Teen & High School Volunteer Abroad
There’s no need to wait ‘til you’re 18 to volunteer abroad! International Volunteer HQ specialises in offering safe and affordable volunteer opportunities for high school students and teens in more than 17 destinations around the globe.
Volunteering for teens is an educational, mind-opening and life-enriching travel experience. Since 2007, IVHQ has supported thousands of high school students to volunteer in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, North America, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. We also organise a range of volunteer trips for high school groups.
Almost 20% of IVHQ volunteers are teenagers, so we know a thing or two about providing budget-friendly, safe and hassle-free volunteer travel experiences for young explorers. Find your calling below!
- Why do high school volunteering abroad with IVHQ?
- What do past high school volunteers say about their experiences?
- Find the best high school volunteer program for you
- Volunteer programs for high school groups
- Service and mission trips for teens
- Summer volunteer programs for teens
- Volunteer programs in Africa for high school students
- Cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students
- Online volunteer opportunities for high school students
- Best teen and high school volunteer opportunities
- How to volunteer as a teenager overseas
- FAQs for you and your parents
Whether you’re looking for community service trips for high school students or summer volunteer programs for teens, IVHQ’s high school volunteer programs offer safe, culturally immersive and impactful trips year-round, from 1 week to 24 weeks.
High school volunteers between the ages of 16-17 can travel independently on 17 IVHQ programs, including Portugal, Tanzania, Peru, Costa Rica and more. Teen volunteers on these projects work alongside volunteers of all ages.
So what are you waiting for? Jump right in and explore our best teen and high school volunteer abroad options below!
What do past high school volunteers say about their experiences?
It is hard to pick just one favourite moment from the volunteer experience because everything impacted me in some way! The guidance and preparation resources I received from IVHQ were very helpful and my emails were responded to quickly. The children and the amazing local team had the biggest impact on me along with meeting other people volunteering abroad. What I would say to someone still hesitant about volunteering abroad is, to just go for it - you won’t regret it! Ethan Chisholm, 16 years
(Rainforest and Coastal Conservation project in Zanzibar)
My accommodation was amazing as I was able to build a great relationship with my host family. The meals they provided for me were amazing. I would tell future volunteers to just do it because it was the best experience ever and they will meet so many people and they definitely won’t regret it. Faith Hockley, 17 years
(Childcare project Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
My best moments from the volunteer experience was the spontaneous moments I had with the new friends we made there. The impact my volunteering trip had on me was the exploring of a new culture and the knowledge and respect I took with me from Bali. My advice for future volunteers is just do it! It will be an unforgettable experience! Laurie Ferreira, 17 years
(Turtle Conservation project in Bali)
My highlight moment from the volunteer experience was seeing how other people live in the world and seeing how I can make a difference in someone’s life. I learned how to adapt to new environments and learned so much from the people and surroundings. When volunteering with the kids and the school it opened my eyes to real world issues. Phoebe Pierce, 17 years
(Childcare project in Fiji)
Find the best high school volunteer program for you:
Volunteer programs for high school student groups
IVHQ’s volunteer trips for high school student groups enable teenagers to give back as a school group on projects that align with an area of study. Our team of volunteer travel experts create customized group options for high schools from across the globe.
Most high school student groups are chaperoned by teachers, staff and parents. IVHQ’s volunteer programs require a ratio of one adult or guardian to every 8 students. Groups with this ratio can choose from 40+ volunteer countries. High school students travelling as a group without a guardian can choose from 17 destinations worldwide.
Service and mission trips for teens
Looking for mission trips for high school students? IVHQ offers a wide-range of high school service abroad programs, which enable under 18s to give back to important community initiatives while immersing themselves in a different culture.
Whether you’re seeking non-religious mission trips or meaningful service trips for teens, choose from 17 beautiful destinations worldwide. Mission trip volunteer work includes teaching abroad, childcare, construction, community development, animal care, conservation and much more.
Summer volunteer programs for teens
Want to do something incredible during summer break? IVHQ offers summer volunteer programs for high school students abroad across 17 magical destinations. Summer is a popular time of year to volunteer abroad as a teenager, so you’re sure to meet plenty of like minded people!
An awesome choice for 16 and 17 year old solo volunteers is our Teen Volunteer Summer Camp in Costa Rica. During the month of July, teen volunteers are able to take part in community volunteering, cultural activities, sports, Spanish language lessons, and tourism activities for 1 - 3 weeks, and are fully chaperoned!
Let’s make this a summer to remember by giving back to the people and places that need it most. You could even earn academic credit in your summer before starting university, to give you a head-start!
Volunteer programs in Africa for high school students
Dreaming of teen volunteering in Africa? From Women’s Education and Childcare to Rainforest Conservation, IVHQ’s Africa volunteer programs for teens are a unique way to explore this beautiful continent and gain an authentic taste of the culture, while supporting local community and conservation efforts.
Whether you want to volunteer in Africa as a high school student group or volunteer and go on safari, IVHQ has plenty of awesome project options for teens in Tanzania and Zanzibar. You can also add one of our recommended activities and tours onto your volunteer trip, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, visiting the Maasai tribe or going on safari!
Cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students
High school volunteering abroad as a teen doesn’t have to break the bank! IVHQ’s volunteer programs are fully hosted, meaning that your Program Fee includes accommodation, meals, airport pickup, 24/7 in-country support, orientation and more! Everything is organized for you, making this a super easy and affordable way to take a volunteer vacation.
Teens can choose from 17 affordable volunteer programs in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Program Fees start from just US$20 (approximately AU$31) per day including accommodation - check out some of our most affordable options below.
Online volunteer opportunities for high school students
Not looking to go abroad but want to make a difference from home? As a division of IVHQ, Intern Abroad HQ offers a diverse range of impact driven online internships for teens. This is a unique opportunity to volunteer virtually and make a positive impact from your laptop, while gaining international career experience and boosting your skills.
Intern Abroad HQ’s online programs for high school students include Marine Conservation, Creative Design, Marketing, Business, Microfinance, Social Work, NGO Support, Human Rights, Sustainable Farming and much more!
Best teen & high school volunteer opportunities abroad
Volunteers aged 16-17 can participate in teen programs independently in the following destinations:
How to volunteer as a teenager overseas
Applying to volunteer as a teenager is simple! Once you have decided where to volunteer and which project you would like to join, you can apply online. It’s free, only takes a few minutes and there is no commitment needed at this stage. Our team of Volunteer Travel Specialists will then guide you through the next steps to secure your spot and start preparing for your trip.
Teen volunteers are required to provide IVHQ with parental/guardian consent and two satisfactory character references in order to participate. You may also be asked to provide further documentation to the local team depending on your chosen destination.
Check out our helpful FAQ section below for you and your parents to understand why IVHQ offers the most trusted teen and high school volunteer abroad programs.
There are a number of ways you can volunteer with IVHQ depending on your age:
Under 16: You’re able to volunteer as part of a group (for example, a group of students from your high school, with your family or friends) on certain IVHQ programs. You must have parental/guardian consent and be accompanied on the program by a designated guardian over the age of 18. Contact us to find out more.
16 & 17 years old: You can join one of our teen volunteer abroad programs independently with parental consent and two satisfactory character references. You can choose from volunteer projects in more than 17 destinations and will receive 24/7 support from the local team, but not full time supervision.
IVHQ places thousands of young volunteers around the world each year and we are committed to ensuring teen and high school volunteer programs are safe, reliable and responsible. We do this by providing the following support and services in each destination:
IVHQ Local Teams: IVHQ partners with local volunteer organisations in each program location. Our local teams are responsible for providing 24/7 support to volunteers throughout the duration of their volunteer program. IVHQ has a careful selection process in choosing our local teams and every program that IVHQ offers has been personally inspected and approved by IVHQ staff. We have experienced the programs first-hand, vetted the local teams and provided comprehensive IVHQ program management training. Our local teams are well equipped to provide effective volunteer programs and take care of you in-country.
Airport pick-ups: Our local teams meet our volunteers as soon as they arrive. If arriving by plane, the local team will pick you up from the airport. If a flight is delayed, they’ll be there to collect you when you land. If arriving overland (for example, if you plan to travel in the country before your volunteer program starts), our local team will make alternate arrangements for your pick-up so they can meet you.
Volunteer accommodation: Teen volunteers are accommodated with other volunteers in a safe community near their volunteer placements. Our accommodation providers have been hosting international guests for many, many years and are well versed in hosting visitors who are new to the country. You can be sure that you and your dietary requirements will be well looked after. Plus, our placements and accommodation locations are continually monitored by our staff to ensure our volunteers are happy and comfortable.
24/7 support: When you apply to volunteer abroad with IVHQ, you’ll be connected with a dedicated Program Manager. They’re experts when it comes to volunteering abroad and will help you prepare for your volunteer abroad journey. Once you arrive at your volunteering destination, you’ll be met by the local team, who are on hand 24/7 to provide assistance on any matter, from making the most of your volunteer project to tips on how to spend your free time.
We understand there are a lot of questions that parents and guardians have when it comes to sending their children abroad. From pre-departure checklists to in-country specifics, we’ve thought out every aspect of our teen and high school volunteer programs.
To start, we recommend you read our volunteer abroad information for parents. This guide aims to provide you with a base understanding of what makes IVHQ the most trusted volunteer provider. Our experienced Program Managers are here to provide you with any additional support and answers to any questions you have once your teen has applied for a volunteer program or package.
We have tailored our teen and high school volunteer programs to provide options that are best suited for young volunteers.
If you need further clarification on these options, head to the web page for your chosen destination and go to the U18 section for confirmation. We are also happy to help with any questions you have!
For under 18 travellers, the guardian consent form is one of the most important pre-departure checklist items you need to complete before you depart. If you’re under 18, we require written consent from your parent(s) or guardian(s) and two satisfactory character references.
These forms are legal confirmation that you can travel with IVHQ as a minor. They are non-negotiable for participation. Your Program Manager is happy to support you through the process of obtaining these once you have applied and registered with IVHQ.
As part of all IVHQ programs, a local team member can pick you up whether you arrive via plane or public/private transport. This information is confirmed and secured via your MyIVHQ account once you’ve registered for the program.
There are two different options for support on our teen and high school volunteer programs:
Take part in one of our teen volunteer programs (16 - 17 year olds) and get guardian consent to volunteer independently. Our team of local coordinators provide 24/7 on-call support throughout your program and will check in with you periodically.
Take part in a standard IVHQ program, accompanied by a designated guardian who is at least 18 years old. This guardian can be a friend, family member or teacher, but it must be someone known to you and your parent or guardian must provide consent for you to volunteer on the program with them.
More than half of all IVHQ volunteers are aged between 18 - 24, so there’s a strong chance of having at least some fellow volunteers of a similar age as you. Depending on the program you volunteer on, there is also a high chance of having other under-18 volunteers on the program with you.