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Volunteer Abroad Programs 2016

Discover IVHQ's Top Volunteer Programs in 2016

Interested in volunteering abroad in 2016? You’re not alone! Having hosted over 55,000 international volunteers on our affordable programs around the world, we know that it can be tricky to pick a destination when you have over 30 options to choose from. To help you out, we’re sharing some of our team’s recommendations for volunteer abroad programs in 2016.


“The Argentina program offers a wonderful cultural exchange. Based near to Córdoba city, volunteers stay together family-style in a large volunteer house, where they are well cared for by a very friendly and attentive team. The program is suited to volunteers who are looking for more Spanish immersion, or who are willing to take advantage of the Spanish language lessons (and even tango classes!). The projects call for participants who are ready to take the initiative, as the emphasis is on adding value, companionship, and support to the ongoing activities. The vibe is easy-going and you will quickly find that attitude is much more important than talent. In their free time, volunteers enjoy exploring the numerous plazas, where local musicians can be heard and artisans display their work, or may venture further afield into Córdoba city or even Buenos Aires for a long weekend. Our Argentina program offers start dates on every Monday of the month.” - Dallas Boyd (IVHQ Latin America Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Argentina

The local team made my stay in Argentina unforgettable and they were always more than happy to help. I feel like we helped make a difference in both schools that we had construction projects on, not only for what we built but also by being able to interact with the teachers and students, they were so interested in hearing about our countries. This program has changed my whole outlook on many things and I feel like I have changed for the better. Cara Gray


“As the base for the upcoming Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro is a stand-out hot spot for travelers in 2016. IVHQ’s Rio-based program offers volunteers the opportunity to contribute to important community projects while being immersed in the vibrant Brazilian culture which will play host to the Games. This program is ideal for sociable volunteers with high energy levels, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to learn. As an IVHQer in Brazil, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to projects including Teaching English, Community Development, Childcare, Sports Development, or our Carnaval project, where you’ll support local Samba schools in the preparations for the world-famous Carnaval festival. Upskilling in Portuguese won’t be a problem in Rio with affordable language lessons available to work around your volunteer week. And save your weekends for a trip to Christ the Redeemer and Iguazu Falls, or get amongst the bustling city scene at a local football match, or one of Rio’s iconic beaches.” - Ellen Varoy (IVHQ Head of Communications)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Brazil

I really enjoyed my volunteering experience in Rio. Zac and Vivi were always super kind and helpful, which made us feel comfortable right from the beginning. There were many things I wouldn’t be able to see or experience if not volunteering (playing football with a team of blind athletes or with the kids in a favela, seeing the Carnival costumes and floats being built, surfing with the kids from Rocinha, etc.). Strongly recommend it. Hugo Penedones


“The land of smiles is still smiling! The go-to destination in South East Asia in 2016, in my opinion, is without a doubt, Cambodia. The range of project locations on the IVHQ Cambodia program allows all volunteers easy access to the story that Cambodia has to tell. Volunteers often take a bit of time out from the many projects on offer to immerse themselves in a wide range of tourist sites. The rich and troubled history becomes very apparent through a range of historic temples and museums; while the beautiful culture can be seen through the everyday lives of the locals. Do not pass up an opportunity to visit some of the rural provinces! Here you will find the natural beauty of the landscape and the people is like nowhere else! One of the biggest advantages of Cambodia is the cost. Once you arrive, travel and daily expenses are very affordable and while the main currency is considered as the Cambodian Riel, USD is accepted everywhere and can be withdrawn from most ATMs - meaning no exchange costs and an easy understanding of what you are spending, especially for our US volunteers! The project options in Cambodia mean that it is the perfect destination for everyone! The projects include Teaching English, Working with NGOs, Childcare and Computer Support. Another reason to volunteer in Cambodia is that its people are considered some of the happiest on earth, and will welcome you with open arms.” - Will Rowland (IVHQ Asia Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Cambodia

I would highly recommend Cambodia as a destination to everyone not only because of the amazing things to see there but because the locals are so friendly and have a love for life which is both aspiring and life changing. Tahlia Swartz


“Colombia as an IVHQ destination offers two exciting locations to volunteer in, both extremely different but equally remarkable. Volunteers can choose between Bogota and Cartagena. Bogota, Colombia’s capital city, suits our volunteers who enjoy big city life, historic architecture, museums and nightlife. La Candelaria is a must visit for those curious about architecture and street art. It is a historic district in Bogota where the streets are filled with colourful buildings and graffiti art. The best way to take in the sights of Bogota is on foot. Cartagena is perfect for our volunteers who enjoy a laid back coastal environment with a warmer climate. The white sand, turquoise water beaches in Cartagena provide our volunteers with an idyllic place to spend their spare time. The streets are lined with bright flowers, tropical fruit and carts of street food. This sets the scene for a relaxed yet vibrant experience. Volunteers on our Colombia programs can choose from a variety of projects including, Teaching, Feeding the Homeless, Elderly Care, Childcare, Construction and Renovation, Sports Development and Community. No matter which Colombia destination our volunteers choose, they will be guaranteed a unique and unforgettable experience.” - Clover Stiles (IVHQ Latin America Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Colombia

I feel that I’ve grown a lot during this stay in Colombia. I went through many different situations, I learned what it means to really help and to put your love in what you do, I met many local people, I could get to know their culture and I had opportunity to travel a lot with new friends from around the world. This was a life changing experience. Paulina Kania


“Delhi is an area of India that is just as fascinating as the movies and stories you would have seen and read about! Whether you are an intrepid traveler or just wanting a full cultural immersion program, Delhi is the location for you. With projects ranging from medical placements open to pre-med students, to teaching English in slum schools, to living in a homestay with a local family - India offers an unique opportunity to contribute your skills while gaining an authentic cultural experience. The optional orientation week also gives first-time travelers to India the chance to learn more about the Indian culture, undertake language lessons, watch a Bollywood movie in a local theatre, and visit the ever-famous Taj Mahal! Delhi is an extensive city that contains a staggering amount of history, culture, food, temples, and everything else you could possibly imagine!” - Kirsty Jamieson (IVHQ Asia Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - India

My volunteering experience was fantastic. I got to live with a local family and eat what they usually do, which was delicious. I got to live in a local neighbourhood in which I was pretty much the only foreigner. The cultural immersion program was delightful. In terms of my project, it was exactly what I wanted and expected. I was able to teach English to kids that need it so much in order to become professionals or seek a better life than the one they have as of today. The teachers at the school were very welcoming, always helping us when we needed them in the class. Monica Godoy


“Kenya is a fantastic destination for volunteering and offers an experience volunteers will not regret. From stirring landscapes to amazing wildlife and a culture enriched in tradition, Kenya is one location you MUST visit. Volunteers on our Kenya program can choose from a wide range of projects including Teaching, Childcare, Special Needs Care, Sports Education, Women’s Education and Music. These projects are based in a range of rural and urban areas around Nairobi, however if you want a more grassroots cultural experience, I would recommend the Maasai - Teaching project, or if you’re looking to volunteer in close proximity to magnificent coastlines and sensation beaches, then you may want to volunteer on our Teaching or Childcare projects in Mombassa. Kenya - a microcosm of Africa, has over 50 breathtaking national parks, including the world renowned Maasai Mara, which is home to the Big 5 of the animal kingdom and an attraction on many travelers’ bucket lists. If this doesn’t tickle your fancy during your free time, then Kenya is also home to fascinating food, Mount Kenya, and the rich Maasai culture. Kenya is the perfect program for any volunteer to make a meaningful contribution to a wonderful destination and I can’t recommend it enough.” - William McBride (IVHQ Africa Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Kenya

My first experience living and working in another country was fully satisfied through IVHQ. My host mom, fellow volunteers and local staff made the transition very easy and accommodating. I was nervous because unless you know someone who has personally been through the program, it can be nerve racking to take a chance on an organization, but without hesitation I would recommend IVHQ for first timers abroad as well as people who are very experienced looking for an easy means with the best Kenyans around. Myranda Laursen


“Based in Merida, the Mexico program draws volunteers from all around the world who are looking for longer travel and tour opportunities in the Yucatan area, or those looking for average daily temperatures above 20°C. As the capital of the Yucatan peninsula and the cultural crossroads of the region, Merida is not only the starting point of a series of adventure and journeys into Yucatan and its archaeological treasures, but a thriving tourist town with plenty of cheap eats, bustling markets, music, dance, peaceful streets and parks. Meridians are proud of their city and its beautiful architecture, inspiring cuisine and its respect for tradition. Our Mexico volunteer program offers a small, safe community setting with a wide range of volunteer work available, from Teaching English to Environmental Research. This program is great for those who have an existing understanding of Spanish, however the program also offers a great language course for those looking to improve their local language ability. Volunteers who like to escape the hustle and bustle of bigger cities while still experiencing traditional culture will find the Mexico program fulfilling, yet laid back. Volunteers on this program should expect a slower pace of living while enjoying the incredible moments of volunteering in a community that is in much need of support. During your stay in Mexico, you will be accommodated in a quiet suburb, spending your free time and weekends relaxing pool-side, taking additional Spanish lessons, exploring the Mayan ruins, swimming in the cenotes and limestone sink holes, or taking a bike ride into town to grab a taste of the local street-eats. This accommodation has the best of both worlds with a large volunteer accommodation complex situated on the grounds of the local family who will guide you through your volunteer experience. However, those seeking a full immersion into the Mayan culture can also experience a different style of living on one of three Maya Agricultural farms.” - Hannah Hill-Parker (IVHQ Latin America Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Mexico

I had such an amazing time and met some incredible people and I would do it all over again and for longer. The volunteer house was perfect the placement was good. I feel like I have grown so much and want to do so much more with my life. I had so many great moments, I would have to say best was working at the placements, meeting new people every 2 weeks and the cenotes. Jade Grewal


“Steeped in history and traditions, natural beauty, incredible food and culture - Morocco has it all! Our Morocco volunteer program offers placements in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca and personally, I just love strolling through the bustling, old medina’s of these great cities. Your free time over the weekend (or long weekend) can take you to amazing places including Fez, Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains, camel trekking in the Sahara Desert, or even a little trip up to Spain! Our Morocco program is ideal for volunteers seeking cultural immersion; volunteers are accommodated in a local home stay and Moroccan families are some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet. Sharing meals with the family in their home, often circling a tajine, is an awesome experience and the food is some of the most flavorsome that I have ever tried. Volunteers who don’t speak Arabic or French (myself included) will find a significant language barrier in both their placements and homestays, however part of the experience is finding interesting ways to overcome this barrier to still effectively communicate with the locals. There is a diverse and rewarding range of projects on offer in Morocco, including Teaching English, Teaching French, Childcare, Women’s Education, Sports Development and a special Ramadan project during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.” - Jamie-lee Reynolds (IVHQ Global Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Morocco

The Ramadan Program was an unbelievable experience. It gave me a chance to learn a lot about a culture I thought I knew about but now, realize how much more I learned having spent time in Morocco. Although being there during Ramadan was not easy, I recommend it to anyone. I feel like I did not only volunteer, but that in a way I became Moroccan for two weeks. Volunteering was incredible. The children were so happy to have us there teaching them English and were very excited to learn a new language. I could not have asked for a better experience.” Clara Simon


“When thinking about traveling in Peru, Lima often gets overlooked, but this city can certainly hold its own! Lima is home to a sophisticated civilization, dating back million of years, combined with a lively art scene, making this an ideal destination for volunteers wanting to sample a unique area of South America. The IVHQ Peru - Lima program offers a range of projects suitable for the first-time volunteer traveler, through to those with a little more experience. All of the projects are heavily community-driven and volunteers can help with Teaching English, Construction and Renovation, Medical and Special Needs/Childcare. The program staff are hugely passionate about their work and volunteers are encouraged to get stuck in wherever they’re needed, yet still have time to get active in their spare time and explore the area and culture. Not only is the program awesome, Lima also has some of the best cuisine in South America and it is not something you want to miss out on!” - Katie Brayne (IVHQ Groups Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Peru

I wanted to teach and I had an incredible experience doing so. My favourite moment was the last day of school and how appreciated we felt by the students, staff, and director of the school. Also every single day that we were teaching felt rewarding and positive. The food was so delicious everyday and it was great having local and traditional cuisine Alta Madeira


“A majestic country full of castles, breath-taking natural beauty and a rich history - Romania offers a unique travel experience for our volunteers. Our program is based in the renowned Transylvania region of Romania. Hosted by locals, volunteers are given the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the Romanian-Hungarian culture while assisting the local community in Teaching, Special Needs Care or Childcare. Weekend activities in Transylvania are endless. Idle through the cobblestone streets of picturesque villages, get lost in the history with a tour of a medieval castle or hike through ancient untouched forests. For the more adventurous, there is great biking, kayaking, climbing, trekking, rafting and skiing (in winter months) on offer. Bottom Line = Volunteer in Romania! The locals are welcoming, the food is delicious and a bonus is that Romania is a cheap volunteer travel option(compared to the rest of Europe it is an incredibly economical choice).” - Catherine Heads (IVHQ Administration Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Romania

This volunteer experience in Romania was my first abroad volunteer experience and I hope it is not my last. This trip inspired me to continue volunteering and made me fall in love with travel, culture, and meeting new people. Everyone in Romania was so welcoming and friendly and I have to go back one day to visit the many friends that I made there. I had a home stay with two other girls and they contributed to my very positive experience. Meeting the people there that I did and working with the local team in Miercurea Ciuc was very inspiring and makes me so excited for my next trip.” Cristina Serban


“From a visit to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a Mekong Delta boat ride, a weekend to the world renowned beaches of Phu Quoc Island, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam has a lot to offer as a volunteer travel destination! As an IVHQ volunteer, you will have the chance to experience the culture, history, incredible food, characteristic scenery of this wonderful country, and will be sure to make incredible memories! Your enthusiasm and caring nature will be well rewarded here on our Teaching English, Special Needs/Childcare, Medical or Feeding the Homeless projects. This is the ideal destination for volunteers looking to join a program with a good mix of work and play. If you are looking for a different travel experience, then our Ho Chi Minh volunteer program is perfectly suited to you!” - Chloe Le Grand (IVHQ Asia Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Vietnam

My favorite moments were all of times seeing the kids engaged and using my special education knowledge to come up with activities, toys, and things like communication cards that were educational and beneficial. I absolutely loved my time and will definitely come back!” Megan Ramirez


“Zambia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for volunteers in Africa and with the fantastic location and wide variety of projects available, it is easy to see why. Our Zambia program is based in Livingstone and volunteers can take part on Teaching, Childcare, Medical, Elderly Care and Community Development projects while volunteering with IVHQ. In their spare time, volunteers are spoilt for choice! They can take part on safaris, go zip lining, cruise the Zambezi, go shopping at the local markets or, if lucky enough to be there during a full moon you can watch the sunset over the Zambezi then check out the amazing optical illusion that is a lunar rainbow through the mist of Victoria Falls. Zambia is a fantastic location for families and volunteers all ages and offers a great way to get involved in some amazing projects in a relaxed and friendly environment.” - Claire Chambers (IVHQ Africa Program Manager)

Volunteer abroad programs 2016 - Zambia

Great people, great opportunity, great feeling of accomplishment in a good location. The Community School faculty were receptive. The children and older students were engaging. No matter your age or experience, as long as you are flexible and can be a bit creative, Just do it!!!! Susan Gilman

Whether you have 1 week or 24 weeks to commit to volunteering abroad, IVHQ and our local teams will ensure that you are contributing to sustainable and impactful projects by building on the work of previous volunteers, and paving the way for those to come. For more information, see our full range of volunteer abroad programs 2016.

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