The Beginner’s Guide to Volunteering Abroad

Are you looking for a life-changing experience? Perhaps you’ve just finished university and not sure what your next step is, or maybe you’re yet to begin university, possibly unsure if it’s right for you? Maybe you’re in between jobs?

Whatever your circumstances, there are volunteering projects that enable you to travel the world, gaining unmatched experience whilst also allowing you to do good work for the places you travel to.

If it’s something you’ve been thinking about or are interested in, you might be held back by not knowing what exactly is involved. So here’s a guide of what you can expect to be doing when you travel.

What Sort of Projects Can I Work On?

One of the most popular types of projects to volunteer abroad on are wildlife conservation projects. Ideal for someone with a love for animals and the environment, you can help improve the living conditions of endangered species.

What animals do you like? Do you want to volunteer with orangutans? Perhaps you could search for a project based on a particular animal you care about.Some organisations let you choose based on animal, including sloths, turtles, monkeys, big cats, elephants and more.

You may remember the Iceland and Greenpeace Christmas advert from a few years back that featured an animation of an orangutan. The advert aimed to highlight the impact of palm oil and the destruction that its usage in products has caused to rainforests. Perhaps that inspired you to take action at the time, and you now want to go even further.

Alternatively, you could do things a more conventional way and search for a project based on the country or area of the world you want to travel to. Websites for volunteer projects will usually have a list or even an interactive map to choose a location from.

So where do you want to go? How about Africa, or somewhere in Asia? Maybe a Borneo orangutan project? The Asian Island of Borneo is one of only two places that you can find orangutans in their natural habitat, so it’s important to keep them safe.

Who Can Volunteer and for How Long?

The minimum age for volunteering is usually around 17 or 18, but it may vary from project to project. A minimum age of 14 may apply if travelling with an adult such as a parent or legal guardian. Your best bet is to check the eligibility on each project.

The majority of volunteers go solo, but there are also group packages as well as opportunities for families to go on an adventure. There are family friendly projects where parents can go with children of all ages.

You can stay and volunteer for anywhere from a week to a couple of months and there may be specific dates that the project will run from.Prices start from several hundred pounds and will cover things like accommodation and could also include all of your daily meals.

What Will IBe Doing?

On projects you will have the opportunity to get involved in a varied range of activities. For example, if you are working on a project with animals, it will mainly revolve around the creation of enrichment for them at the wildlife centre where they are being looked after.

This involves giving animals a good environment for activities in which their natural behaviours, physical health and mental health will be stimulated. This may in turn mean that they will be able to be released into the wild without being vulnerable, as animals in projects could be orphaned or rescued from captivity. You can also feed them, clean their enclosures and perform general husbandry tasks.

Whether a project involves animals or not, you will often be helping with tasks such as construction for buildings, enclosures, or things like boardwalks. You’ll also be performing maintenance such as painting, cleaning or gardening.

Other than activities you’ll also get some free time, two days off that will usually be on weekends, to explore your surroundings. This could mean visiting nearby parks, beaches, landmarks as well as soaking up the culture of wherever you’ve chosen to volunteer.

Find Your Perfect Volunteer Experience

Going on a volunteering project abroad can be an extremely rewarding experience, it can also be great for self discovery and learning new skills. Search for a reputable organisation that offers these projects and read reviews of other’s experience before you decide. You could soon be changing your life and doing good for the world.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.