Volunteering Abroad – Everything you need to know

The why, how and what of volunteering abroad

Everything you need to know about volunteering abroad!

Are you – like us – dreaming of an opportunity to live and work in another country for some time? And are you looking for ways to make this dream become reality? It might be easier than you think: consider volunteering abroad for a while! It is a perfect, cheap and uncomplicated way to make your dream possible. In this article we created an overview of the benefits of volunteering abroad and tools of how to find the best places to volunteer abroad. We created a test which helps you in finding out what is important to you, what are your reasons of volunteering abroad. Feel free to start with our free Volunteering Abroad Test right away or read the full blog first.

Start the volunteering abroad Test NOW

Why volunteering abroad?

It’s cheap. Fun. Satisfying. Adventurous. There are numerous reasons to go volunteering abroad, especially with the numerous volunteer abroad programs out there! But maybe you still need to convince yourself, your parents, your friends or your dog that you want to do this. So let’s start with a number of benefits that proof volunteering abroad is an excellent idea.

Benefits of volunteering abroad

  • Make the world a better place – Cheesy, but true. There are many non profit organizations in need of some helping hands to impact people’s lives. Use your time to make a difference!
  • Grow in self-knowledge – Through working in a different context, you gain more understanding of who you are, why you do the things you do and what your gifts, strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Spice up your resume – Sustainability is a core value for a lot of companies worldwide. Extra-curricular activities like volunteering abroad show your future employer that you really care for people and the world and that you have international experience.
  • Explore a foreign country in a deeper way – Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to experience a country in a deeper way. Use you time off wisely to explore the country, culture, people and history off the beaten track.

Of course there are more reasons to go volunteering abroad. Check out our full list here!

Is volunteering abroad something for you?

Volunteering abroad is not just for a specific type of person: everyone could (and should) do it! There are so many volunteering opportunities and organizations, that there are perfect options for everyone who is interested in volunteering abroad. Whether you should go volunteering abroad is out of question. Rather ask yourself: where to go and what to do? Do you have money to spend or are you looking for options to volunteer abroad free? There are so many options!

How to choose the right volunteer abroad program?

You might wonder: “There are so many volunteer abroad programs. How can I choose the best places to volunteer abroad?” Indeed, finding a perfect and maybe free volunteer abroad programs can feel like a tough exercise. Especially because there are so many agencies and intermediaries. These agencies often ask high fees, without any guarantee for better quality. While there are numerous volunteer organizations who opportunities that make volunteering abroad cheap. For example: you could volunteer abroad cheap by working in exchange for accommodation and small food fees. So, avoid high expenses and find the best volunteer abroad programs yourselves. How? No stress! We created a step-by-step checklist, to help you finding the best volunteer abroad programs cheap.

Step-by-step guide to find a perfect and cheap volunteering opportunity

Step 1: select your favorite type of volunteering

Firstly, before you start searching for volunteer abroad programs, ask yourself in what type of volunteering work are you interested. For what good cause would you like to work? To what kind of charity or volunteering organization would you like to donate your time and talents?

It is an important question. Volunteering abroad in a work field that is close to your heart will be a first step to finding a successful experience. If you feel like you don’t have any idea what to answer to this question, maybe the global Sustainable Development Goals can help you (see image below). It is a list of areas global issues we need to invest in to create a better and more sustainable future. Of course this list doesn’t contain all possible options, but it might lead to valuable ideas. Use it as inspiration to create your own list. Make a top 3 of your favorite sustainability goals, to see which topics interest you the most. Write down your ideas of how you could contribute to solving this problem.

Create your own goals for volunteering abroad using Sustainable Development Goals UN

An example of how you could translate the sustainable development goals into volunteering abroad options:

Favorite goals Peace, justice (16)
Good health (3)
Climate action (13)
Ideas to contribute while volunteering abroad – Local church or ministry

– Refugees

– Human trafficking

– Prison

– Work in a local hospital

– Join a sports program for children in slums

– Beach waste clean up

– Volunteer in wildlife conservation

Step 2: create your top 3 of countries

This might be an obvious step, but it will help you to specify your search in the next step. Make a shortlist of three countries you would like to go to. If you really don’t have a clue, start with making a list of requirements for the country that you want to visit (f.e. climate, continent, specific language, developing nation or not etc.). Or use simply a map of the world and choose three countries that seem the most appealing to you. Important: don’t forget to check if you are able to get a visa for this country with your nationality! If you like to come to Amsterdam, click here to find out if you would be able to get a visa. 

Step 3: write down your talents and passions

Are you good in photography? Would you like to work with children or animals? Write down some of your passions and talents! When selecting volunteering options, it will help you to see what suits you best!

Step 4: start your search for volunteer abroad programs

There are a lot of volunteer abroad programs out there, and choosing one can become overwhelming if you don’t specify your search. When using Google to find the perfect volunteering abroad opportunity, use the input of step 1, 2 and possibly 3 to be as specific as possible. Use different search queries and write down the opportunities that caught your eye. You could use our template to collect and select your favorite abroad program.

Step 5: Choose, apply and go!

If you used our template, you now have one overview of your favorite opportunities. Based on your requirements (costs, type of work) you can decide which opportunities suits you best. Check out the application procedure and make sure you apply in time. And before you know it, you are ready to go!


Interested in volunteer abroad programs?

One thing is sure: volunteering abroad is an experience of a lifetime. If you love to meet new people, experience different cultures, live in an international community and make the world a better place, volunteering abroad is an experience you shouldn’t miss out! We hope that our step-by-step guide will help you finding the perfect volunteering opportunity.

If you love to work with people from all over the world and are looking for volunteering work in Amsterdam, join our international volunteering team! Meet new people, live in an international community, experience various cultures and make a difference. Check out our volunteer opportunities here.

What is important for you?

Do our Volunteering Abroad Free Test

Gain insight in what your focus should be for your volunteering abroad experience. And find out what topics the best places to volunteer abroad for you should cover!

Required fields are marked *

1.I want time to reflect. *
2.I would like to have the chance to learn and experience new things. *
3.I would like to gain work experience. *
4.I want to take time to think about my next steps in life. *
5.I want to gain more understanding of who I am. *
6.I would like to have meaningful conversations about life. *
7.I want to meet people from all over the world. *
8.I would like to work on a team. *
9.I want to do things that I have never done before. *
10.I would like to step out of my comfort zone and do new things (for example, organise/host activities, speak in front of groups or lead a team). *

1 out of 5