2020 beckons with new opportunities and fresh expectations, make this the year you travel with meaning! If you’re looking to explore a new country while providing meaningful support to the local community, International Volunteer HQ offers volunteer abroad opportunities for all types of travel personality types. Pairing your travel personality with a volunteer opportunity that enables you to explore your unique skills and passions. IVHQ will ensure you can travel with meaning in 2020. So pick your traveling style and start prepin’! If you need help picking your travel personality type, take our What’s Your Travel Personality? Quiz.
Pick Your Travel Personality:
First Time Traveler
Make 2020 the year you catch the travel bug. IVHQ has a number of affordable volunteer abroad programs that are perfect for those looking to explore a new country and culture, without feeling overwhelmed by a new environment. It can be daunting setting off abroad for the first time in your life, but there really is no other experience like it and nothing else will change you for the better quite like traveling will. It’s important, and fun, to do lots of research before you start packing your bags to make sure that the destination and volunteer project that you choose match your expectations. This will mean both you and the community you are working with will get the most out of the experience. A number of our IVHQers are first time travelers so we know which programs are well suited to those who are new to international travel! Keep reading to see why we recommend Portugal and Bali - Ubud…
With a beautiful coastline on your doorstep, buzzing cafe culture and plenty of weekend adventures to be had, basing yourself in Lisbon as a volunteer is an idea you won’t want to overlook! Rated in Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2017, you will truly feel immersed in what the city has to offer during your time volunteering with IVHQ. The local team here truly go above and beyond to make you feel part of the family - they’ve even been known to send little thank you videos to volunteers on their journeys home!
Culture and Cuisine: With family at the core of their culture, the Portuguese speaking nation has a rich history that you will instantly feel a part of. Known for their hearty food, that is typically sourced from fresh ingredients and a hefty seafood influence, you won’t be short of local cafes and restaurants to try in your spare time. With its Mediterranean flavours, Frango Piri Piri (chicken piri piri), Sardinhas grelhadas (grilled sardines), and Bacalhau (Salted Cod Fish) being dishes you can’t miss out on.
Volunteer Projects: With projects for those with specific skills and interests, right down to general community development work - there is something for everyone in Portugal. Take a look at Wolf Conservation, Environmental Scuba Diving, Construction and Renovation, Food Rescue and Youth Support.
The popular Indonesian tourist island is the perfect destination to begin your first trip overseas! Stepping out of the airport, you will instantly feel the love of the Balinese people and the countless variety of beaches, restaurants and landscapes that are available to you. But don’t worry - volunteering with IVHQ means you’ll get to experience the real Bali. You’ll step away from the maddening crowd and immerse yourself in the local culture and customs. By the end of your stay, you’ll be in a new frame of mind and have a holistic outlook on life - that’s the Balinese way after all!
Culture and Cuisine: If you want to experience a diverse mix of culture and cuisine, then look no further than Bali. You will be surrounded by an abundance of contemporary art and Hindu sculptures and paintings. The cuisine carries many exoitc flavors - Nasi Ayam, Nasi Campur and Jimbaran Seafood are just a few of the local dishes you need to try. Being a tourist hotspot means you’ll also be able to find your favorite dishes from home, which is a comfort you’ll definitely appreciate as a first time traveler.
Volunteer Projects: In Bali - Ubud, IVHQ offers Kindergarten, Teaching, Healthcare Education, Turtle Conservation, Environmental Education and Construction and Renovation Each of these projects offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and get stuck into meaningful volunteer work, while working alongside local people and other international volunteers.
We believe volunteer travel is an adventure in itself. But if you’re an avid explorer or thrill seeker, IVHQ has meaningful volunteer opportunities to appeal to the adventurer in you.. Many of our programs operate in intrepid destinations and offer experiences where you get to peel back the layers and live like a local. Oh, and that is all backed by some epic weekend adventure opportunities. Our picks include getting off the beaten track and experiencing the soaring mountains of Nepal, or living the real safari lifestyle in Victoria Falls.
It is no secret to why Nepal is an adventurer’s dream. With soaring mountains, welcoming people and intoxicating culture, Nepal has always been a favorite for those looking to take on one of the natural wonders of the world. A country that is neighbored by the Himalayas, trekking options are endless on long weekends when not volunteering. Nepal is made up of many ethnicities and it is shown through its culture and food. With such a diverse mix of cultures, each region of Nepal provides its own unique experience. After picking up the fifth spot in top countries to visit for 2017 and most cost effective by Lonely Planet, Nepal is on the rise after the 2015 earthquakes and the need for volunteers is now.
Volunteer Projects: In Nepal we offer Childcare – Kathmandu, Childcare - Pokhara, Teaching English, Medical Elective and Construction and Renovation. As a result of the devastation of the 2015 earthquake and the continued need for rebuild support in the region, we opened up the construction project in 2016. The volunteer work on this project is highly valued by the local community.
Noted as home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is truly a breathtaking experience. Throw in the ability to see the ‘Big 5’ and Victoria Falls is the perfect program for someone looking to experience nature at its finest. With art and music at the core of the country’s soul, prepare yourself for a sensory overload of the best kind when you visit the Victoria Falls program.
Volunteer Projects: On the Victoria Falls program we offer the Wildlife Conservation project, where there is adventure around every corner! Volunteers live in the middle of a game reserve after all! On the Wildlife Conservation project volunteers have the opportunity to get involved in conservation management practices, all of which are vital for the successful operation of the game reserve, its surrounding areas and their ecosystems.This is a program that will literally and figuratively take your breath away - whether it’s rolling up your sleeves and gaining hands-on experience in conservation management activities; or seeing ‘Big 5’ animals – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo - in their natural habitat; or seeing the lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls in person; or taking a micro-flight. The possibilities for adventure seekers is endless.
Does traveling the world to save one animal at a time sound like you? Then take a look at what IVHQ has to offer those interested in Animal Conservation. With a range of programs, that deal with domesticated animals, right through to wildlife! IVHQ can meet the needs of all animal lovers
Here IVHQ volunteers can roll up their sleeves and contribute on our Animal Care/Animal Rights project. It’s known as the safest city in Mexico, but now Merida’s culture, atmosphere and cuisine are taking the spotlight, making it the fourth top city to visit in 2017, as rated by Lonely Planet. The Yucatan peninsula is a vibrant region, full of Maya ruins and sparkling cenotes which you can dive into during your free time.
Volunteer Projects: Animal Care/Animal Rights - Although the attitude towards providing care to domestic animals is slowly changing in Mexico, there is still a major problem with cats and dogs being abandoned on the streets. In response, a number of non-profit organizations have taken over the responsibility and care for these animals with the ultimate goal of finding people to adopt them. Volunteers work alongside the limited staff to bathe, brush, train, walk, and play with the cats and dogs to prepare them for adoption. Cleaning cages and providing maintenance to their facilities is also important work! So be prepared it’s not all kittens and cuddles - but the work is incredibly rewarding. Other projects available include, Childcare, Teaching English, Maya Agriculture and Special Needs Care.
With ancient buddhist ruins and a rich culture to immerse yourself in, you will be blown away by our Wild Elephant Conservation project. The island nation located south of India often surprises visitors with its diverse landscapes, from rainforests to sandy beaches, there is something for everyone. Sri Lanka is an amazingly diverse culture and this is visible in the buddhist ruins that scatter the country. The foundations of karma are key to the Sri Lankan people and you will feel right at home with a loving attitude.
Volunteer Projects: Wild Elephant Conservation - Together with the local wildlife conservation society, volunteers on the Wild Elephant Conservation project assist in observing the behavior of wild elephants and carry out research-related tasks within the Wasgamuwa region, in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Elephants hold great cultural and religious significance in Sri Lanka. However, elephants are viewed as a nuisance by many rural people, as they invade farms looking for crops. The aim of the Wild Elephant Conservation project in Sri Lanka is to develop effective measures to resolve human-elephant conflict.
The hustle and bustle of a foreign city is captivating! With a concentration of culture, cuisine and something happening on every corner - exploring unfamiliar urban landscapes is an exciting way to immerse yourself in a new country. If you’re looking to travel abroad and want the comforts of a modern metropolis, whilst still having a positive impact in the community, then IVHQ offers a numbers of options in cities around the globe. Here are our programs for those that like to live in the fast lane.
This proud South American country has to be seen to be believed! With its iconic beaches and Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado, Brazil has taken the hearts of many who visit the bustling country. It has an atmosphere that can’t be matched by anywhere else in the world - it truly is a country like no other. But give it a week, a month, a year and you’ll fall into the intoxicating swing of Rio!
Culture and Cuisine: Brazil is a country that is so varied by geography, history and culture you’d be excused for thinking each state has its own feel, to the point each could be a different country. With music at the heart of the people, you will struggle to find a culture as vibrant. Just like its culture, Brazilian food takes inspiration from their portuguese heritage, as well as the abundance of local delights on offer. With rice and beans as the staple base of a dish, you will find sweet and savoury mixes of root based vegetables and protein portions of beef, pork and seafood to complement.
Volunteer Projects: In Brazil, we offer Childcare, Teaching English, Carnaval, Sports and Community Development projects. These projects are focused on providing you with immersive cultural experiences, whilst providing positive outcomes for the local communities.
Known for its clean and green environment, the New Zealand program is located in the country’s largest city, Auckland. Staying in the inner city accommodation you will have the opportunity to explore the cafes and other sights and sounds of the busy metropolis. Your projects are then located out on the coast and other neighbouring landscapes, as a brief hiatus from your urban living.
Culture and Cuisine: New Zealand is a country with a truly unique culture that’s personified by the kind and laid back nature of the people that live there. With varied ethnic influences you will certainly find no shortage of cultural diversity when exploring the streets. The food of New Zealand is truly one big melting pot of global influences, with fresh and raw ingredients in supply. Regardless of your dietary requirements you will find a dish to suit your needs every step of the way.
Volunteer Projects: On our New Zealand program, we offer Coast and Waterway Conservation and NGO Support projects. With a heavy conservation focus, the New Zealand program is ideal for those with a love of the outdoors and preserving our environment.
If you consider your life a beach and want to visit some of the best beaches the world has to offer, then you’ve come to the right place. Sometimes you need to get a dose of vitamin sea in your life! And we believe that no matter where in the world you choose to travel, you should be able to give back to a community that values your support.
With over 72 beaches scattered around the 190 miles of coastline, you’re truly spoilt for choice when visiting Cape Town. It’s easy to see why this South African metropolis came in at second for top cities in the world to visit according to Lonely Planet. It’s a vibrant place full of world-class eateries, breathtaking natural scenery (Table Mountain anyone?), and a powerful history.
Volunteer Projects: On the South Africa program, we offer Childcare, Computer Training, Teaching and Sport Development projects. If you really want to maximise on beach time then Surf Outreach project is for you! You don’t need to be a pro surfer to appreciate the thrill and excitement involved in the sport and surf enthusiasts of all abilities are welcome to join! This is an after school project, in which volunteers facilitate local children in learning how to surf, while teaching them valuable life skills.
A country teeming with wildlife and biodiversity, almost a quarter of Costa Rica is made up of protected rainforests. This is then contrasted by the Caribbean and Pacific oceans that touch the country’s beaches, which are noted around the world and waiting for your enjoyment. With weekend tours to surf beaches, you won’t want to leave this paradise. The Costa Rican culture is a vibrant blend of indigenous heritage and Spanish colonization. With an incredible culture, natural landscape and extremely laid back and happy people - it’s the place to be!
Volunteer Projects: Our Costa Rica program offers some of our broadest project options including: Childcare, Teaching, English, Healthcare, Turtle Conservation, Eco-Agriculture Conservation, Construction and Renovation, Special Needs Care, Holiday Experience and Spanish Service Learning Course. For those looking to be based on the coast, our Turtle Conservation project is the perfect option. You will also have the opportunity to visit the beaches on long weekends, whilst contributing to other projects.
If you’re trying to cross off the flavors of the world, you need to get to these destinations! With home-stay living providing authentic meals for volunteers and street markets only a small stroll from the accommodation, let your taste buds savour these destinations.
Moroccan food is something everyone should have on their must try list, with a heavy mediterranean influence and dashes of Arabic and Spanish influence, have your taste buds prepped for a flavor explosion. With a fusion of spices, vegetables, meats and breads you will not be disappointed. Mysterious and exotic, Morocco came in at seventh on the top value Lonely Planet list. IVHQ has two program locations in Morocco, so you can choose from a unique range of projects and explore the souks and deserts during your weekends. Morocco has extremely hospitable people, who are generally laid back and easy going. The country has a rich religious history and the almost medieval like buildings will leave you feeling caught in a time warp.
Volunteer Projects On our Morocco program, we offer Childcare, Teaching English, Teaching French, Women’s Education, Sports Development and Ramadan Program. Also on our Morocco - Marrakech program, we offer Childcare, Teaching English or French, Women’s Education, Agriculture - Atlas Mountains, Amazigh/Berber Immersion - Atlas Mountains and Special Needs Care.
Food is at the heart of Vietnamese culture and is very much the centerpiece of day to day life, with influences from all over Asia. Southern Vietnam has unforgettable tastes that are sweet, sour and spicy for those willing to test their heat threshold. Spring rolls may be the most notorious dish, but there are certainly many others you need to discover. The iconic Southeast Asian country is one known for its beaches and history that is globally reaching. Now, with a bustling economy, Vietnam will surprise with its street markets and modern buildings. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to indulge in the local food and you’ll be hooked once you do! A culture built on Confucianism, you will find the people of Vietnamese extremely loyal and respectful.
Volunteer Projects: In Vietnam, you can take part on our Special Needs/Childcare, Teaching English, Medical and Food Outreach projects. Our Food Outreach project is aimed at providing assistance to a local ‘Soup Kitchen’ to enable them to provide over 500 lunches daily to people from various backgrounds including poor elderly, low-income earners, disabled, students and children. Tasks include food preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning the area after meal times. This project is perfect for those volunteers wanting to work hard and interact with locals while having a very authentic and rewarding experience.
Traveling to further your career and pass on invaluable skills is a key foundation of what motivates IVHQers to gain international volunteer experience. With 50+ destinations and 300+ projects to choose from, we have a program to match most career paths and skill sets. Knowing you’ve got a specific skill set to give back with is a great place to start your journey to volunteering abroad. Explore the project types below and then uncover the different locations IVHQ offers your perfect project around the world!
Medical and Health If you’re a qualified Nurse or Doctor, or training at pre-med level, IVHQ offers Medical projects around the world.
Construction and Renovation Our Construction and Renovation projects are perfect for skilled tradesmen who are looking to provide support to under resourced areas and communities in need.
Arts and Music With the ability to break language barriers, Arts and Music is always a key component of the cultures that our programs operate in.
NGO Support From design work through to business planning, the NGOs that we work with require a range of skills and expertise to further their efforts. Bringing in new ideas and continuing on the work of others is a key component of what keeps these organizations operational.
Discover the full range of short term volunteer abroad programs with IVHQ, or apply today to take a meaningful volunteer trip with IVHQ.