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.
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.
Visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office pages 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 "stop orphanage volunteering" petition.
If you’re a higher or further education institute please add this pledge to your website. Email the volunteer team at LSE to be added to the list of supporters.
This pledge has been designed by the Better Volunteering, Better Care group, of which the LSE Volunteer Centre is a supporting member. Please read the LSE blog post setting out why we won’t promote orphanage volunteering.