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13 Of The Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs in 2019/2020

Summer volunteer abroad programs 2019 - top opportunities

IVHQ has been running the world’s best summer volunteer programs for more than 12 years. These summer programs are designed to help you get out and truly experience some of the world’s most sought after travel destinations and give back through community-led initiatives.

To save you time, we’ve compiled 13 of our most popular summer volunteer programs:

Jump to your preferred summer program

  1. Summer turtle conservation volunteering in Bali - Ubud
  2. Summer childcare volunteering in Cambodia
  3. Summer teaching volunteering in India - Kerala
  4. Summer construction and renovation volunteering in Peru - Cusco
  5. Summer childcare volunteering in Kenya
  6. Summer teaching volunteering in Tanzania
  7. Summer youth support volunteering in Portugal
  8. Summer childcare volunteering in Ghana
  9. Summer turtle conservation volunteering in Costa Rica
  10. Summer childcare volunteering in Peru - Lima
  11. Summer NGO volunteering in Romania
  12. Summer kindergarten volunteering in Fiji
  13. Summer teaching volunteering in Italy - Naples

If one of these summer volunteer programs doesn’t take your interest, feel free to explore our full range of volunteer programs available year-round.

Full range of summer programs

Why you need to take a summer volunteer program abroad!

The summer months are approaching and you’re faced with the exciting decision of how you’re going to make this your most memorable summer yet.

You’ve either been hard at study or working yourself into a frenzy over the past six months since you last felt that positive energy that only summer can provide. Naturally, you want to spend the summer months with friends, gaining new life experiences and feeling the sand between your toes. So, how does a summer volunteer program abroad provide you with a life changing opportunity? It lets you…

  • See the world and gain a new perspective
  • Make new friends and share incredible experiences with like-minded people from around the world
  • Gain career insights and the opportunity for self discovery
  • Make a positive impact through volunteer programs within a short-term, flexible timeframe

You can spend your summer volunteering in Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean or the Pacific.

All the continents you already wanted to travel to can now benefit from your valued volunteer efforts. Volunteering enables you to immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with locals and make new friends through community-focused initiatives. This experience allows you to see a country away from the sometimes artificial lens of tourist travel and provide you with a new found understanding of what makes a country beautiful.

Who are summer volunteer programs for?

We aren’t exaggerating when we say volunteer programs are for everyone! What it really comes down to, is the type of volunteer work you’re best suited to and the country that fits your overall travel goals. With that in mind, we do have some handy tips based on the type of volunteer traveller you are:

Summer volunteer programs for university students

Volunteer programs in the summer months are perfect for university students who are looking to get hands-on career experience and see a different part of the world.

University students get all the benefits of a summer volunteer program and more, especially if it’s your first volunteer experience. For some, it’ll be their first trip abroad anywhere, which is extra special.

If it is your first time abroad, or you haven’t travelled to your volunteer destination before, our expert team is here to help you make the best decisions around your volunteer efforts abroad.

If you need to do further research on volunteering abroad as a university student read through this helpful guide.

Our best summer volunteer programs for university students:

Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica with IVHQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £3,995 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,200
Volunteer Abroad in Cusco, Peru with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £3,225 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,000
Volunteer in Ubud, Bali with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £1,390 (12 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,200
Volunteer in Guatemala with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £3,225 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,500

Summer volunteer programs for teens and high school students

Travelling and volunteering abroad at a young age can have major benefits, especially when it comes at a time in your life when you’re most impressionable and your outlook of the world is just taking shape.

In this environment, teens and high school students can grow through hands-on learning and truly have their perspectives changed through meaningful interactions. Ultimately, this makes for better global citizens.

IVHQ has created summer volunteer programs for teens and high school students with these goals in mind. Those under the age of 18 are unable to volunteer on all IVHQ programs, though there is still a wide variety of under-18 options all around the world. You can read more about our approach to high school volunteering here and find further opportunities.

Our best summer volunteer programs for teens and high school students:

Volunteer in Santa Elena, Ecuador with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £1,395 (12 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,400
Volunteer in the Philippines with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £1,970 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,700
Volunteer in Lima, Peru with International Volunteer HQ
Start dates: Every first and fourth Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £2,085 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,400
Volunteer Abroad in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam with IVHQ
Start dates: Every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Registration fee: US$299
Program fee: From £2,090 (24 weeks)
Estimated flights: US$1,700

Can I travel alone or with friends this summer?

If you are travelling solo this summer, IVHQ has your back! Travelling alone with IVHQ is a safe and affordable way to explore the world as an independent traveller while being fully supported at every stage of your volunteer program. You will receive 24/7 support from our local team and have the opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers from across the globe, forming fast friendships with your fellow IVHQers. While you may arrive by yourself, you’ll never actually be alone.

If you’re organising a summer volunteer trip with your friends, you’re in luck! IVHQ has a team dedicated to supporting groups of volunteers travelling together. Our team will be able to work with you to make sure your group gets everything you want from your summer volunteer abroad trip.

With all that in mind, here are the 13 best summer volunteer programs for 2019:

1. Summer Turtle Conservation Volunteering In Bali - Ubud

Start dates: June - August every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration Fee = US$299
Program Fee = US$295 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,200
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 27°C
Best weekend activity: Lombok

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Bali

Working with turtles is a dream for many people, and in Bali, it’s possible. Volunteers get involved in a hands-on way to help protect endangered sea turtles through a range of activities.

Based on the island of Nusa Penida, you’ll work alongside a passionate local team on things like feeding and cleaning the turtles, helping with beach clean ups and environmental conservation efforts, all with the goal of helping turtles grow and increase in numbers.

This is a volunteer opportunity that will get you off the beaten track, living in a basic way with few shops nearby, but working with large numbers of fellow volunteers on an exciting project.

Fill your free time in Bali:

With an array of white sand beaches and weekend activities, such as a sunrise climb of Mount Batur or island hopping to Lombok, Bali will keep you busy. You will never be bored… or alone! With 50+ volunteers joining the IVHQ Bali volunteer program each month, this is one of the most popular volunteer destinations.

Learn moreApply for Bali - Ubud

2. Summer Childcare Volunteering In Cambodia

Start dates: June - August, starts on the first and third Monday of the month
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration Fee = US$299
Program Fee = US$360 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,300
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 29°C
Best weekend activity: Angkor Wat

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Cambodia

Childcare centres in Cambodia are largely underfunded, meaning volunteer contributions are vital to helping them operate. Volunteers work under the supervision of local staff, helping with day-to-day care of children.

Work includes helping children with all aspects of their day, from activities and games to teaching, classwork, singing and dancing. This project is ideal for enthusiastic volunteers who are good with young children.

Fill your free time in Cambodia:

The Temples of Angkor Wat are a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site that have wowed millions of tourists. Angkor Wat is a five hour drive from Phnom Penh so it’s better suited for an overnight weekend visit. Volunteers can also be placed in popular tourist town Siem Reap, depending on local need.

Learn moreApply for Cambodia

3. Summer Teaching Volunteering In India - Kerala

Start dates: June - August every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration Fee = US$299
Program Fee = US$360 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,300
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 27°C
Best weekend activity: Alleppey

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs India - Kerala

Teaching volunteers in India work mainly in helping children learn English. Literacy rates in Kerala are actually quite high, however they are measured in the local dialect, which is not widely spoken outside the region. For this reason, English is seen as a desirable language for children to learn.

Volunteers work in schools to help children aged between 6-12 improve their English. Students will be at different levels, and are schooled in small classes generally of no more than 10 individuals.

By volunteering to assist teaching in Kerala, volunteers are able to provide one on one tuition for students who need extra help, freeing up teachers to continue lessons with the rest of the class.

Fill your free time in India:

The Kerala coastline provides you with an amazing range of options to explore during your free time. For the water lovers, there are surf beaches and canals. If you want to get in touch with your wild side there is a whole range of wildlife around Kerala to see.

Learn moreApply for India - Kerala

4. Summer Construction And Renovation Volunteering In Peru - Cusco

Start dates: June - August, first and third Monday of the month
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$310 (2 weeks)
Estimated flights = US$1,400
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 8°C
Best weekend activity: Machu Picchu

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Peru Cusco

Construction and Renovation volunteers provide a great supplement to the building workforce in Cusco, working on projects that require extra help for a number of reasons. They could be building projects that have stalled, renovations that need a boost or upkeep of facilities in a range of buildings, schools, community centres and more.

Volunteers work alongside a local construction worker helping with building, painting or any other related construction work. This is an ideal project for fit, enthusiastic volunteers who like seeing the tangible rewards of their labour.

Fill your free time in Peru: No trip to Peru is complete without seeing Machu Picchu with your own eyes. It’ll leave you spellbound. It takes just over four hours on the train from Cusco, or for the more adventurous, a four day hike along the Inca Trail will get you there. Further afield, you have the Peruvian Amazon, Lake Titicaca (South America’s largest lake) or Huacachina - a tiny picturesque oasis town in the desert to explore.

Learn moreApply for Peru - Cusco

5. Summer Childcare Volunteering In Kenya

Start dates: June - August starts every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration Fee = US$299
Program Fee = US$270 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,000
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 18°C
Best weekend activity: Safari

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Kenya

Kenya: where it all started for IVHQ, and where your summer volunteer journeys can begin!

If you have previous experience in childcare work it will be a real advantage, however, if you have an outgoing nature and initiative then you’ll be well supported by local staff to deliver necessary support in community centres.

Work takes place in daycare and community centres, where tasks involve teaching basic English, maths, activities and games, as well as general care for the children.

Fill your free time in Kenya:

Nairobi has all the best things that African culture has to offer. It’s an under-rated gem waiting to be explored. Further afield, game parks are a must-do. Safaris with the Big 5 African animals are easy to find and a sure fire enjoyable day out.

Learn moreApply for Kenya

6. Summer Teaching Volunteering In Tanzania

Start dates: June - August, projects start on the 1st and 15th of every month Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$270 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,100
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 18°C
Best weekend activity: Serengeti National Park

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Tanzania

Education is highly valued in Tanzania, but many children don’t stay in school beyond the age of 14. As a teaching volunteer you can both encourage students to spend more time getting an education and enhance the tuition they get while they’re there.

Volunteers can teach students of just about any age in just about every subject - this project offers a wide variety of possibilities. The program is based in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, in the shadow of the famous tourist attraction, Mt Kilimanjaro.

Note some schools have holidays during June and August, so if your program is around the beginning or end of those months then you may be required to swap schools at that point.

Fill your free time in Tanzania:

While you’re based so close to Mt Kilimanjaro, you really should take advantage and climb it. It takes a few days to get to the top, but if that’s not for you then there are other options for day trips that don’t require as much of a commitment. Otherwise, the African plains are there to explore, particularly the nearby Serengeti National Park.

Learn moreApply for Tanzania

7. Summer Youth Support Volunteering In Portugal

Start dates: June - August, starts on the second and third Monday of each month. Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$375 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$250
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 23°C
Best weekend activity: Cascais

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Portugal

Summer provides a chance for volunteer to help students to keep active during their school holidays. Volunteers work in organisations in Lisbon that help to provide young people with a safe and fun place to go while they’re not in school.

Work involves aspects of schooling and extra tuition, as well as helping organise and run fun activities like days at the beach. The idea is to help young people enjoy themselves, extend themselves and achieve something with their time.

School summer holidays run from early June to September, so there may be a chance to work in school before the holiday period starts.

Fill your free time in Portugal:

You can’t make a trip to Portugal without some time on the beaches of Cascais. Located west of the capital, Lisbon, a weekend getaway is a must-do!

Lay around on the beach all day, explore local museums or get out in the countryside. No matter your preference, you’ll gain some truly breathtaking lasting memories.

Learn moreApply for Portugal

8. Summer Childcare Volunteering In Ghana

Start dates: June - August, starts on the 1st and 15th of every month.
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$270 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$900
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 25°C
Best weekend activity: Cape Coast

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Ghana

Many low-income families in rural areas in Ghana need additional help with childcare, especially in families where both parents need to work. Volunteers help prepare food, play games and assist with the education of local children.

Volunteers work in school hours and after school as well, with the opportunity to introduce your own games and teaching methods. This project is designed to help support children in all aspects of growing up, particularly with their early learning.

Fill your free time in Ghana:

West Africa is culture-rich, with a fun mix of beach-side activities, desert-based adventures and music everywhere. The Cape Coast is a popular tourist destination as a former shipping port, where visitors can now take tours through the local fort that was used as a holding prison for slaves.

Learn moreApply for India

9. Summer Turtle Conservation Volunteering In Costa Rica

Start dates: June - August starts first and third Monday of every month.
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$355 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,200
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 23°C
Best weekend activity: Weekend trekking

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Costa Rica

There’s something about turtles that makes them magical creatures, and this is especially so when you consider the fact they’re endangered in many parts of the world.

Volunteers work alongside local biologists to help preserve the population of Costa Rica’s four turtle species in remote locations across the country. You could be involved in beach patrols, building hatcheries, counting and tagging turtles, collecting eggs and more.

This is an opportunity for volunteers who don’t mind getting off the grid and prefer spending their time at the beach, not on their laptop.

Fill your free time in Costa Rica: During weekends, you’ll have the opportunity to explore San Jose and travel further afield. You’re spoilt for choice with volcanoes, rainforests and beaches all easily accessible from your volunteer accommodation. Opt for a city tour around San Jose or tackle the Pacuare River and go white water rafting!

Monteverde, famous for its biodiverse cloud forests, is also packed with activities to fill a weekend, including hiking, zip lining and an array of delicious restaurants to sample.

Learn moreApply for Costa Rica

10. Summer Childcare Volunteering In Peru - Lima

Start dates: June - August starts every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$180 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$1,500
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 18°C
Best weekend activity: The bustling suburb of Miraflores

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Peru Lima

This is IVHQ’s cheapest one week volunteer opportunity. Preschools in Lima are different to anywhere else in the world. Peruvian people are passionate and demonstrative, and that starts from when they’re young.

The 3-5 year olds volunteers work with have a unique nature, and are incredibly fun to be with. Volunteers help in all aspects of helping preschools run, from working with children to general administration and helping out where it’s needed.

Summer in Lima means holiday time, where duties are slightly different on school holiday programs that may include some older children as well as pre-schoolers.

Fill your free time in Lima:

The cliff-side suburb of Miraflores in central Lima is a hot-bed of activity, with a bustling boulevard and even the chance to paraglide over the beach. Speaking of the beach, the golden sand is always beckoning, as are the world class waves for surfers.

Visitors to Peru can’t leave without heading to Machu Picchu, while sand boarding in Huacachina is fast becoming another must-do.

Learn moreApply for Peru - Lima

11. Summer NGO Volunteering In Romania

Start dates: June - August starts first and third Sunday of every month.
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$330 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$650
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 20°C
Best weekend activity: Bran Castle

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Romania

“I’m taking a summer volunteer program in Romania” crickets… yes, we know you might surprise people when you tell them you’re taking a volunteer program in Romania. Just remember, you know what you’re doing; you’re setting out to experience a new part of the world and give back through community projects!

Working in NGOs is something that’s difficult to do without experience, but volunteering is a great way to get into what can be extremely rewarding work. Placements are available in a range of NGOs in Romania, where volunteers can work in marketing, administration, fundraising and more.

Your skills and interests will play a role in deciding the placement you’re put on, as well as the local need at the time.

Fill your free time in Romania:

It won’t take long before you’re captivated by the under-rated natural beauty of Romania. With landscapes that range from mountains and lush countryside, through to churches and castles from yesteryear, Romania is a unique country ripe for volunteers looking to explore something different.

You won’t be disappointed in the breath of fresh air that Romania provides in comparison to your cliche summer destinations.

Learn moreApply for Romania

12. Summer Kindergarten Volunteering In Fiji

Start dates: June - August starts every Monday
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$340 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$2,400
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 29°C
Best weekend activity: Diving

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Fiji

If Fiji is most famous for its stunning island setting, its next best characteristic has to be its people. Fijians are happy and relaxed in everything they do, and that infectious enthusiasm makes your time in Fiji particularly memorable.

Working with children aged 4-5, the Kindergarten project involves playing games, helping with education and keeping children busy and interested throughout the day.

Volunteers in August will find duties are slightly different, as children are on holidays, but you can work in day camps that are very similar to kindergartens.

Fill your free time in Fiji:

With 333 beautiful islands, you’ll have plenty to explore in your free time. Volunteers can spend the weekends visiting Suva, or Colo-I-Suva, an oasis of lush rainforest, teeming with tropical plants and featuring 6.5km of walking trails to explore.

It is also easy to head to the Coral Coast, which is a stretch of beaches and bays between Nadi and Suva. Along this southern coastline is the Pacific Harbor (approximately 2.5 hours from Suva), which is the self-proclaimed ‘Adventure Capital’ of Fiji.

Learn moreApply for Fiji

13. Summer Teaching English Volunteering In Italy - Naples

Start dates: June - August, starts on the first and third Monday of every month
Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
Costs:
Registration fee = US$299
Program fee = US$685 (1 week)
Estimated flights = US$350
Costs include:
Airport pick up
Orientation
Accommodation
Meals
Average temp: 23°C
Best weekend activity: Rome

Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs Italy Naples

Home to pizza, Naples is a cultural old seaside city set under the iconic Mt Vesuvius.

Volunteers on the Teaching English project help to give local students valuable English language skills, which can make a remarkable difference to their lives. Many high school students prefer working on the street to education. Knowing English helps to keep them in school, and it also helps the job prospects for those that still choose to leave early.

Volunteers work either in a public school or on an after school program, with children aged from 4-18. Work is alongside local teachers and can be with other volunteers in the same classroom.

Fill your free time in Naples:

Naples is the beating heart of Italian culture - full of good food, passionate people and stunning scenery. Explore the magical city or head further afield to Rome or the Amalfi coast.

Naples is also home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii.

Learn moreApply for Italy - Naples

If you still don’t know which summer volunteer program is best suited to you in 2019, try taking our interactive quiz to find the perfect program.!

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