If you want to volunteer abroad for summer, you can join the best summer volunteer abroad programs with International Volunteer HQ in over 40 destinations. You can spend your summer volunteering in Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, or even the Pacific for as little as $180 for 1 week. With the most affordable fees and flexible summer volunteer programs, IVHQ makes it easy to organize a summer servive trip on a student budget.
While International Volunteer HQ offers volunteer programs in every season, thousands of travelers choose to spend their summer volunteering abroad on a range of worthwhile projects, including Childcare, Teaching English, Medical and Healthcare, or Wildlife. Whether you’re looking for summer medical volunteer opportunities or want to teach English abroad for summer, IVHQ offers the world’s largest range of volunteer opportunities so you can customize an unforgettable alternative summer break.
A summer volunteer abroad trip is the ideal way to make a meaningful contriburion to important social and environmental projects abroad, while working alongside local community members and like-minded volunteer travelers. You will also have the opportunity to be immersed in the local culture and explore the tourist attractions during your free time. So instead of soaking up the sun at home this summer, take a summer service trip that’s unlike your standard summer camp!
If you are looking for summer volunteer opportunities in 2018 or 2019, make sure you read our recommended summer volunteer programs below and find the answers to commonly asked questions.
Summer volunteer programs for high school students & college students
If you’re a high school or college student, taking a summer volunteering trip is the perfect way to make the most of your summer break. Joining a summer volunteer abroad program is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and give back to the local community, while accumulating new experiences and perspectives to support your personal and professional development.
Can I travel alone or with friends this summer?
If you are traveling solo this summer, IVHQ has your back! Traveling alone with IVHQ is a safe and affordable way to explore the world as an independent traveler while being fully supported at every stage of your volunteer program. You will receive 24/7 support from our local team and have the opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers from across the globe, forming fast-friendships with your fellow IVHQers. So while you may arrive alone, you’ll never actually be alone.
If you’re organizing a summer volunteer trip with your friends, you’re in luck! IVHQ has a team dedicated to supporting groups of volunteers traveling together. They will be able to work with you to make sure your group gets everything you want from your summer volunteer abroad trip.
Where are the best summer volunteer abroad programs for 2018?
Remember that volunteering abroad during any season has its pros and cons, whether it’s rainy season (less crowds) or peak season (those warm summer rays)! To make your planning easy, we’ve outlined a few incredible summer service programs for 2018 that are a great starting point.
- Program fees start from only $365USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Costa Rica has an average temperature between 71°F and 81°F
- You have the opportunity to add a Costa Rica Mini Adventure to the start or end of your volunteer program
- Affordable Spanish language lessons are offered in country
Spending the 2018 summer as a volunteer in Costa Rica provides the perfect mix of assisting with community development projects and gaining a new perspective on another culture, while exploring the many adventures to be had in your new backyard. The wide array of summer volunteer projects also makes IVHQ’s Costa Rica program a popular option, as volunteers can opt to sign up for Teaching, Childcare, Construction and Renovation, Eco-Agriculture Conservation or Turtle Conservation projects, while medical and nursing students or professionals have the opportunity to join the Healthcare project in San Jose. Students looking to further their studies during the summer break can also gain university credit on IVHQ’s Spanish Service Learning course in Costa Rica.
Fill your free time in Costa Rica:
During weekends, you’ll have the opportunity to explore San Jose and travel further afield. You’re spoilt for choice with volcanoes, rainforests and beaches which are easily accessible from your volunteer accommodation. Opt for a city tour around San Jose or tackle the Pacuare River and go white water rafting! Monteverde, famous for its biodiverse cloud forests, is also packed with activities to fill a weekend, including hiking, zip lining and an array of delicious restaurants to sample.
- Program fees start from only $320USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- From May to September is the best time to visit Peru, as it is the dry season
- You have the option to add a 1-week Mini Adventure to the start or end of your volunteer program
- Students have the opportunity to gain university credit while volunteering in Cusco through the Spanish Service Learning Course
- Ten meaningful volunteer projects available in Cusco
Between 25 and 60 volunteers start on the volunteer program in Cusco each month, which means it’s perfect for those who want to make friends for life and volunteer with a diverse mix of people from a range of countries and cultures. Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and is situated in close proximity to the tourist mecca of Machu Picchu, so you’ll be able to tick that one off the bucket list. You’ll have a hard decision on your hands when it comes to choosing between the 10 meaningful projects available. Volunteers on the Andean Immersion project will find themselves off the beaten track, living like a local and experiencing a true adventure. Or volunteers can opt for the Jungle Conservation project and live and work in the dense Amazonian jungle, helping to protect endemic species and the incredible biodiversity. If you want to be based in the capital city of Peru, you can also sign up for our Peru - Lima program, which is our most affordable volunteer program with fees starting from $180 for 1 week.
Fill your free time in Peru:
No trip to Peru is complete without seeing Machu Picchu with your own eyes. It’ll leave you spellbound. It’s a 4.15 hour train ride from Cusco, or for the more adventurous, a 4-day hike along the Inca Trail will get you there. Further afield, you have the Peruvian Amazon, Lake Titicaca (South America’s largest lake), or Huacachina - a tiny picturesque oasis town in the desert to explore.
- Program fees start from only $315USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, breakfast, dinners and 24/7 in-country support
- Santa Elena has an average summer temperature of 79°F
- Best beaches in Ecuador in your backyard!
- Programs start every Monday which makes it easy to work in with your summer schedule
The Ecuador - Santa Elena program is based on the Pacific Coast and is close to some of Ecuador’s best beaches. The fusion of urban and rural makes for a vibrant community, paired with warm temperatures and blue skies, making it an awesome place to volunteer abroad. There are six project options to choose from including Environmental Education, Kindergarten, Sports Education, Community Development, School Break and Teaching English. Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house, creating a relaxed environment for volunteers to wind-down and plan weekend trips!
Fill your free time in Ecuador:
Volunteers give back on projects from Tuesday to Friday, meaning you’ll have long weekends to make the most of. So pack your bags and set out to explore the amazing national parks of Ecuador or Galapagos Islands. If you’re interested in art, culture and history, you can check out Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city. Make sure you also visit the coastal region of Salango for snorkeling, Silver Island, and the beautiful beaches of Los Frailes. Jungle excursions can be arranged to experience the nature and unique wildlife such as toucans, parrots and monkeys.
- Program fees start from only $685USD for 2 weeks. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Spain has an average summer temperature of 73°F
- Delicious Tapas at your doorstep!
- Affordable Spanish language lessons offered on the program
Volunteering in Europe is the perfect way to spend your summer, and Spain is a great base for volunteer travelers who are interested in incorporating a volunteer program with a Euro trip. Volunteering in Madrid, you can choose to join Teaching, After School Support or Special Needs Support projects. If you’re looking to get stuck into some hands-on physical work, you can can opt for the Agriculture project where you have the opportunity to support migrants with special needs to up-skill in gardening and farming techniques. Otherwise, consider the Creative Technologies project which is ideal for creative types looking to add their resume while giving back their skills!
Fill your free time in Spain:
If you’re looking for history, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty, then stop searching. You’ll find it all in Madrid with an abundance of historical sites, attractions and incredible tapas on offer! Plus an easy train trip will have you in Barcelona, Valencia or Granada in no time! This program guarantees your weekends will never be short of an adventure, so budget for some extra spending money.
- Program fees start from only $270USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Tanzania experiences hot, dry weather year-round
- The Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar are only a quick trip from the volunteer base in Arusha
With the Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar at your doorstep, Tanzania provides an exotic backdrop for international volunteers over the summer break. Those with high energy levels and a passion for working with young learners should consider the Childcare project, supporting local childcare centers in teaching children and contributing to regular day-to-day operations in the center. Teaching volunteers work in public schools, teaching a variety of subjects to local students while sharing your culture and stories. Keep in mind that schools in Tanzania go on holiday during June, so planning your summer break in July is best if you’re thinking of joining the Teaching project. Medical students and professionals can also join the Medical project, working in a variety of clinics and hospital settings, or supporting the personal and professional development of local women living with HIV/AIDS.
Fill your free time in Tanzania:
Your friends will have serious summer envy as have the chance to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro, take a safari through the Serengeti National Park, or resort to the beaches of Zanzibar. Wait until you arrive in Tanzania to make your weekend plans so that you can join other volunteers also wanting to visit these summer hotspots!
- Program fees start from only $340USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- The North American summer is a great time to visit with it being the dry season in Fiji
- Between 20 and 70 volunteers start in Fiji each month
- Three meaningful volunteer projects available in Fiji
You will learn the meaning of ‘island time’ when you volunteer in this Pacific nation. The people of Fiji have mastered a relaxed outlook on life and know that nothing is ever worth being stressed about. It’s a valuable life lesson that you’ll take with you and hopefully you’ll be a little more zen for it. With incredible natural scenery it’s understandable how this philosophy has developed. This archipelago boasts some of the best beaches in the world, balmy water, top surf breaks. However, the real reason that Fiji is a recommended summer program is without a doubt down to the Fijian people. They are incredibly friendly people and you’ll feel at home immediately as you immerse yourself in the culture and community on one of the meaningful projects. Fiji is the perfect summer abroad getaway. There is a wide range of volunteer abroad projects, including Teaching and Sports Education, Kindergarten and Construction and Renovation.
Fill your free time in Fiji:
With 333 beautiful islands, you’ll have plenty to explore in your free time. Volunteers can spend the weekends visiting Suva, or Colo-I-Suva, an oasis of lush rainforest, teeming with tropical plants and featuring 6.5km of walking trails to explore. It is also easy to head to the Coral Coast, which is a stretch of beaches and bays between Nadi and Suva. Along this coastline is the Pacific Harbor (approximately 2.5 hours from Suva), which is the self-proclaimed ‘Adventure Capital’ of Fiji.
- Program fees start from only $375USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Portugal has an average summer temperature of 73°F
- Europe travel opportunities on your doorstep!
- Affordable Portuguese language lessons offered
Unique projects with such a stunning coastal backdrop make volunteering in Portugal a popular choice during a summer break. The Food Rescue project gives volunteers the opportunity to join a successful community project aimed at recovering food in good condition from local restaurants and supermarkets, redistributing this to communities in need. Wolf Conservation volunteers assist in day-to-day running of a conservation center housing wolfs that arrive from zoos, illegal trapping or illegal captivity, and cannot be released back into the wild. And volunteers wanting to be near water during their summer break shouldn’t look past the Environmental Scuba Diving project. Otherwise, consider the Construction and Renovation, or Youth Support projects.
Fill your free time in Portugal:
The cuisine is to die for, as is the stunning natural beauty. Enough said.
- Program fees start from only $360USD for 2 weeks. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Cambodia is warm year-round
- Between 30 and 60 volunteers start in Cambodia each month
- Six meaningful projects in Cambodia
Right in the heart and heat of Asia, you’ll find a country with some of the friendliest communities you’ve ever come across! Be prepared to be swept up by the Khmer charm while experiencing Cambodia. Volunteers can be placed in the intriguing cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, or the Cambodian provinces of Pursat and Kampong Speu. With so many project options to choose from it’s the perfect destination for everyone. You can opt for Teaching English, Special Needs Care, Childcare, Computer Support, Working with NGOs and Medical.
Fill your free time in Cambodia:
Making the most of your free time isn’t going to cost you the earth - whether you’re sampling the Khmer cuisine, exploring the local markets or catching a tuk-tuk around the city center. Cambodia has a deep and varied offering for travelers - whether you are interested in learning about the somber history of the country, exploring the ancient temple complexes, or seeing the striking natural landscapes - it is a country that has it all.
- Program fees start from only $285USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Being close to the equator, Sri Lanka is great to visit year-round
- Between 10 and 40 volunteers start in Sri Lanka each month
- Eight meaningful projects in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is the ultimate summer break destination, with an abundance of wildlife, national parks, beaches, historical sites and no shortage of tourism activities. The people are friendly, traveling around is easy, the food is tasty and it’s incredibly affordable making it great for solo-travelers. Volunteers are either located in the sacred city of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, or within the Wasgamuwa National Park. Volunteers can choose from Teaching English local monks, Special Needs Care, Rural Community Development, Childcare, Medical, Elderly Care, Temple Renovation and working within a Wild Elephant corridor in the highlands.
Fill your free time in Sri Lanka:
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Kandy and Sri Lanka. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations, such as Colombo, Galle or even Southern India.
- Program fees start from only $250USD for 1 week on the South Africa program, or $265 for 1 week on the South Africa - Table View program. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Two programs to choose from - with both programs located in Cape Town, you can pick between the program based in Muizenberg or the program based in Table View. Check out this comparison article to learn program is right for you!
- Between 20 and 50 volunteers start in South Africa each month
- Opportunities for weekend safaris, surfing and winery tours
There’s a reason South Africa is one of IVHQ’s most popular destinations! You’re given the opportunity to really immerse yourself in the community and provide valuable assistance in local schools around Cape Town on the Teaching, Sports Development and Computer Training projects. You might prefer lending a helping hand at a local childcare center, or tackling one of IVHQ’s most unique experiences on the Surf Outreach project. If you choose to volunteer on the South Africa - Table View program, you’ll have a wide range of volunteer abroad projects to choose from, including Surf, Skate & Swim, Kindergarten, Sport Development and Special Needs Care. Add to this the fact that South Africa is one of the 17 most megadiverse destinations in the world, and you’ve got plenty of reasons why traveling to and volunteering in South Africa should be an easy choice.
Fill your free time in South Africa:
You’ll be living and working in an area renowned for its cafe culture and vibrant nightlife, and you’ll have the iconic Table Mountain on your doorstep. Plus the beach is so close to the volunteer accommodation that a day in the sand is a go-to option for volunteers. And it goes without saying that it wouldn’t be a trip to Africa without a weekend safari!
- Program fees start from only $295USD for 1 week. Fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- The pleasant weather in May, June and July generally make these months the best time to travel to Bali
- Between 40 and 80 volunteers start in Bali each month
- Two program options: You can join the Bali - Ubud program or the Bali - Lovina program
- A special 1-week volunteer program is available
If you want an action-packed volunteer experience, or to have enough time to stop and enjoy the pristine beaches - Bali will work! If you are coming alone or bringing your entire squad - Bali is a fit! With plenty of locations, program options, cascading rice paddies, lush scenery and a bounty of activities - what’s not to love about Bali. You can choose to volunteer in Ubud, or on the island of Nusa Penida for the Turtle Conservation project. We and also in Lovina a coastal village on the northern side of the island. This slow-paced beachside town is located on the northern coastline of Bali and is the perfect place for volunteers who want to unwind while making a positive impact in the local community.
Fill your free time in Bali:
With an array of white sand beaches and weekend activities, such as a sunrise climb of Mount Batur or island hopping to Lombok, Bali will keep you busy. You will never be bored… or alone! With 50+ volunteers joining the IVHQ Bali volunteer program each month, you will never be short of friends or epic adventures.
If you still don’t know which summer volunteer program is best suited to you in 2018, try taking our interactive quiz to find the perfect program.!
Or for more in-depth information about our volunteer abroad opportunities, browse our full range of affordable volunteer abroad programs.