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Migrant and Refugee Support Volunteer Program in Spain - Barcelona

Migrant and Refugee Support Volunteer Program in Spain - Barcelona

Want to help refugees and migrants settle into their new lives in Spain? International Volunteer HQ’s Refugee & Migrant Support project is based in a host centre in Barcelona that provides a safe space for young adult refugees and migrants to live, socialise, learn new skills, cook, and eat together. By volunteering with refugees and migrants in Spain, you’ll help young people learn English, connect with different cultures, and gain new perspectives and experiences.

  • Programs start every second and fourth Monday of the month
  • Affordable fees from £659 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help young refugees and migrants integrate into Spanish society and learn English

  • Soak up Barcelona’s art, architecture, and buzzing atmosphere

  • Stay in a modern, socially driven hostel in Barcelona

Key information

Help refugees & migrants integrate into society
Based in host centres
Dormitory-style hostel accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from £659 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Spanish language lessons available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Sociable and compassionate volunteers who enjoy cooking. Being able to speak some Spanish is a huge advantage, as this will be the main way to communicate with the refugees and migrants.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

In recent years, Spain has received thousands of immigrants seeking protection from dangerous situations or fleeing from poverty-stricken countries in Northern Africa. These newcomers, whether they are refugees or humanitarian immigrants, face huge challenges when they arrive in Spain, as they lack the skills needed to be able to integrate into the local community.

In the city of Barcelona, there are organizations focused on the process of integrating these immigrants into Catalan society through different projects that offer opportunities to create a social network, language classes, weekly leisure or training activities. The goal is to foster their empowerment, autonomy, and wellbeing.

As a volunteer, you will go to the local host centre of the migrants and refugees and engage with them in an informal way. This specific program seeks the socialization of this group of people through a common interest with the volunteers: cooking, eating, and the English language!

Volunteers will join and support the local host centre in its daily tasks in the afternoon, mainly preparing, cooking, and distributing meals for the guests. You will sit and eat with them, chat with them in Spanish and teach them some English language skills — as this is an important skill for their future!

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #10: Reduced Inequalities

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #10: Reduced Inequalities

Covid-19 has deepened existing inequalities, hitting disadvantaged and minority communities the hardest. To reduce inequalities, we must provide better services and support to refugees, migrants, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities.

Why do Migrant and Refugee Support volunteering in Barcelona with IVHQ?

When you volunteer on the Migrant and Refugee Support project in Spain you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Learning about how host centres operate
  • Directly helping young refugees and migrants learn new skills and build bonds
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Practicing your Spanish language skills
  • Immersing yourself in Catalan culture
  • Exploring Barcelona’s fabulous buildings, culture, and history

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Serica Battaglia
10 Apr 2024

Volunteering with IVHQ on two occasions has been the best thing I have ever done! The guidance and preparation resources received from IVHQ really was brilliant! Thank you so much! I couldn’t have asked for more, they were incredible! The people you meet and work alongside, the other volunteers you meet during your time, they really are people for life! The projects I volunteered on were rewarding, you really felt that you made an impact! If you’re hesitant, book it, go, and experience something completely different, you honestly won’t regret it! It will be life changing!

Steven Blalock
19 Mar 2024

I think our group gained a real-life and important view of the challenges people face even in a high-profile tourist center that is Barcelona. We were provided a glimpse of the realities of homeless people and the challenges they face on a daily basis. We were also provided a glimpse of how organizations assist folks with accessing basic needs like clothing, food, and showers. An added complexity to this was that many of the homeless and housing insecure folks we worked with were also immigrants or refugees and had the extra obstacles of transitioning to a new country, language, and culture.

Haya El Ghossein
04 Mar 2024

I loved volunteering. I had so much fun with the immigrants as well as the other volunteers. I would say to future volunteers to have an open mind about your experience and enjoy every minute of it.

Jennifer Evans
05 Sep 2023

I was able to learn about many different cultures and life as a immigrant in Barcelona. I would encourage someone to be flexible and open minded. I really enjoyed my volunteer experience and would volunteer though IVHQ again.

Yulisa Vega
25 Aug 2023

It was a great experience sharing my knowledge, meeting new people and impacting others.

Eve Cole
22 Aug 2023

The local team were really helpful and were always available via text. On the first day, they show you where, and how, to get to your program. I learnt to be independent and to be grateful for what I have because lots of the people I was helping had nothing. I met lovely people in my program and girls in the hostel. Just do it, I know it seems scary but when you get there you will love it and learn so much about yourself. It is so worth it!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit
Volunteer Abroad in Barcelona, Spain with IVHQ


Catalonia is a region in northern Spain with its own distinct culture. Barcelona is its capital and melds millennia of history with modern life in a way that creates a vivid, stylish city with a vibrant atmosphere. It’s rich with the art and architecture of Gaudi and Picasso; home to FC Barcelona - one of the world’s best football teams; loaded with remnants of its ancient Roman past; stacked with beautiful beaches and parks and known for its mouth-watering cuisine. The IVHQ Spain volunteer program in Barcelona hosts a popular range of meaningful volunteer work. The dedicated local team supports volunteers 24/7 as they’re immersed in local life, helping you to develop an authentic understanding of this iconic destination. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Barcelona. Some placements are up to a 90-minute commute, which can be on different means of public transport.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Barcelona on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN). Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported via Metro and bus to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Spain prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we will provide you with a time and place to meet the local team in Barcelona on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Spain team in Barcelona. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Spain – an introduction to Spain and Barcelona, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, an introduction to project and placement as well as a tour of the local area and a basic Spanish language lesson. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for additional Spanish language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising .

Volunteer schedule example


After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the specific project that you are participating on.

A typical daily schedule is as follows:

7:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
8:00 AM Volunteers with a morning shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.
1:00 - 3:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation.
2:30 PM Volunteers with an afternoon or evening shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.
8:00 - 10:00 PM Most volunteers choose to eat dinner at this time. There are restaurants close by to the volunteer accommodation or you can prepare your own dinner in the communal kitchen.


On your free weekends in Spain, visit Gaudi’s unfinished yet still iconic La Sagrada Familia church, catch a football match, try a local paella, sunbathe on an incredible beach or wander the streets of Les Ramblas to Barcelona’s city centre.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Spain including; Granada, Valencia, Madrid and many other places. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Barcelona, with the advice and guidance of our local team.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel about 10 - 15 minutes from the city centre of Barcelona. You can expect to share a room with up to seven other people of the same gender. The hostel also caters to independent travelers and groups who book rooms from time to time for varying lengths of stay. Every volunteer will have access to their own locker to store valuables and other personal belongings. The hostel has shared bathrooms equipped with western toilets and showers in each room. Bedding is provided for each volunteer. Volunteers can also enjoy a shared living room, kitchen and large outdoor terrace. There is staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

WiFi is available in the volunteer accommodation and can be accessed from many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be purchased for unlocked phones.

Private rooms in the hostel with shared or private bathrooms can be arranged upon request for an additional cost, subject to availability.


Volunteers are provided with breakfast and lunch each day.

Breakfast is self-serve at the volunteer accommodation and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea, and coffee. Lunch is provided in the accommodation according to a fixed menu. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes as well as some typical Spanish dishes.

Volunteers who wish to spend the day in the city and require a packed lunch can request this the day prior.

Tap water is fine to drink in Spain; however, bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately £4) per week for this.


  • USD
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week £659 Equivalent to £94/day
2 weeks £1047 Equivalent to £75/day
3 weeks £1436 Equivalent to £68/day
4 weeks £1825 Equivalent to £65/day
5 weeks £2213 Equivalent to £63/day
6 weeks £2602 Equivalent to £62/day
8 weeks £3379 Equivalent to £60/day
10 weeks £4156 Equivalent to £59/day
12 weeks £4934 Equivalent to £59/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £277) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, dinners, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Spain generally find US$100 to be sufficient for weekly expenses including dinners, transportation and miscellaneous spending.
  • Please note: You will need to budget an extra US$10 per night for the Barcelona City Tax, paid directly to the accommodation upon arrival.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.

Language lessons in Barcelona

Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers in Spain regardless of their ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and are taught by professional Spanish teachers. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • 1 x 1 hour class = £37
  • 10 x 1 hour classes = £275 Spanish lessons can be booked through IVHQ once you have been accepted onto the Barcelona program.

Check what's required to visit Spain

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Madrid
Population 46.9 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+01:00

Weather and climate: Being such a large country, the climate of Spain is very varied. Barcelona and its metropolitan area has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F) during the day and 15.1 °C (59.2 °F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. In the warmest month – August, the temperature ranges from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F) during the day and about from 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are very rare.

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How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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