Volunteer Abroad Programs
Discover the best volunteer opportunities abroad in over 50 destinations with International Volunteer HQ
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the world’s leading volunteer travel organization and Canada’s favorite volunteer provider - trusted by 131,531 volunteers worldwide. With more than 16 years experience and volunteer programs starting from just CA$28 per day including accommodation, you won’t find a more affordable and trustworthy organization for an impactful volunteer vacation, gap year or alternative break.
You can volunteer overseas with IVHQ for durations ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks, with volunteering abroad programs available year round in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, North America, Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific.
See the world. Immerse yourself. Make a difference.
Volunteer Abroad Opportunities
Volunteering abroad with IVHQ enables you to make meaningful contributions to community projects in the areas of education, healthcare, construction, childcare, community development, conservation, social enterprise, volunteering with animals, wildlife and more. Browse by project type.
Looking for inspiration on where to volunteer abroad? Here’s where you can make a difference with IVHQ:
See what's required to visit your chosen destination
Fill out the quick form below to find out what the border and visa requirements are for the IVHQ destination you're traveling to, based on your country of residence.
Volunteering abroad involves traveling to a foreign country or region with the purpose of dedicating your time, energy, skills, and efforts to assist local communities, organizations, or projects. It can encompass a diverse range of volunteer activities that contribute to the betterment of society, such as education, healthcare, environmental conservation, wildlife conservation, community development, and more.
Through volunteering abroad, you have the unique opportunity to truly immerse yourself in a different culture, broaden your global perspective, and make a positive impact on the lives of others. This experience enables you to step out of your comfort zone, acquire new skills, and create meaningful connections with local communities and other volunteers from around the world.
There are a number of reasons why volunteering abroad can be a transformative and rewarding experience for international volunteers. These include:
- Make a positive impact: To make a tangible difference in the lives of others and contribute to meaningful causes
- Cultural immersion: To immerse yourself in a new culture and gain a deeper understanding of different customs, traditions, and ways of life
- Explore new destinations: To explore exciting destinations around the world and travel with purpose
- Personal growth: To develop new skills, build self-confidence, adapt to unfamiliar situations, and overcome obstacles
- Make new friends: To build international connections and form long-lasting relationships with people from diverse backgrounds, including fellow volunteers and local community members
- Career enhancement: To showcase to future employers your commitment, adaptability, cross-cultural understanding, and ability to work in diverse environments
Learn about how volunteering abroad has supported the growth and development of previous IVHQ volunteers.
To volunteer abroad with IVHQ, you generally need to be at least 18 years old (with some programs available for younger participants), have a good command of English (knowledge of the local language may be beneficial in some cases), and meet any specific requirements for certain projects (ie. Medical projects).
Most volunteer programs do not require specific skills or technical expertise - all you need is a passion for making a difference and a willingness to learn. Beneficial skills for volunteering abroad can include communication, cultural sensitivity, empathy, flexibility, teamwork, problem-solving, and patience.
IVHQ offers you the flexibility to choose the duration of your volunteer abroad program with options ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Note that some programs may have minimum duration requirements so this is important to take into consideration when selecting your volunteer program.
There is no age limit to volunteering abroad - IVHQ has hosted volunteers up to 88 years-old on programs. In fact, volunteering abroad is becoming an increasingly popular way for older adults to see the world, be immersed in new cultures, and engage in a regenerative form of travel. When choosing a volunteer program, older volunteers may wish to consider factors such as physical demands and accommodations to ensure a comfortable and fulfilling experience. These volunteer program recommendations for over 40s is the perfect place to start your search.
There are numerous destinations around the world where you can volunteer abroad. IVHQ offers programs in 40+ countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. When deciding where to volunteer abroad, you should consider the type of cause you want to support, your skills and interests, destinations you would like to visit, how long you can commit to, and your budget. IVHQ has a helpful volunteer program search tool that enables you to find the perfect program tailored to your unique requirements.
Volunteering abroad through IVHQ follows a guided process that ensures you feel supported every step of the way. Regardless of whether you’re a first-timer or experienced traveler, the IVHQ team is committed to ensuring you have access to superior tools and support services both before you leave home and after you arrive in country. The steps involved in volunteering abroad are:
- Research and choosing a program
- Pre-Departure preparations
- Fundraising and financing
- Training and orientation
- In-country orientation and volunteer experience
- Reflection and post-volunteering activities
All IVHQ volunteers receive access to a comprehensive Pre-Departure Checklist, Program Guide and Online Volunteer Training Course so you can ensure you are properly prepared and have ticked off all the essential steps before embarking on a volunteer abroad trip.
The cost of volunteering abroad with IVHQ varies depending on factors like the program duration, destination, and specific project. Program fees start from as low as $20/day and include accommodation, meals, airport pickup, orientation, local support, and emergency assistance. IVHQ also requires a registration fee. Additional expenses may include flights, travel insurance, visas, vaccinations, and personal expenses. To find the cheapest volunteer programs and compare your options, visit the Affordable Volunteer Program Fees page.
It is unlikely that you can volunteer abroad for free as most volunteer programs have associated costs, including flights, accommodation, meals and other living expenses. However, you may be able to minimize expenses through grants, scholarships, fundraising, or by participating in exchange programs. To learn more about offsetting your travel costs, see How To Volunteer Abroad For Free.
Volunteer work abroad encompasses a wide range of opportunities, including:
- Medical and Health
- Sea Turtle and Marine Conservation
- Wildlife and Animal Care
- Construction and Renovation
- Environment and Conservation
- Climate Action
- Community Development
- Special Needs Care
- Women’s Empowerment
IVHQ has the world’s largest range of volunteer work opportunities with 300+ programs available in 40+ countries.