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How To Volunteer Abroad As A Nurse


How to volunteer abroad as a Nurse

Nursing volunteers are high in universal demand, particularly in developing countries, where the need is great and the appreciation for international expertise is even greater. International Volunteer HQ offers nursing volunteer abroad programs for both student nurse volunteers and registered nurses, allowing you the opportunity to provide assistance within understaffed hospitals and clinics, while engaging in a cross-cultural exchange and gaining invaluable nursing abroad experience unobtainable from a lecture hall.

When joining a nursing abroad program with IVHQ, you will always be in the company of like-minded nursing students and professionals from around the world, and our in-country team will ensure that you are well supported throughout your international nursing placement. If you’re looking to organize a group of volunteer nurses to travel abroad with you, we make that easy to arrange also! With nursing volunteer opportunities abroad available in 15 destinations, keep reading to discover how to volunteer abroad as a nurse with International Volunteer HQ in 2024.

What are the requirements to volunteer as a nurse abroad?

International Volunteer HQ offers affordable nursing student volunteer opportunities abroad, as well as registered nurse volunteer abroad programs. If you’re an aspiring healthcare professional, we also offer nursing volunteer opportunities abroad for pre nursing and pre med students.

What nursing student volunteer opportunities abroad are available?

With IVHQ, you can volunteer as a pre nursing student or nursing student at any point in your studies and gain medical experience in a variety of settings on our medical and healthcare volunteer projects in Argentina (Buenos Aires or Cordoba), Costa Rica, Guatemala, India (Delhi), Vietnam, Tanzania, Bali, Zambia and Peru (Cusco).

On these projects, nursing and medical students can expect to support a range of tasks, working across a variety of healthcare settings. This can include providing basic patient care, taking vitals, dressing wounds, triage nursing, and helping to prepare medical equipment. There are also opportunities to observe local doctors and nurses in operating rooms, as well as shadow their daily routines.

Nursing volunteer opportunities abroad for pre-nursing and nursing students

IVHQ Program Pre Nursing Nursing Student
Argentina Yes Yes
Costa Rica Yes Yes
Guatemala Yes Yes
Peru - Cusco Yes Yes
Peru - Lima No Yes
India - Delhi Yes Yes
India - Kerala No Yes
Nepal No 3rd Year +
Sri Lanka No No
Vietnam Yes Yes
Ghana No 3rd Year +
Tanzania No 3rd Year +
Zambia No 3rd Year +

As nursing students, we learned so much with the projects! It’s unbelievable that as a group we helped over 1,000 Peruvians. The project was more than I could have ever imagined! I came back a more confident nursing student because of the IVHQ program. Rebecca Sackman (IVHQ Nursing Volunteer)

Volunteer abroad nurse in Peru with IVHQ

What nursing abroad programs are available in specialist fields?

Volunteers who are registered nurses or qualified doctors, as well as students who have completed their second year of nursing or medical school, are eligible to join IVHQ in Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India (Delhi and Kerala), Vietnam, Nepal, Ghana, Tanzania, Bali, Peru (Lima and Cusco) and Zambia.

The areas of speciality available include pediatrics, midwifery, gynecology, orthopedics, speech therapy, dentistry, paramedics, emergency medicine, nutrition, public health, radiology and HIV/AIDS support. If you’re seeking international nursing experience in a specialized field, you can contact an IVHQ Volunteer Travel Expert at IVHQ to help select a nursing volunteer project that aligns with your area of expertise.

Examples of student and registered nurse volunteer abroad programs with IVHQ include:

The scope of volunteer work depends on each volunteer’s specific experience and qualification levels, and you will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and cross-cultural learnings with local healthcare professionals, as well as other international volunteers.

What are the benefits of volunteer nursing abroad?

Both students and professional nursing volunteers appreciate the invaluable first-hand experience and cross-cultural exchange that they gain while assisting local doctors and nurses at their placements abroad. With nursing placements in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, IVHQ gives you the opportunity to volunteer across a range of healthcare settings and the chance explore your career path further, while gaining a greater understanding of where your professional passions lie. In addition to hospitals and medical clinics, IVHQ nursing volunteers have the opportunity to work within special education schools, elderly homes, and centers for those living with HIV/AIDS. Wherever you are volunteering, you can feel confident that these placements share a genuine need for nursing assistance and offer invaluable hands-on experience for nursing volunteers looking to expand their global medical perspective and develop their skill sets. While volunteering abroad offers an important learning experience for nursing students and professionals, the healthcare knowledge and experience that volunteers can share with their placements is equally valuable.

The staff at the clinic were very welcoming and definitely appreciated our help. In seeing the differences in healthcare around the world, it was really an enlightening experience. Delaney King (IVHQ Nursing Volunteer)

Volunteer Nurse in Nepal with IVHQ

How long can nurses volunteer abroad for?

IVHQ runs volunteer programs year-round and you can choose to volunteer abroad for durations ranging from 2 weeks to 24 weeks, so it’s easy to coordinate a volunteer trip that works with your schedule.

Why be a volunteer nurse abroad with IVHQ?

We know that organizing a nursing placement overseas yourself isn’t easy or cheap. That’s why hundreds of nursing students turn to International Volunteer HQ to do all the organizing. IVHQ offers all-inclusive nursing placement opportunities that are budget-friendly and can be customized to suit your unique skills and experience, with program fees starting as low as $180 for 1 week.

With more than 16 years of experience in hosting volunteer nurses overseas, IVHQ specializes in taking care of all your pre-departure and in-country arrangements. We connect you with a nursing placement that meets your unique requirements and qualifications, while offering you a rewarding travel experience, as you are immersed in the local culture and community. We also arrange your airport pick-up, accommodation, meals and orientation, and provide you with access to 24/7 in-country support to ensure you’re all set for your nursing abroad experience. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn about nursing in a global context while experiencing new cultures, healthcare systems, technologies and observing different conditions, you’ll be living and working alongside other international volunteers, and have the opportunity to travel with them during your free time.

How do I apply for a nurse volunteer abroad program?

  • Browse our nursing volunteer opportunities and choose a destination and the project you wish to volunteer on, as well as the dates you wish to volunteer.
  • Complete with the details of your chosen program and dates. You will then receive an email confirming that IVHQ has received your application. Within 48 hours (2 working days), you will receive an email from your IVHQ Program Manager acknowledging your application and confirming the destination, project and dates of your volunteer program. In this email, you will receive instructions on how to pay the Registration Fee in order to confirm your booking with IVHQ.
  • Log in to your MyIVHQ account to pay your Registration Fee. As soon as your Registration Fee has been received by IVHQ, you will be provided with all the information and support you need to prepare for your upcoming volunteer program. Your IVHQ Program Manager will be your point of contact throughout your preparations up until you finish your volunteer program.


How can I join a medical campaign with IVHQ?

As well as the nursing volunteer opportunities mentioned above, IVHQ also supports Medical Volunteer Campaigns for groups of nursing students or professionals. Volunteers joining medical campaigns are given the opportunity to collaborate with our in-country teams to run campaigns from Monday through to Friday, with weekends and evenings free for exploration, cultural activities, and adventures like zip-lining through the cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica, or setting off on safari in Tanzania. The possibilities are limitless and the volunteer work is mutually rewarding.

IVHQ recently hosted a student nurse volunteer abroad group from Florida in Guatemala who were involved in a week-long medical campaign, introducing basic nutrition and hygiene to local communities in Antigua. The student nursing group were involved in setting up stations for washing hands, taking vitamins, brushing teeth, and providing check-ups with the support of a local doctor. During the campaign, the nursing students visited a variety of locations throughout Antigua, providing healthcare to childcare centers, HIV/AIDS support centers, and elderly care homes.

Our project was a perfect integration of basic sciences and clinical medicine, and it also allowed for the group to see preventative and diagnostic medicine. It was exactly what we were looking for as 1st/2nd year medical students. The hands on experiences that we were able to participate in are priceless and will be held dear to everyone on the trip. Madison Bangert (American University of the Caribbean, School of Medicine: Latino Medical Student Association)

A nursing volunteer abroad in Tanzania with IVHQ

How can I volunteer with a group of my nursing friends?

We are proud to have hosted a large number of university volunteer groups over the past 16 years, and we have a specialized IVHQ Groups Team who provide interested group leaders with all the information and support they need to register for one of our volunteer programs. For groups of over 10 or more members, we can also help you in building a customized group itinerary, or organized a medical campaign for you to support. We’ll guide you and your group through the application process, from start to finish, and ensure that you and your group are prepared for your volunteer trip. Learn more about group volunteer opportunities here, or contact our Groups Manager, Jess, ( to chat about your group trip plans.

We encourage prospective nursing and medical students to consider the possibilities and take a chance to expand their horizons in healthcare and world travel!

All IVHQ programs are open and hosting volunteers

All IVHQ programs are open and hosting volunteers

You can make free changes to your booking up to 14 days before you start, and we have additional health and safety measures in place.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!