If you think volunteering abroad is just for hipster teens and ambitious college kids, think again, my friend! Have you ever heard of volunteer programs abroad for adults? If you’re tired of the corporate grind or burned out because you worked through your twenties, then volunteer abroad programs for adults are the perfect opportunity to try something new, discover a different career path, or just do good and have some adventure along the way.
Here’s GoAbroad’s take on all things volunteer abroad for adults. Read on for some serious inspiration + the programs that can help you get there.
Why you should volunteer abroad over 30
Believe it or not, people over 30 are usually highly sought by volunteer organizations. Why? Generally, the 30+ crowd has a certain amount of work experience and maturity under his or her belt. They’ve learned to work with different kinds of people and are generally more patient and tolerant. On the other hand, youngblood fresh out of school hardly have any of this world wisdom and often need more training when it comes to such soft skills.
Volunteer organizations also need people with specialist skills. As a person over 30, you’re more likely to have developed and perhaps perfected a particular skill set, whether it’s managing a classroom of 40 rambunctious teenagers or drafting legal documents to incorporate businesses. Because older individuals have specific competencies, program providers may have an easier time slotting them into the right placements and customizing projects to suit their strong points.
13 awesome volunteer abroad programs for adults
If you’re still reading up to this point, you’re probably curious about where you can actually volunteer abroad over 30, how much it costs, and other important questions. If you’ve already “adulted,” here’s a list of 13 awesome volunteer abroad programs for adults to get you started!
GVI has over two decades’ experience in the field of international volunteering. It runs its adult volunteer abroad programs in partnership with international NGOs like WWF, The Red Cross, Save the Children, and PADI. It’s perfect for the more mature crowd because it matches individual passions with projects. They also include volunteer trips abroad for adults with culturally immersive experiences.
Volunteer abroad adults can choose to work for as little as one week or up to one year. They can even combine projects to create multi-country ventures. Adults can volunteer in 12 countries across Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Popular projects include teaching, marine and wildlife conservation, working with children, and construction.
- More info: Read GVI reviews
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities abroad for adults, stop right here. Folks over 30 will appreciate this program provider because it places an emphasis on safety. IVHQ staff members regularly audit programs to minimize risks and ensure that IVHQ meets its obligations regarding volunteer safety and security. Volunteer abroad programs for adults can last 1 week or up to 6 months. You can also choose to volunteer with over 200 projects available all year round.
IVHQ also has some of the most affordable programs for volunteer abroad adults, with program fees starting as low as $10 a day. You can volunteer in over 40 locations around the world. Popular projects include childcare, teaching, healthcare, turtle conservation, construction and renovation, and community development.
- More info: Read IVHQ reviews
GoEco prides itself as one of the more affordable volunteer abroad over 30 program providers, with projects starting at just $5 a day. It focuses on sustainable development and offers 24/7 support and travel insurance for volunteers.
GoEco also provides volunteer programs abroad for adults that combine two or more projects for a truly unique experience. Volunteer opportunities abroad for adults include over 160 projects across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Latin America, and Europe. Popular projects include wildlife conservation, marine conservation, education, and medicine.
- More info: Read GoEco reviews
If you want to volunteer abroad over 30 and can still walk distances up to 2 kilometers daily, consider this program provider based in Uganda. The average adult volunteer abroad will love this location because it’s one of the more stable and safest countries in the African continent.
Spend as little as two weeks or a maximum of 12 weeks in this peaceful country. You get to volunteer in the heart of Uganda, beyond the tourist trail. Community outreach, public health, village primary school teaching, agriculture, and conservation are popular projects.
- More info: Read The Real Uganda reviews
Family owned and UK-based Oyster Worldwide has been helping volunteers of all ages since 2000. Volunteer abroad for adults projects can last from 1 week to 12 weeks. Mature travelers will appreciate this program provider because it offers specific projects for individuals who are looking for a career break, a holiday with a difference, or a way to immerse themselves in a different way of life for a bit.
It offers over 70 volunteer and paid programs in 24 countries around the world. Popular projects include helping underprivileged children in India and Romania or working with animals and conservation in Costa Rica and South Africa.
- More info: Read Oyster Worldwide reviews
Don’t just be a volunteer; be a Love Volunteer! This program provider offers cost-effective volunteer trips abroad for adults that also help local communities in developing countries. Love Volunteers prides itself on no extra program fees and promises that 90% of program fees go to the hosting charities and organizations (the remaining 10% covers international bank fees).
All partner organizations are properly vetted to ensure that the environment for volunteers is extra safe and that there is a genuine need for help. Its volunteer abroad for adults projects span 39 destinations worldwide. Popular volunteer opportunities abroad for adults include environmental conservation, teaching English, education support, childcare, community development, and women empowerment.
- More info: Read Love Volunteers reviews
Conservation Travel Africa was founded by four Zimbabweans who wanted to conserve African wildlife. It partners with responsible local ecotourism organizations and welcomes the volunteer abroad over 30 crowd: empty nesters, retirees, or those who just need a career break. Mature volunteers will also like the fact that this organization promises single rooms if needed.
Projects are based in sanctuaries and reserves across Southern Africa. Popular programs regarding volunteer abroad for adults include marine and wildlife conservation, wildlife research, and community education and development.
- More info: Read Conservation Travel Africa reviews
This program provider aims to create a customized volunteer abroad for adults programs. It promises to make the experience universally accessible by keeping costs down (program fees start from only $180). The 30+ crowd will appreciate this provider because it promises a flexible schedule and start date. You can start any week in the year and the placement can last one week or up to 6 months.
You can choose where you want to work, whether rural or urban. Locations include Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, China, Nepal, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Mexico. You can also volunteer in care-giving, orphanage work, community development, healthcare, microfinance, and tourism.
- More info: Read CrossContinental reviews
Created in 1992, Projects Abroad is one of the largest international volunteer organizations in the world. It also offers volunteer programs abroad for adults. Projects for skilled professionals include placements across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific where volunteers can act as business advisors for local NGOs, share legal expertise while working on human rights causes, or work in the medical and veterinary fields.
Its Grown Up Specials are for those over 50. These projects are two weeks long and are designed to have the most impact in a short window of time. Learn Khmer culture on the Khymer Project in Cambodia, immerse yourself in Rastafarian culture in Jamaica, protect unique species on the Galapagos, or work with children in Nepal.
- More info: Read Projects Abroad reviews
For over three decades, this nonprofit has partnered with UNICEF to develop programs for short-term volunteers that make the greatest impact on long term development projects. This program provider is also very inclusive. Its youngest volunteer has been 5; its oldest, 95! Volunteer abroad adults help children reach their greatest potential and help change lives by partnering with local volunteer leaders.
To date, Global Volunteers has engaged over 32,000 volunteers in 34 different countries on six continents. Popular projects include summer camps and enrichment, nutrition education, radio broadcasting, and gardening.
- More info: Read Global Volunteers reviews
Kaya Responsible Travel is different because it specializes in customized volunteer placements to suit any need, interest, or date. For example, it offers volunteer programs for honeymooners, career breakers, and over 50s. Kaya matches your skills and interests to each project so that it’s worth your while. All projects are also sustainable and meet ethical standards.
This organization offers more than 200 sustainable volunteering projects and internships in 27 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. Popular projects include environmental, marine and wildlife conservation, education, sports, health and medical, teaching, childcare, and community development.
- More info: Read Kaya Responsible Travel reviews
12. ELI Abroad
Whether you’re a student, professional, or retiree, ELI Abroad promises to provide volunteer opportunities to anyone who wants to travel beyond the ordinary. It offers tailor-made programs to suit each individual’s requests, goals, background, time constraints, and pocket, whether you’re 18 or 80+.
The regular adult volunteer abroad will also appreciate its outstanding in-country support. ELI Abroad partners with local organizations on five continents. Popular projects include supporting women in Cambodia, working in deaf education in Kenya, volunteering in the arts in India, and working on a national park in Ecuador.
- More info: Read ELI Abroad reviews
With 20 years’ experience, CCS offers sustainable volunteer abroad programs for working professionals who need a career break and folks over 50 who want to pay it forward. You also have the option of volunteering alone or with family and friends.
Program specialists help match your skills and interests with projects and also make accommodations if you have dietary restrictions, health concerns, or other special requests. Spend as little as one week or up to 12 weeks working in nine countries across the globe. Popular projects include volunteer teaching, volunteering to help children and people with disabilities, or working with healthcare professionals.
- More info: Read CCS reviews
You’re ready to make a difference as an adult volunteer abroad
So there you have it. If you’re healthy for your age, you can volunteer. Forget the lame misconception that volunteering is just for the kids. There are several volunteer programs abroad for adults out there and one with your name on it. You’ve learned so much already, why not share it with those who are underprivileged? Life isn’t over until you drop dead so make those years count paying it forward.