Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and a premier regional center of economic, cultural, and commercial activity. Founded over two centuries ago as a British penal colony, Sydney has since blossomed to become one of the world’s leading global cities, boasting a GDP higher than most entire countries. Yet, like any big city, Sydney has its fair share of social problems which require addressing. Therefore, those who decide to volunteer in Sydney can help in a large diversity of projects and experience life in one of the world’s most fun and influential cities.
Volunteering Abroad in Sydney
There are a lot of NGOs and international organizations which partner with local groups and institutions in Sydney to provide a wide variety of volunteer placements. Within this range of options, there tends to be two main categories of volunteer work in Sydney: social work and environmental protection.
Though a very wealthy city, there are still many Australian citizens in Sydney who remain underserved and overlooked. Volunteering in Sydney at orphanages, community centers, homeless shelters, and other similar institutions is popular among foreign volunteers interested in social work.There are also plentiful amounts of volunteer opportunities in education and healthcare across the city.
Australia is very large and sparsely populated, and remains a relatively wild continent. Its local aquatic and land ecosystems are among some of the most unique and the world, and unfortunately face constant threat of destruction by human expansion and activity. Environmental protection volunteers can work on projects doing anything from planting trees to organizing cleanups to promoting sustainability efforts, and do their part in saving the natural beauty of Sydney
Individuals from around the world can volunteer in Sydney for anywhere from just a couple of weeks to as long as several months, it all depends on your availability and how much time you want to spend in Sydney.
Life in Sydney
Sydney is one of the most fun and exciting cities in the world, plain and simple. Settled on the world’s largest natural harbor, those who volunteer abroad in Sydney will find themselves living in a place of both tremendous natural beauty and cultural intrigue. While English is the primary language spoken in the city, about one-third of its residents speak a different language at home. Home to nearly 5 million citizens, Sydney is incredibly diverse and full of unique activities to take advantage of.
Some of the city’s major attractions include the Australian Museum (the oldest natural history museum in the country), the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and the iconic Sydney Opera House. There are a large amount of theaters, museums, public parks, and the like speckled across the city too, which will ensure you are never bored during your leisure time.
Nature is never too far away either; Bondi Beach, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the Royal National Park are all pristine locations where it is possible to take sanctuary from city life in Sydney. While volunteering in Sydney, you should also make sure to budget time to explore the rest of the country. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, Australia’s vast landscape will take your breath away!
Costs & Affordability
Here’s the kicker: Sydney can be quite an expensive city to live in. Australia is a wealthy country, and as a major center of global economic activity, Sydney is the focal point of a lot of this economic wealth. The local currency is the Australian Dollar, which is equivalent to about $0.75.
Obviously as a volunteer in Sydney, you will not be paid for your services, so make sure to plan out a fair budget for your trip beforehand. Fundraising can be a great way to help cover some of the costs associated with volunteering in Sydney too. Many volunteer programs will include food, housing, and/or transportation, so keep that in mind when selecting the best program for you.
Accommodation & Visas
Volunteers often opt to live in a homestay while volunteering in Sydney, which is a great way to form close relationships with locals and immerse in Australian family life. Apartments or other group living opportunities are usually made available too, depending on the length of stay. Start the conversation early on with your volunteer provider about the most feasible living arrangements for your specific placement and trip specifics.
Whether or not you will need a visa to volunteer in Sydney depends primarily on your home country and the duration of your trip. Visitors from North America, Europe, and parts of East Asia can often apply online for an electronic visa before entry. For more information about the Australia visa policy toward your nation, you can check out GoAbroad’s Australian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Global City. Sydney is ranked as an Alpha+ Global city, meaning that it is one of the ten most influential hubs of the international market. For such a beautiful laid back city, you may not realize it is, in many ways, at the center of the world.
Great Adventure. Volunteering in Sydney will enable you to venture throughout both the city and its natural surroundings. When you aren’t busy with your volunteer work, you will never run out of exciting cultural and natural fascinations to explore in Sydney.
Give Back. The most important point of all, by volunteering abroad in Sydney you will be contributing positively to the lives of locals, by giving your time to projects that serve them and help improve their lives. Volunteer programs in Sydney are a great way to experience life in an incredible city, and you’ll even be able to leave behind a positive impact.