Volunteering abroad allows you to explore the world, experience different cultures and meet new people – but it’s much more than just a holiday.
It means taking the leap into a world that is very different to your home country, rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and sometimes witnessing things that are difficult to see. Volunteering abroad isn’t always easy, but it will add depth and meaning to your life, and to the lives of others.
At International Volunteer HQ, we’ve been enabling people from all walks of life to give back through volunteering vacations since 2007. Our volunteer programs start at just $20/day, including accommodation, meals and 24/7 support, making this the most affordable way to make a difference through travel.
Want to find out if volunteering abroad is for you? Here’s a diverse range of perspectives from IVHQ volunteers around the world to give you an honest and candid insight into what to expect. We hope that these stories, photos and videos will help you decide where to go and what you want to do!
Volunteering with turtles in Bali with Kevin
Program: Turtle Conservation in Bali
“Volunteering abroad is such a meaningful way to travel and I'm so glad that I did it. I’m really happy! I got to help endangered sea turtles grow and become strong enough to have a higher chance of surviving in the wild. It’s a really great project and I’m really grateful to be a part of it!”
Volunteering at an animal shelter in Peru with Gloria
Program: Animal Care in Peru - Cusco
“Every morning I would help out with feeding, cleaning and building enclosures for 40+ dogs. It was an unforgettable two weeks and I loved being able to fully immerse myself in the Peruvian culture. Take every opportunity that comes your way no matter how scary you think it might be. The personal growth and cultural experience you gain is unlike anything else!”
Marine Conservation volunteering in Portugal with Emily
Program: Marine Conservation in Portugal
“This is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's going to make you a better person and you’re going to learn lots of things that you wouldn't have if you didn't come here. I even decided to stay one more week because I am enjoying my time here so much.”
Medical volunteering in Guatemala with Maddie
Program: Medical in Guatemala
“I loved being able to provide hands-on care while also learning the steps of taking medical histories, physical assessments and diagnoses. I did not anticipate how much of an impact immersing myself in another culture would have. I feel like I grew so much as a person and medical provider from this incredible opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.”
Childcare volunteering in Tanzania with Alexia
Program: Childcare in Tanzania
"Volunteering in Africa taught me what it means to live. It showed me how happy individuals can be with so little. I learned that the small things, like a smile or a hug, can change someone's life. My favorite part of volunteering was being able to live as a local and meet the local people. That is what really set the experience apart for me."
Isabelle’s experience volunteering in Croatia
Program: Creative Technologies in Croatia
“Through this experience, I met some of the most amazing people from all over the world. I cannot describe how special these relationships are to me. I also learned about the importance of NGOs and how they can assist with sustainability, animal care, childcare, entrepreneurship, and more. I will forever be grateful that I had the chance to volunteer in Croatia!"
Wildlife volunteering in Victoria Falls with Hunter
Program: Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls
“This program left an incredible mark on me and I really feel like I left a little piece of my heart there. I saw wild elephants, black rhino, lion, cape buffalo, hyena, crocodile and more! The local team at the game reserve was incredible. The accommodation was perfect and the food was outstanding. I learned so much and truly had the experience of a lifetime.”
Emily’s experience volunteering in Nepal
Program: Women’s Education in Nepal
“Beyond exploring Nepal and getting a peek at the snowy Himalayan mountain tops — the best part of my days has been showing up at the women’s center to amplify their voices and teach a new language. In many ways, these women are teaching me — I’ve been blown away by the generosity to go above and beyond to make me feel loved and welcomed and immerse me into their culture!"
Nic’s volunteering trip to Costa Rica
Program: Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica
“It’s been a fun trip. The people that I met in Costa Rica, my family and friends that I got to meet here, I’m going to miss everybody. It was the best experience that I could have asked for. I got to live like the locals and experience the true country. It really was something special. Get out there, explore, and do what you love!”
Lars’ experience volunteering in South Africa
Program: Surf Outreach in South Africa
“It was amazing to connect with locals and foster kids' sports through my favorite activity: surfing. The main reason for choosing IVHQ was the years of experience and all the past achievements! It made me feel safe that I would be working with people that understand what they do. The affordable fees with 24/7 support, accommodation, food, and travel support rounds up the complete package and made me excited to volunteer with such an international organization."