We’ve compiled a list of the best and most current scholarships and bursaries for volunteering abroad, to help you in your search of affordable volunteer abroad projects. We know that financing an overseas trip can be a challenge, so we’re here to help turn your dream of volunteering abroad into a reality. Read on for answers to your most asked questions about government funding for volunteering abroad and the scholarships or bursaries available to volunteer overseas.
Can you get scholarships for volunteering?
Yes, you can! All of the scholarships and bursaries listed below can be applied to a Projects Abroad volunteer project. We’re glad to provide a proof of certificate and reference upon successful completion of your project.
What are the differences between scholarships and bursaries?
Scholarships and bursaries are two different sources of funding. While they're both non-repayable, scholarships are usually awarded for academic excellence, and winning a scholarship is usually extremely competitive. They also might come attached with various conditions. Bursaries are lump sums or annual stipends available to anyone who meets the criteria for them. This could be students from low-income backgrounds or students pursuing a specific area of study, for example.
How do I get funding for volunteering abroad?
There are a number of scholarships available and they can be applied to any Projects Abroad volunteer program. Unfortunately, Projects Abroad is unable to provide financial aid directly because we don’t receive any external funding. However, we’re here to help with fundraising ideas and we’ve provided a list of grants and scholarships for humanitarian work:
- The Turing Scheme: funds schools, colleges, universities, and other organisations sending students abroad.
- Jack Petchey Foundation: offers grants of up to £400 for overseas volunteer programmes
- Hazel's Footprints Trust - Footprinter Grant: offers grants to those who are planning to volunteer abroad for a minimum of six months
- GoOverseas: offers regular volunteer abroad scholarships and study abroad scholarships, totaling $100,000 annually
- Ferguson Trust: offers £300 to gap year students
- Young Explorer's Trust: offers grants to young people aged 19 and younger
- Joicey Trust: offers grants to those living within Northumberland or East Scottish borders
- Scholarships for Students in HMC Schools: offers grants of up to £600 for HMC students taking gap years
- Captain Scott Society: offers £500 for young people aged 19 and younger
- Sir Philip Reckitt Educational Trust: offers contributions towards the cost of travel, residence, and attendance at conferences, lectures, and educational courses
- John Muir Trust - Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant: offers grants of up to £2,000
- Royal Society of Biology: offers five grants of £500 every year
- British Medical and Dental Trust: offers bursaries of up to £4,000 for elective students
- Winston Churchill Memorial Trust: offers funding of up to £6,000 for young people between the ages of 18-25
- RDC Foundation: offers funding to young people under the age of 21
- The South of Scotland Youth Awards Trust: offers grants of up to £2000 for 17-25 year olds living in the south of Scotland.
- Bournemouth University - Placement Opportunity Fund: offers bursaries for work experience placements
- Birmingham University Work Experience Bursaries: all undergraduate students of all years, including international students
- Sheffield University - International Volunteering Scholarship: offers two scholarships of £1,000 each for undergraduate students who have independently sourced a volunteering opportunity
- St Johns University of Cambridge - Travel Grants: offers a wide variety of grants to students
- Cambridge University - Travel Awards: offers a wide variety of grants to students
- University of Southampton - Ameca Bursary Grant: offers up to £1,000
Can I volunteer abroad for free?
Volunteering abroad provides numerous benefits to communities around the world while enriching travellers' lives with meaningful travel experiences. But you may be asking yourself, “Why do I have to pay to volunteer abroad?”
Our volunteer programmes come with a fee because we implement long-term sustainable projects that employ local staff. We also provide you with everything you need for a safe, secure, and hassle-free trip. It’s important that we direct our funds where they are needed the most, to the projects we establish and the solutions we implement.
How much does volunteering abroad cost?
Our projects have various prices, depending on the location, length of time, and level of the project. On our Marine Conservation Projects you’ll earn your PADI Open Water Diving certificate. On others, you’ll work in parks and reserves with special access, like in Galapagos National Park, Tuli Reserve in Botswana, or living with a Mongolian nomadic community. However, you may be wondering, “How much does it cost to volunteer abroad?”
We’ve provided these resources about how our prices work and how our projects work. We make change possible through our projects. Each one solves a specific problem, in a specific place. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and we champion responsible volunteer travel.
How can I volunteer for cheap abroad?
Volunteering abroad is an enriching experience for both volunteers and organisations needing support around the world. The funds you pay to volunteer abroad support long-term, sustainable programming, as well as providing you with everything you need to safely volunteer abroad. However, it’s important you work with responsible volunteer travel programmes that you can trust.
We obey a strict set of policies, ethics, and codes of conduct and annually measure our impact to ensure that our projects make a difference. Annually, we receive accreditations and awards for our commitment to sustainable travel.
You can achieve affordable volunteer trips abroad by applying for scholarships, using your local community to fundraise, setting up flexible payment plans, and searching for government funding for volunteering abroad. Reach out to local service organisations for opportunities specific to your community.
Your contributions on these volunteer programmes will be respected by future job and college applications, your friends and family, and appreciated by communities around the world.
Reach out to any of our Project Experts for help with your search. We’re here to guide you through this process and help you discover what you’re capable of!