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Best volunteer abroad programmes in 2024

Work abroad on a volunteer adventure

By Thom Brown | 10th January, 2024

Make 2024 the year you travel the world and leave a positive impact everywhere you go.

Below, discover the best volunteer abroad programmes on offer this year. From Childcare to Conservation, let your passion guide you as you work abroad.

Our volunteer projects will immerse you in a new culture as you make a real difference to local communities.

Browse all volunteer programmes >

What are the best volunteer abroad opportunities in 2024?

The vast majority of our volunteers work with children or animals. For most people reading this, these will be your best volunteer abroad options.

Volunteer with animals

Embark on a wild adventure by dedicating your time to volunteering with animals. Explore jungles, savannahs, and remote islands as you help protect Earth’s biodiversity. From giraffes to sea turtles, there are opportunities abound for animal lovers.

Volunteer with children

For anyone with a nurturing and caring heart, volunteering with children is a fulfilling path. You’ll plan and lead lessons that focus on the development of children, working in classrooms, daycare centres, or special needs centres.

If you want to gain work experience abroad, including in medicine, explore overseas internships instead or get your Ultimate Guide to Medical Internships Abroad for Teens.

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Volunteer Abroad FAQs

Before we jump into the amazing destinations you can visit as a volunteer, let’s talk about volunteer work. Here are some frequently asked questions about volunteering abroad:

1) What do volunteers do abroad?

Volunteers engage in a range of activities based on their chosen programme. The main goal is to use their time and energy to solve problems and leave a lasting impact.

Work abroad may include teaching, renovation, wildlife surveys, or cultural exchange. Volunteering abroad is all about actively participating in the community, embracing new cultures, and addressing local needs.

2) Can you get paid to volunteer abroad?

Most volunteers do not receive payment for their work. Volunteer opportunities are typically based on a spirit of altruism.

All of our volunteer programmes offer benefits such as accommodation, meals, and transport. Just keep in mind that the primary motivation for volunteering abroad is to contribute to a cause.

3) Do you have to pay to volunteer abroad?

From accommodation to staff wages, there are many costs involved in volunteering abroad. That’s why responsible organisations charge a fee. This ensures that you’re able to make a meaningful and lasting impact.

Read more about why we charge a fee.

4) Am I too old to volunteer abroad?

Age is no barrier to volunteering abroad. Many volunteer programmes welcome people of all ages. Some exclusively cater to older volunteers. The key is to find a programme that aligns with your interests, skills, and physical capabilities.

While it’s most common to volunteer between 15 and 25, this is by no means the limit. In fact, the skills, experience, and wisdom of older volunteers mean they can do valuable work abroad.

5) Does volunteering abroad actually help?

Yes, volunteering abroad can have a meaningful impact when approached responsibly. It allows individuals to contribute directly to communities and address local challenges.

Effective volunteer work focuses on sustainable development, respecting local cultures, and collaborating with communities. We ensure we meet these goals through regular impact reporting.

6) What country needs volunteers the most?

All countries have unique problems that can be addressed through volunteer work. Countries facing challenges such as poverty, lack of education and healthcare, or environmental issues often seek volunteer support. Nations affected by natural disasters or conflicts may also have urgent needs.

Countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America frequently host volunteers due to their ongoing development efforts.

7) What is the top destination for volunteering abroad programmes?

Popular destinations for volunteering include countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Countries like Ghana, Nepal, and Peru often attract volunteers due to a combination of culture and pressing social issues.

Below, discover the best volunteer abroad programmes that we offer across the world.

Best volunteer in Africa opportunities

From the bustle of Accra’s markets to the open plains that surround Nanyuki, Africa is rich in diversity. It’s also home to some of the world’s least developed countries, meaning the work of volunteers is highly valued.

Whether you’re teaching in a classroom made of mud or observing giraffes in the wild, volunteer in Africa this year.

In this vast and diverse continent, which country offers the best Africa volunteer projects?

Volunteer in Ghana

Nestled on the West African coast, Ghana is considered an ideal introduction to Africa. From the busy streets of Accra to the historic Cape Coast Castle, Ghana's friendly communities offer a warm welcome.

A safe and peace-loving country, Ghana is one of our most popular destinations.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: Stay in the lively capital, Accra, or the rural and peaceful region of the Akuapem Hills. You’ll teach vital skills like hygiene that can help children grow up to be healthy and active members of their community.
Volunteer with children in Ghana

Volunteer in Kenya

Situated in East Africa, Kenya beckons adventurers with its sweeping savannas, lush forests, and the majestic Rift Valley.

Beyond its natural wonders, visitors to Kenya can discover its wide variety of tribes, such as the Maasai. It’s a popular safari destination but also attracts volunteers looking to work abroad.

We’re based in Nanyuki, which is around 200 km (125 miles) north of the capital, Nairobi. It offers a more relaxed, rural way of life. Located on the equator, this is a unique opportunity to support communities and wildlife in Kenya.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Help protect some of the world’s greatest mammals, including giraffes and lions. These majestic creatures are vulnerable to poaching, climate change, and the encroachment of human civilisation. By maintaining waterholes, setting camera traps, and removing invasive species, you can help protect this biodiversity.

  • Childcare: Schools in Kenya are often understaffed, meaning children aren’t developing at the rate they might elsewhere. By volunteering with children in Kenya, you can help ease the pressure on local teachers. You can also work with children who have special needs, helping give them a fair chance in life.

    And you won’t miss out on seeing wildlife – spend your weekend on an unforgettable safari adventure!
Volunteer with animals in Kenya

Volunteer in Tanzania

When you think of Africa’s stunning scenery and wonderful wildlife, you’re probably thinking of Tanzania. Located on the east coast of Africa, Tanzania boasts the iconic Serengeti plains, the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, and the pristine beaches of Zanzibar. 

Although it’s a warm and hospitable country, it’s also a place where access to education is limited. Schools are often overcrowded, which is why it’s a hotspot for volunteer in Africa programmes.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: You’ll work with a small group of children, ensuring every child gets the attention they need. Your job is to make the children of Tanzania excited to build skills that will set them up for a successful future.

    You’ll be based in Arusha, giving you a taste of city life in Tanzania. At the same time, Arusha sits on the borders of Mount Meru, the Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. On the weekend, explore some of Africa’s most spectacular scenery and spot its iconic wildlife.
Volunteer with children in Tanzania

Volunteer in Botswana

Botswana is a vast and unspoilt landscape, boasting the breathtaking Okavango Delta and the alluring Kalahari Desert. It’s a haven for anyone interested in volunteering with animals. You’ll enjoy a rustic and stripped-back existence, connecting with Mother Earth as well as the people of Botswana.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Travel deep into the wilderness to help protect Africa’s Big 5: elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, and buffalo. Staying in an authentic lodge, you’ll mostly work with elephants. You’ll help provide these gentle and intelligent animals with a safe place to roam. Through anti-poaching patrols, wildlife surveys, and building waterholes, your volunteer work with animals in Africa will make a lasting difference.
Volunteer with animals in Botswana

Volunteer in South Africa

From the iconic Table Mountain to the rugged beauty of Kruger National Park, South Africa captivates with its varied terrain. With a mix of lively city life and beautiful countryside, it’s one of the world’s best safari locations. There are also ongoing social challenges in South Africa, which is why your volunteer work is in high demand.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, but its townships are deeply affected by poverty. This has led to overcrowded schools, where children aren’t always given the attention they need. By volunteering with children in Africa, you’ll work one-on-one to improve literacy and numeracy. Your work abroad can also involve hygiene lessons, a crucial skill to ensure children grow up free from disease.
Childcare volunteer work in South Africa

Best volunteer in Asia opportunities

A land of spirituality inspired by the serene beauty of its landscapes, Asia is full of bucket-list destinations. Blending vibrant metropolises and natural wonders, this continent has plenty for volunteers to explore.

From the depths of Thailand’s waters to the dense forests of Nepal, Asia is a paradise for anyone interested in volunteering with animals. Some regions are also economically underdeveloped, creating a clear need for volunteer community work.

How do you choose between the temples of Cambodia and the steppe of Mongolia? Here are the best volunteer destinations in Asia to help you decide.

Volunteer in Cambodia

Home to Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious structure, Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s top destinations. It’s a country bursting with spirituality, offering a chance to take lessons from both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Despite its reputation for peace and hospitality, Cambodia is grappling with social issues like poverty and lack of access to education. Volunteers from around the world have the opportunity to explore this incredible country while helping disadvantaged communities.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: You’ll work in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, a vibrant city on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong Rivers. The daycare centres and kindergartens where you’ll volunteer are in a rural area outside of the city. This means they have more basic facilities than you may be used to. By teaching through play and completing health checks, your work will be vital for the early development of children.

    On the weekend, there’s time to visit the charming city of Siem Reap and the iconic Angkor Wat temple complex.
Explore Cambodia as a volunteer

Volunteer in Nepal

Nepal is no doubt one of the world’s most unique and awe-inspiring countries. From the Himalayan peaks to Chitwan National Park, it has long attracted the world’s most intrepid explorers. You can choose between protecting wildlife among Nepal’s spectacular scenery or caring for children in its colourful cities.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Living in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, you’ll observe and help protect rhinos in Nepal’s flourishing forests. Your days will be spent on wildlife safaris, conducting bird surveys, and setting camera traps to spot Bengal tigers.

  • Childcare: You can choose to work in either Kathmandu or Chitwan, two of Nepal’s most endearing cities. Wherever you do volunteer work, you’ll be immersed in the Nepali way of life. You’ll leave a lasting impact on children, whether you work in a school, a centre for malnourished children, or a centre for children with special needs.

    In your free time, you can pay your respects at temples or hike in the Himalayas.
Volunteer with animals in Nepal

Volunteer in the Philippines

An archipelago of over 7,000 islands in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is an idyllic tourist hotspot. It’s also a country where volunteer work is vital due to enduring poverty in disadvantaged communities. This is your chance to embrace a life-changing island adventure while leaving a positive impact on the people you meet.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: Get ready for some serious island hopping as you do volunteer work in Bogo City. The city is located in Cebu Province, which consists of one main island and 167 surrounding islets. You’ll teach literacy and counting skills to young children. Your main focus will be on creative learning as you find innovative ways to engage the children. You can also provide personalised support to children with special needs, a service that is hard to come by in the Philippines.

    On weekends, you can explore and relax in these tranquil surroundings. Consider scuba diving to experience the colourful wonders that exist below the water.
Do volunteer work with children in the Philippines

Volunteer in Thailand

The archetypal backpacking destination for everyone from gap year teens to retirees, Thailand is one of Asia’s most beautiful countries. Known for its islands, it’s home to one of the world’s most diverse marine environments. If you’re someone who deeply cares about the health of our oceans, then volunteering with animals in Thailand may be for you.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: This unique Marine Conservation experience is a chance to help protect Thailand’s crucial coral reefs. At the same time, you’ll gain a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) diving certification, which could open up new careers.

    This project involves staying in a hotel on Koh Tao Island, from which you’ll do volunteer work in this serene and picturesque setting.
Diving & Marine Conservation volunteers in Thailand

Volunteer in Mongolia

A land of raw and expansive rugged beauty, Mongolia is one of Earth’s most untouched landscapes. Here, you can live and work with nomads on the vast Mongolian steppe. This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a dying nomadic lifestyle. Or stay in the thriving city of Ulaanbaatar to help improve the life chances of local children.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: Mongolia is a forward-thinking and ambitious country, but many children enter the world of work lacking the skills needed to succeed. You’ll be based at either a kindergarten, a daycare centre, or a school for children with special needs. Your job will be to improve the learning environment and help children become confident at reading and counting.

    It’s not far from the city to the remote wilderness, where you can roam the steppe on horseback. Don’t forget to visit the famous statue of Genghis Khan, the world’s tallest equestrian statue.
Volunteer with nomads in Mongolia

Volunteer in Sri Lanka

A spiritual, natural, and cultural powerhouse, Sri Lanka offers a fascinating experience for visitors. Whether you’re learning from monks, trekking through the forest, or relaxing on the beach, Sri Lanka will provide countless memorable moments. This makes it a fantastic place to complete volunteer work. Whether volunteering with animals or children, you’ll have the chance to give back as much as you gain.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Sri Lanka is home to incredible wildlife, but much of it is under threat. This includes sea turtles, whose eggs can be destroyed by poachers or the elements. In Balapitiya, you’ll spend your time on Sri Lanka’s idyllic beaches, collecting eggs and relocating them to a safe location. You’ll also help care for several species, including green, leatherback, olive ridley, loggerhead, and hawksbill sea turtles.

  • Childcare: If you’d rather care for children, then this project is for you. You’ll be based in a small coastal town near the capital, Colombo, where you’ll experience authentic life in Sri Lanka. You’ll be placed in a special needs school, kindergarten, or community centre. The facilities may be quite basic, but your attention and dedication will mean the world to the children you volunteer with.
Beach for volunteering with animals in Sri Lanka

Best volunteer in Latin America opportunities

If you’re seeking a diversity of cultures and experiences, then look no further than Latin America. From the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu to the idyllic Galapagos Islands, this continent is bursting with unforgettable travel stories.

In both large cities and remote areas, there are many disadvantaged regions of Latin America where volunteer work is warmly welcomed. By volunteering in this part of the world, you can explore romantic cultures and incredible landscapes, all while helping those in need.

The work you do, from volunteering with animals to supporting education, depends on the destination you visit. Here are some of the best volunteer abroad programmes in Latin America.

Volunteer in Peru

There are few places as geologically diverse as Peru. From Lima’s white sandy beaches to the astounding Andes Mountains; from the desolate Nazca Desert to the dense Amazon Jungle; Peru has it all. If you’re hoping to volunteer with animals, then Peru is a hotbed of biodiversity. Alternatively, stay in the beautiful mountain city of Cusco to work on community development projects.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: The Amazon Rainforest is perhaps planet Earth’s most amazing and diverse ecosystem. For anyone hoping to volunteer with animals, this is just about the best place to do so. You’ll live in a rainforest lodge, spending your days helping with the rescue, release, and rehabilitation of jungle animals like macaws and jaguars. You’ll also explore the forest from the heights of the canopy, completing bird surveys to monitor the local wildlife.

  • Childcare: There are many opportunities for children to thrive in Peruvian society, but they need adequate education to do so. You’ll stay in the ancient city of Cusco, teaching foundational skills like literacy, numeracy, and hygiene.

    In your free time, you can explore this vast and stunning landscape. Cusco is also the gateway to the iconic archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
A volunteer group in Peru

Volunteer in the Galapagos

An archipelago located 1,000 km (620 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos is known for being a haven for wildlife. Its most famous visitor, Charles Darwin, helped to cement these remote islands in the imagination of animal enthusiasts worldwide.

If you’re hoping to do Conservation volunteering, then the Galapagos has to be on your bucket list. However, you can also visit if you’d rather volunteer with children. Whatever you do, there will be ample opportunities to explore and spot wildlife.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: It’s hard to name a better place to volunteer with animals than the Galapagos. This is the place that inspired the Theory of Evolution and remains one of the most unique and biodiverse ecosystems. We have exclusive access to the Galapagos National Park, where you’ll monitor and help protect beautiful animals like sea lions and giant tortoises. You’ll learn from leading conservationists as you help maintain this incredible environment.

  • Childcare: You’ll work on the stunning San Cristobal Island, part of the Galapagos. You’ll be based at kindergartens in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where educational facilities will be more basic than you’re used to. You’ll help improve the reading skills and confidence of children, with the opportunity to give extra support to those with special needs.

    This port town is dedicated to protecting sea lions, meaning you’ll spot these charming and charismatic creatures everywhere you go.
Conservation volunteer work in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Volunteer in Mexico

With world-beating beaches, flavour-packed cuisine, and well-preserved history, Mexico is a top tourist destination. However, with its fair share of vulnerable animals and disadvantaged communities, it’s also an ideal place to volunteer abroad. Our volunteer projects in Mexico will immerse you in this wonderful culture while ensuring you leave a positive impact.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Travel to Cuyutlan, where you’ll work on its famous black sand beaches. Here, you’ll help protect sea turtles by collecting eggs and relocating them to a safe location. You’ll also care for turtles at an ecological centre, learning from conservation experts as you help preserve important species like the olive ridley turtle.

  • Childcare: Wander the winding cobblestone streets of Guadalajara as you become immersed in the home of many of Mexico’s world-renowned traditions. Your role will be to support local teachers and caregivers, providing fun and engaging lessons for children. You’ll teach through play, design posters and flashcards, and attend workshops to learn about the Mexican educational system.
Volunteering with animals in Mexico

Volunteer in Argentina

Stretching from the Andes Mountains to the vast Pampas, Argentina is one of South America’s most diverse countries. Whether you want modern city life or access to untamed wilderness, Argentina has it all. This also makes it a great place to do voluntary work. There is so much good you can do, whether caring for young children or protecting the world’s largest mammals.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: You’ll be based in the incredible “La Esperanza” wildlife refuge on the stunning Patagonian coast. Here, you’ll work to monitor and protect some of Argentina’s most amazing animals, including whales and pumas. You’ll also survey other unique wildlife, such as guanacos (related to llamas) and sea lions.

  • Childcare: Based in Cordoba, volunteering with children is a great way to explore Argentina while helping those in need. From numeracy to sport, you’ll help ease the pressure on teachers working in overcrowded schools. You can also choose to take care of children with disabilities. You’ll help them with daily activities like meal times and exercise.
Volunteer travel to Argentina

Volunteer in Jamaica

Many visit Jamaica for its mesmerising tropical beauty. But what if you could explore this island paradise while improving the lives of the people who live there? We offer volunteer projects that allow you to support community development projects while hiking in the forests or relaxing on Caribbean beaches.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: If you choose to volunteer with children in Jamaica, you’ll stay in the university town of Mandeville. Located inland but not too far from the coast, this will immerse you in the reggae rhythms of Jamaica. You can support the education of children in daycare centres or special needs schools. Alternatively, there’s an opportunity to support vulnerable adults in a home for the elderly. 
A volunteer teacher in Jamaica

Other volunteer programmes around the world

Volunteering in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is popular, but these aren’t your only options. It’s possible to volunteer in just about every country on Earth. Everywhere has communities that need support.

If you’re looking for the best volunteer abroad opportunities that aren't in Africa, Asia, or Latin America, we recommend Fiji or Romania.

Volunteer in Fiji

If you’re hoping to combine volunteer work with unforgettable travel experiences, then a trip to Fiji is for you. This colourful tropical destination is a paradise for visitors, but much of its marine life is under threat. Volunteers can help preserve this special ecosystem or contribute to the development of young people.

We recommend:

  • Conservation: Our internationally-recognised Shark Conservation Project is a chance to volunteer with animals in an idyllic tropical location. We’ve partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure that your volunteer work has maximum impact. You’ll gain PADI diving certification, conduct survey dives, and replant mangroves to help absorb carbon from the atmosphere and prevent coastal erosion.

  • Childcare: If you choose to volunteer with children in Fiji, you’ll be based in Pacific Harbour, known as the adventure capital of Fiji. Your days will be spent creating fun lesson plans to engage children and help them learn numeracy, literacy, and hygiene. You can also support children with special needs, helping them thrive.

    In your free time, you can fuel your adrenaline through hiking, ziplining, and kayaking, or simply rejuvenate from the comfort of a soft sandy beach.
Volunteer to protect sharks in Fiji

Volunteer in Romania

Europe may not be the first place you think of when looking for volunteer abroad opportunities. However, many regions remain underdeveloped and are welcoming to hardworking volunteers.

Located in Eastern Europe, Romania is one of Europe’s most vast and beautiful landscapes. Working from a city like Brasov, you’ll have the chance to explore vampire folklore, fairytale castles, endless Transylvanian mountains, and incredible wildlife like brown bears.

We recommend:

  • Childcare: You’ll stay in the exquisitely-preserved medieval city of Brasov, travelling to a small nearby village to provide support where it is most needed. This may be in a school or kindergarten but could also be in a centre for people with mental and physical disabilities. You’ll create games to make learning fun, improve English skills, and give children a chance to thrive in the emerging Romanian economy.

    In your free time, you could hike in the mountains, observe bears at the Libearty Sanctuary, or pay a visit to Dracula’s castle in Bran.
Volunteer Childcare in Romania

Questions about volunteering abroad?

Contact a Project Expert for personalised support choosing your volunteer adventure!

01273 007 230

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