Are you thinking about taking a trip to volunteer in Europe? International Volunteer HQ offers affordable and trusted volunteer trips to Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. Keep reading to find out more about volunteering in Europe in 2018 with IVHQ.
Nestled amongst historic castles and majestic mountains, Romania is a hidden gem. The IVHQ volunteer program is based in the east of Romania in Miercurea Ciuc, an ethnically-diverse community bringing together Romanians, Romanis and Hungarians. Romania is the ideal destination for hard-working volunteers who are passionate about youth development - choose to support Teaching, Special Needs Care, Childcare or After School Support projects within the local community. There are plenty of adventures to be had to keep you busy on the weekends, visit Dracula’s home - Bran Castle or head a bit further, jump on a train and head to Bucharest or Budapest for an extended weekend. Looking for something a bit more physical? There are endless options for hiking, kayaking, climbing, rafting and even skiing or snowboarding in the winter months. With local food being cheap and delicious, bars being dark and cosy, there are always opportunities to socialize - with the mixture of cultures making communicating a fun challenge! Transylvania was voted the #1 region to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet, so take the leap and experience it for yourself!
I stayed in Romania for two months with the Special Needs Support project. It’s hard to put my experience into words, but to start it was incredible, enlightening, and life changing. The people I met, the staff and children I worked with - I’ll truly never forget them. Romania is beautiful country and fairly undiscovered by hoards of tourists so it’s a lot of fun to travel around. OLIVIA MARTIN-SPISAK
Surrounded by cobblestone streets, a vibrant city atmosphere and endless pizzerias, why would you want to travel anywhere other than Italy!? As a volunteer traveler in Italy, you’ll be based in a volunteer house in Naples, living, volunteering and traveling with like-minded volunteers. Here you’ll be participating on a meaningful community project, giving back to those who value your support. There are many projects to choose from, including Teaching English, After School Care, Environmental and NGO Support. During your weekends, take the opportunity of a lifetime to experience the wonder and culture that Italy has to offer. With Rome just an hour train ride away, you can be hanging with the Gladiators at the Colosseum in no time. Take a trip to the Almalfi Coast and complete “The Walk of the Gods” - a stunning coastal walk with breathtaking views. And we can’t forget a day trip to Pompeii, a popular tourist destination and a must see! Travelers who take initiative and enjoy a full-on social life will thrive while volunteering in Italy. We haven’t even mentioned how good the pizza is, Naples being the birthplace of Neapolitan pizza, it goes without saying that it’s amazing.
I went into this adventure as a blank canvas, meeting new people and new experiences and have came out with an incredible painting of friendship, confidence, freedom, love and a deeper understanding. IVHQ in Naples really has changed my life - thank you so much! MELINDA JENKINS
With the beautiful coast on your doorstep, buzzing cafe culture and plenty of weekend adventures to be had, basing yourself in Lisbon as a volunteer traveler is an amazing idea! Portugal’s hilly capital is the home base of the IVHQ Portugal Program, where you can give back to the Portuguese community by participating on Construction and Renovation, Food Rescue and Youth Support. IVHQers on the Wolf Conservation project are based in Mafra, while Environmental Scuba Diving volunteers are based in Albufeira. There is zero shortage of activities to keep your weekends bursting with adventure, check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Sintra, the Moon Hill, stroll the streets of Cascais and enjoy a beverage at one of the many outdoor cafes along the way, get amongst the surf in Ericeira, the first surfing reserve in Europe. If you like the mellow nature of coastal life and being in touch with nature and history, then the Portugal program is perfect for you.
My experience at IVHQ was truly memorable and beyond any expectations I had before I reached Portugal. The program coordinators went above and beyond their duties to make sure that we were safe and comfortable during our stay. The program gave us a great insight to an amazing organisation that helps to eradicate food wastage while simultaneously helping the community. The people were hospitable and friendly, and not for one moment did I feel that I was not making a difference in the community. All of my experiences with IVHQ are memorable and enjoyable. If I ever get an opportunity to volunteer abroad again, I will most definitely choose IVHQ. BASMAH AZMI
Madrid, Spain’s central capital, is the phenomenal location of the IVHQ Spain Program. Known worldwide for its elegant boulevards, European Art and of course, tapas! Fill your weeks by contributing to the Madrid community through meaningful projects such as Teaching, After School Support, Agriculture and Special Needs Support. Using your skills to further the community outreach and give back while traveling through Europe. Madrid is full to the brim with diverse flavors and cuisines, experience the yum with a walking tour of the city, stopping to taste the homemade delights from several of the hundreds of family-run eateries. Around the city there is so much history to be taken in, from the El Escorial and the monastery or the castle of Manzanares El Real, a 15th century fortress which is now the home to a museum. If you’re keen to see a bit more of what Spain has to offer, then Madrid is an amazing jumping point, stay in-country and head to Toledo or Segovia. Skip the country to France for a long weekend or even Portugal, which is literally your next door neighbour. If you love the idea of combining big-city life with giving back to the local community, and have a soft spot for amazing cuisine, then it’s safe to say that you will enjoy volunteering in Spain!
I was really satisfied with volunteering through IVHQ. It has been such a great experience, and I have nothing I would change. All in all it was an amazing experience. INEZ WULFF HEITMANN