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How To Choose A Volunteer Abroad Program


Stuck on how to choose a volunteer abroad program?

Many of our volunteers tell us that making the decision to volunteer abroad with IVHQ is one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. However, sometimes the best decisions aren’t necessarily the easiest…

We understand how tricky it can be to choose a volunteer abroad program that’s just right for you, especially when we have over 35 volunteer abroad programs and hundreds of projects for you to choose from!

How to choose a volunteer abroad program - volunteering in Zambia with IVHQ

The good news is that once you’ve made the decision to volunteer abroad with IVHQ, you know that whichever one of our volunteer abroad programs you choose, you’re volunteering with the trusted and affordable volunteer travel company.

With over 10 years of experience in hosting international volunteers, the team at IVHQ is dedicated to empowering you to travel the world affordably, while gaining authentic cultural experiences, and contributing to sustainable volunteer projects that have been developed in partnership with local organizations. With comprehensive pre-departure volunteer services and 24/7 in-country support from our partner organizations, you can feel confident that IVHQ and our local teams will take brilliant care of you, whichever volunteer abroad program who choose!

So when you need to make the call… How do you choose a volunteer abroad program?

Given there’s no one way to answer this question, you’re going to have to ask yourself a few questions!

As we have the privilege of placing thousands of international volunteers abroad every year, we’ve collated three important questions that you can ask yourself to assist with the decision making process…

Social or environmental?

All IVHQ projects have been developed to address a social or environmental need within communities that genuinely need your support and deciding whether your individual skill sets and experiences can best be translated to a Conservation project, like Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica, or Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls, is your call! If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a bit of hard work, the odd blister, and the satisfaction of seeing the physical impact of your work, a Construction or Conservation volunteer project could be your best bet! On the other hand, if you’re someone with a passion for working with children, or teaching those with a thirst for education, consider a people-project, such as Teaching in Tanzania, Special Education in Costa Rica or Childcare in Cambodia.

By scanning IVHQ’s volunteer abroad programs, you’ll discover that the majority of our volunteer program destinations offer Teaching and Childcare volunteer opportunities, while some of our volunteer abroad programs offer more unique volunteer opportunities that you won’t find on our other programs – such as Wild Elephant Conservation in Sri Lanka, or Marine Conservation in Madagascar! While those of you looking specifically for Medical volunteer opportunities will find that you can narrow down your destination options nicely based on your level of study or professional experience. If you need any assistance in matching your qualifications with a destination, don’t hesitate to contact us as our friendly team will be more than happy to help you choose a volunteer abroad program!

Identifying a project type that matches your skill sets and passions will go a long way in helping how to choose a volunteer abroad program that will allow you to optimize your impact during your time abroad. Plus, once you have identified the type of project that best matches your skill sets, you can narrow down which countries offer the type of volunteer opportunities that you’re interested in! Consider the volunteer opportunities below, which are popular among the IVHQ volunteer community.

Popular Social Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer in Kenya - Teaching or Childcare
Volunteer in Bali - Teaching English or Childcare
Volunteer in Costa Rica - Special Education or Medical

Popular Environmental Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer in Madagascar - Marine Conservation or Forest Conservation

Volunteer in Sri Lanka - Turtle Conservation

Volunteer in Guatemala - Eco-Agriculture Conservation or Turtle Conservation

Unique Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer in Cambodia - Working with NGOs

Volunteer in South Africa - Surf Outreach

Volunteer in Sri Lanka - Temple Renovation

How To Choose a Volunteer Program - Volunteer in Bali

Do I have a country calling?

Perhaps you studied French at college and want to put your language skills into play by Teaching French in Morocco, or maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the Indian culture and would like to experience living like a local through volunteering in Delhi or volunteering in Kerala? Perhaps you want to be volunteering in Mexico amongst the festivities of Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), or volunteering in Nepal during Holi aka the Festival of Colors.

Whatever the attraction, many volunteers find they are captivated by country for a range of unique reasons and appreciate the experience of being able to explore the country as an IVHQ volunteer, living and working within the local community in the company of other international volunteers.

When weighing up whether a particular country is calling you, considering how you would like to spend your weekends can be helpful in determining the most desirable destination for you! Try searching for #IVHQweekends on Instagram or browse the Travel and Tour options on each of the program pages within our website, like this Zambia Travel and Tours number.

How to choose a volunteer abroad program - volunteering in India with IVHQ

What are other IVHQ volunteers saying?

If indecisiveness gets the better of you and you’d like to reach out to former IVHQ volunteers for their suggestions, you’re in luck! We have a range of social media channels that you can connect with and either observe the conversations going on, or jump in and pitch your burning questions to IVHQers who have experienced our volunteer programs first hand!

To explore the options available to you…

And if you’ve asked yourself all the questions above and still can’t decide which one of IVHQ’s volunteer abroad programs to choose, you have two options…

EITHER go on more than one volunteer program OR join us again the following year!

We have hundreds of volunteers joining multiple volunteer programs with us every year, and just as many who come back year after year, after year!

How to choose a volunteer abroad program - Volunteer in Ghana

So if you’ve reached the end of this post and are still overwhelmed by your options, remember the IVHQ team are only a phone call, tweet, or email away, so please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Alternatively, if you’ve found THE ONE, you can make the move and apply now!

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!