com Balloon ICS is a once in a lifetime volunteering opportunity funded by UK Government and led by VSO. After training in the UK and fundraising for the programme, you'll spend 12 weeks in Uganda or Kenya working with local entrepreneurs to launch exciting businesses that create jobs and improve lives. You will then return to the UK inspired and create 'Action at Home'.

saharaserviceorg.wordpress.com Sahara Service Organization is a low-cost volunteer program dedicated to providing people with the opportunity to volunteer in REAL Morocco.  SSO was founded through discussions between a Peace Corps Volunteer and members of the community in which she serves.

www.snehalaya.org Snehalaya provides Education, Healthcare and Livelihood Services to Women, Children and LGBT affected by poverty and the commercial sex industry in Rural India

worldcitylinks A leader in international professional development and the sharing of good practice, they offer secure and meaningful internships for students as well as a wide variety of international programmes for UK staff in Brazil, China, Japan, and Thailand. After successfully helping to deliver four Olympic Games in the last decade, they are now working on similar projects in Japan aimed at helping students, colleges and universities from the UK to engage with the Tokyo 2020 Games.

www.volunteerafrica.org An International not-for-profit organisation that is run by a team of volunteers spread around the world.
www.raleighinternational.org A youth development charity which inspires people from all backgrounds and nationalities to discover their full potential by working together on challenging environmental and community projects around the world.
www.ceci.ca A Canada-based organisation which supports development in many of the poorest countries on the planet.
www.unv.org Volunteer arm of the UN, it serves as a partner in developmental cooperation.
www.concern.net enable willing volunteers the opportunity to undertake global challenges in a variety of locations including the Himalayas, China, Peru and Europe. Challenges last 2 – 4 weeks, and costs vary.
www.aventure.co.uk is a specialist gap year organisation and a founding member of the Year Out Group. They offer a wide variety of opportunities including; teaching, coaching sport, conservation work and construction projects in Africa and Asia. Typical placement length is 5 – 6 months and costs vary depending on location.    
Volunteering Matters' full-time volunteers participate for 4-12 months in the UK helping to change the lives of people in need, facing new challenges, making new friends, and developing essential personal and workplace skills.
www.iaeste.org.uk Provides course-related summer placements abroad for science, engineering and applied arts students.
www.yearoutgroup.org A website packed with information and guidance on taking a gap-year or career break.
www.responsibletravel.com Volunteer travel advice.
www.tourismconcern.org.uk Tourism Concern's vision is tourism which is ethical, fair and a positive experience for both travellers and the people and places they visit.
www.unitedthroughsport.org A UK registered development-through-sport charity helping disadvantaged communities reach their full potential in sport, education and health. 

www.livelyminds.org work to improve the education and care given to pre-school children in highly deprived communities in Ghana and Uganda. They do this by training and empowering Mothers and Kindergarten Teachers to run educational Play Schemes that give young children a better start in life and better chances for the future. They're particularly keen for applications from people with expertise in early childhood development, public health, teaching, psychology and management skills.

www.eftc.org.uk work with disadvantaged children and their families to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala, through education and empowerment. They created the School of Hope, a Primary and Secondary School that educates 475 children and supports another 180 scholarship students who attend High School and University.

www.balloonfellowship.com Balloon Ventures support bright, ambitious young people from around the world to tackle poverty and disadvantage through entrepreneurship, not aid.

www.eastafricanplaygrounds.org/uvp East African Playgrounds aims to enhance the lives of children across Uganda by developing children’s learning opportunities, creativity and environments through building playgrounds and running arts and play sessions. In doing this they aim to provide high quality training and employment through their playground building workshops.

www.eftc.org.uk An international NGO based in Guatemala that runs the School of Hope, a Primary and Secondary School that educates 475 children and supports another 180 further education students. They work with disadvantaged children and their families to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment.

danefordtrust.org The Daneford Trust is a grassroots youth exchange program and registered charity based in Bethnal Green, East London. They offer ethical overseas volunteering placements to community-based projects in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean for Londoners aged 18-30. 

www.street-child.co.uk There are several ways to become a Street Child Ambassador. The short and long-term volunteer placements offer a unique and meaningful experience, working alongside local staff at projects across Sierra Leone and Nepal. Regardless of background and experience, Street Child Ambassadors considers applicants from all walks of life. Most importantly the programme is seeking individuals who can meet the ever-changing needs on the ground.

europa.eu On the European Voluntary Service website you can search for European volunteering projects that are looking for young people.

eastafricanplaygrounds.org East African Playgrounds aims to enhance the lives of children across Uganda by developing children’s learning opportunities, creativity and environments through building playgrounds and running arts and play sessions. They run a range of volunteering projects in Uganda to suit everyone.

www.worldatplay.org.uk World at Play is about enriching lives through sport and play. The charity is based in Wales. We train volunteers in sports and play leadership. 

skipperu.org SKIP is a non-profit organisation helping economically-disadvantaged children in El Porvenir realise their right to an education. They promote quality education and foster the capacity of children and families to be the principal agents of change in their own lives. They work in partnership with families through holistic programmes focusing on the educational, economic, emotional and social development of each child and parent. 

www.volunteerafrica.org An International not-for-profit organisation that is run by a team of volunteers spread around the world.
www.raleighinternational.org A youth development charity which inspires people from all backgrounds and nationalities to discover their full potential by working together on challenging environmental and community projects around the world.
www.ceci.ca A Canada-based organisation which supports development in many of the poorest countries on the planet.
www.unv.org Volunteer arm of the UN, it serves as a partner in developmental cooperation.
www.trekforce.org.uk jungle and rainforest conservation projects.
www.wwoof.org worldwide opportunities on organic farms.
www.eu.earthwatch.org Engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
www.frontier.ac.uk A non-profit conservation non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.
www.wateraid.org.uk Uses practical solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest people.
www.biosphere-expeditions.org offer placements on conservation projects across the world and won the 2006 ‘Best Volunteering Organisation’ award from First Choice Responsible Tourism.  Placements are between 2 – 4 weeks and costs vary. 
www.changingworlds.co.uk offer placements in North and South America, Asia and Africa on conservation projects. Placements are usually 8 weeks long, and costs vary. Changing Worlds were a founding member of the Year Out Group and are ATOL protected.
www.concern.net enable willing volunteers the opportunity to undertake global challenges in a variety of locations including the Himalayas, China, Peru and Europe. Challenges last 2 – 4 weeks, and costs vary.
www.conservationafrica.net offers placements ranging in length from 1 – 3 months. Placement opportunities are in South Africa and costs depend on which project volunteers are interested in.   
www.greenforce.org provide placements in conservation for a minimum of 3 months. Greenforce is supported by a number of reputable companies, including National Geographic, STA Travel and more. Plus it was a founding member of the Year Out Group.
Volunteering Matters' full-time volunteers participate for 4-12 months in the UK helping to change the lives of people in need, facing new challenges, making new friends, and developing essential personal and workplace skills.
www.iaeste.org.uk Provides course-related summer placements abroad for science, engineering and applied arts students.
www.yearoutgroup.org A website packed with information and guidance on taking a gap-year or career break.
www.responsibletravel.com Volunteer travel advice.
www.tourismconcern.org.uk Tourism Concern's vision is tourism which is ethical, fair and a positive experience for both travellers and the people and places they visit.

www.progressio.org.uk/ics As a Progressio ICS volunteer you will be part of a team of UK and local volunteers, and will work alongside a partner organisation adding value to their ongoing work. Your project will focus on either HIV and AIDS, sustainable environment or effective governance. The placements have a duration of 12 weeks and are based in El Salvador, Honduras, Malawi, Nicaragua or Zimbabwe.

www.volunteergalapagosecuador.org/about-volunteering-in-ecuador They offer volunteers real immersion in the various Ecuadorian ecosystems, and real opportunities for learning and sharing Ecuadorian cultures, customs and traditions, all the while helping different projects promote their development and changing lives through a better place to live.

www.volunteerafrica.org An International not-for-profit organisation that is run by a team of volunteers spread around the world.
www.raleighinternational.org A youth development charity which inspires people from all backgrounds and nationalities to discover their full potential by working together on challenging environmental and community projects around the world.
www.ceci.ca A Canada-based organisation which supports development in many of the poorest countries on the planet.
www.unv.org Volunteer arm of the UN, it serves as a partner in developmental cooperation.
www.concern.net enable willing volunteers the opportunity to undertake global challenges in a variety of locations including the Himalayas, China, Peru and Europe. Challenges last 2 – 4 weeks, and costs vary.
Volunteering Matters' full-time volunteers participate for 4-12 months in the UK helping to change the lives of people in need, facing new challenges, making new friends, and developing essential personal and workplace skills.
www.iaeste.org.uk Provides course-related summer placements abroad for science, engineering and applied arts students.
www.yearoutgroup.org A website packed with information and guidance on taking a gap-year or career break.
www.responsibletravel.com Volunteer travel advice.
www.tourismconcern.org.uk Tourism Concern's vision is tourism which is ethical, fair and a positive experience for both travellers and the people and places they visit.

 

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