Volunteer in Italy
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options
- Projects based in Naples in the South of Italy
- Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer apartment
- Between 10 and 40 volunteers start in Italy each month
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from $685 for 2 weeks
- Affordable Italian Language Lessons available
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Italy to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Italy will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Italy with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Italy Program is located in Naples, the capital city of the Campania region in Southern Italy. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Naples. The program begins on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks.
The city of Naples has a high student drop-out rate with many children choosing to leave their education early in favor of finding work on the streets. In some areas of Naples, public schools do not have the means to offer extra-curricular activities to students or alternative applied ways of teaching.
The Teaching English project is ideal for volunteers who would like to help improve the English language skills of children while also developing their interests and life ambitions. Volunteers on the Teaching English project will either assist local teachers during the day at a local public school or work on an ‘after school program’ organizing activities and workshops that can help children improve their English ability. Volunteers placed in a local public school will assist teachers in their daily English classes and those placed on the ‘after school program ‘ will provide extra-curricular English workshops for local children, aged from 4 to 18 years-old. Volunteers on the ‘after school program’, according to their Italian language level, may have the opportunity to support the social workers in additional extra-curricular classes for the children.
Volunteers may assist the local teacher on their own or paired up with another volunteer. Volunteers will work with groups of children and follow the local school curriculum as a basis for planning engaging English classes, workshops and cultural activities. Volunteers will either have the morning or afternoon free to plan their work for the day or take advantage of the Italian language lessons offered by our local team.
As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate on the project. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Please note, if you apply for the Teaching English project during the school holidays (mid June to mid September), you will be switched to a special summer camp project arranged through our local team. During this time, volunteers support in creating opportunities for the children to learn English by assisting with playful activities including sports and the arts, and most activities take place in an outdoor environment, rather than a classroom.
After School Care
In some poor neighborhoods of Naples, children often spend their free-time on the streets without any adult supervision and do not have the opportunity to participate in team building activities or safe leisure activities after school. Volunteers on the After School Care project provide care to children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Volunteers are expected to organize after school workshops and educational activities, incorporating music, art, cooking, sports, games and leisure activities. While some basic resources are available, volunteers are required to use their initiative to develop activities and bringing resources to assist with activities is encouraged. The After School Care project is well suited to volunteers who enjoy working with children outside of the classroom. Strong organizational skills and the ability to improvise will be highly valuable on this project, as providing care to children in an unstructured environment can be challenging. However, the children are incredibly enthusiastic and you will receive a lot of gratitude in return. As the After School Care project is run in the afternoon, volunteers have the morning free to plan for the day’s work or take advantage of the Italian language lessons offered by our local team.
Please note, if you apply for the After School project during the school holidays (mid June to mid September), you will be switched to a special summer camp project arranged through our local team. During this time, volunteers support in creating opportunities for the children to learn English by assisting with playful activities including sports and the arts, and most activities take place in an outdoor environment, rather than a classroom.
On the Environmental project, you will have the opportunity to help preserve the many historical and UNESCO World Heritage sites found in Naples. Your work may focus on environmental preservation and awareness, preservation of archaeological ruins or protected marine life, farming and bio-construction as well as general support to the Environmental NGO in administration, organizing and running community workshops, conferences, outreaches and research.
We have a variety of projects that you may work with and you will be placed in an Environmental NGO requiring assistance at the time of your chosen program, so your specific tasks will vary accordingly. But you can expect long days of physically rewarding work, requiring high energy levels. Depending on your placement, tasks can include litter collection, cleaning of monuments, protecting restricted areas of national parks, cleaning the sea bed and beach, monitoring the coast by patrolling in kayaks, cleaning archaeological ruins and excavation, research, event planning, assisting in administration, farming, preparing gardens for cultivation, and bio-constructions (vineyard, urban gardens, etc).
To be considered for the Environmental Project you must be at least 18 years of age and must commit to at least a 3 week duration. Additionally, you will need to include your skills and motivation on your application so our local team can arrange a suitable placement. To be considered to work within marine preservation you will also be required to be a strong swimmer, although diving is kept to a restricted depth so you do not need to have scuba diving experience. It is important to note that marine preservation work is not available during the winter months (November to March). This specific placement only runs from Wednesday to Sunday and it takes an hour to get to this project using public transport. Volunteers should budget US$5 per day for the use of public transport to and from their placement.
NGOs in Naples generally have limited resources and rely heavily on local and international volunteer support to run their various initiatives. The NGO Support project provides volunteers the opportunity to assist local NGOs who work in the fields of community development, child and youth welfare, immigration and migrant support, and human rights (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community). These NGOs require volunteer support, primarily in administration, organizing and running community workshops, conferences and outreaches, English language support, networking and communication, organizational development, and research. Daily volunteer tasks vary as required by the organization in which volunteers are placed and according to their current initiatives. Volunteers who have relevant experience, may have the opportunity to become involved in counseling and legal support to migrants seeking humanitarian asylum.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are highly motivated and self-driven, and those who would like to gain work experience within an NGO abroad. Please note, you are able to list your preferred NGO field, however you will be assigned to the NGO that has the most need for assistance at the time.
Volunteers who wish to join the NGO Support project must be 18 years of age or older and have relevant experience in the field they wish to work in. This can either be university studies or relevant working experience. Volunteers must participate on the project for a minimum duration of 4 weeks and bring their own laptops.
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Naples on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Naples International Airport (NAP). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by the local team’s driver and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Naples, where you will be met by a member of the local team. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Italy prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we can arrange for you to be picked up at 4pm from the local metro station. If you are scheduled to arrive overland after 4pm on Sunday, you will need to arrange your own accommodation for this night, and transportation to the local team’s office in time for orientation at 10am Monday.
Orientation is hosted by our Italy team in Naples. 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 Italy – Introduction to Italy, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Italian language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
Weekdays: 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. A typical morning schedule is as follows:
7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer apartment.
8.30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are participating on.
1.30 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You will travel back to the volunteer apartment for lunch or in some cases eat a packed lunch at your placement.
2.30 PM You are free to plan for the following day’s activities or use your free time as you wish. This could include sightseeing, some shopping or taking Italian language lessons.
7.00 PM Dinner at the volunteer apartment. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.
Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.
Volunteers are accommodated in one of two dormitory-style, volunteer apartments in central Naples. The bedrooms can accommodate 4 to 8 volunteers at one time, and you should expect to share a bedroom and bathrooms with volunteers of the same gender. Bathrooms are equipped with western style toilets and showers. Bedding is provided, however volunteers will need to bring their own towels. As the accommodation is a shared living space, all volunteers are expected to help keep their personal living space tidy. There are also staff who clean the accommodation weekly.
Both volunteer apartments in central Naples have WiFi which volunteers are able to use. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to keep connected.
Volunteers are provided with breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week (Monday to Friday), and breakfast only on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch and dinner will be the responsibility of the volunteers on weekends. Breakfast is self serve at the accommodation and includes tea, coffee, yoghurt, fruit, bread and cereal. Lunch and dinner during the week are provided by a local catering company and are delivered to the volunteer accommodation daily in time for lunch and dinner. Lunch is the largest meal of the day with dinner being a much lighter option. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes. There are shops just two minutes walking distance away from the accommodation and volunteers are able to buy very affordable food if they wish to. If your placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch, a packed lunch can be provided upon request. Tap water is fine to drink in Italy, however bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately US$10 per week for this.
Volunteers have the weekends free (except for some Environmental volunteers) and Italy is universally recognized for its history, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty, so there is absolutely no shortage of things to see and do while in Naples or further afield in Italy! Naples has many UNESCO World Heritage sites and volunteers can fill their free time visiting the many historical sites and attractions, dining on the amazing cuisine, sipping espresso in the many café bars or simply exploring parts of Naples by wandering through the beautiful alleys. Rome, home to the Colosseum, Vatican and Sistine Chapel, is just an hour from Naples by train, and the ancient ruins of Pompeii are also just a 45 minute drive away. Nature lovers can hike the nearby Mt. Vesuvius and visit the beautiful Almalfi Coast to complete the “Walk of the Gods”. Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Italy including; Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Milan, Pisa and so many more!
See our Italy Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Italy!
Weather and climate: Italy’s climate is quite diverse due to the great longitudinal extension of the peninsula and its mountainous terrain. The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the South are predominantly Mediterranean with dry summers and moderately wet winters. In the northern parts of Italy and areas of higher altitudes, the climate is cooler and the winter months can be cold, wet, and often snowy. Weather in Naples, where the IVHQ volunteer program is based, is pleasant throughout the year. Winter temperatures in Naples (December to February) vary from 4°C to 14°C/39°F to 57°F while spring (March to May) is slightly warmer at around 15°C/59°F. Summer (June to September) in Naples can become very hot and humid with average temperatures ranging between 18°C and 31°C/64°F and 89°F. Rainfall is heaviest in November and driest in July.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Italy. Additional requirements apply for NGO Support and Environmental volunteers as outlined in the project descriptions.
Fluency in Italian is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Italy volunteer program. However we recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Italy. Volunteers find that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Italian lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Italy.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable Italian lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local team in Italy. These language courses are organized during your program orientation, are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Italian and are taught by professional Italian teachers. We believe that taking these lessons can help you immensely with your day to day volunteer work and communicating with local people.
- 1 hour group lessons (5 hours per week): US$84
- 1 hour private lessons (5 hours per week): US$112