Back to Programs

Business Volunteering Abroad

Are you a bright-eyed wanderluster ready to explore the world? Or are you more business-minded, ready to buckle-down and begin your career? Maybe you’re a mixture of both? No matter which category you claim, these personality types can find harmony in a rewarding, resume-building business volunteer project abroad. Business volunteering is a great way to gain real-world experience, see a new place, and help out an organization with your business skills while you are at it!

Why Volunteer in Business Abroad

There is a lot to see and do in this big, beautiful world, but sometimes those drab cubicle walls can seem a bit like a trap. It is easy to feel like a break from the traditional 9-to-5 will lead to a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out!) on valuable time in your career. However, there are many meaningful travel opportunities that will not leave a gaping hole in your resume! For students and recent graduates, a professional volunteer placement is the perfect liaison between the “real world” and seeing the world.

When it comes to business volunteering abroad, you can choose from many different areas of business. Especially if you are still trying to find your niche (aren’t we all?!), business volunteering can be a great way to get a “trial run” in different roles without long term commitment. Business volunteers can gain valuable international work experience that will jazz up their resume, and inspire new ways of thinking and problem solving.

Speaking of your career, volunteer experience is already a highly coveted section on resumes (employers eat it up!), because it shows that you are an altruistic person with initiative. With a business-related volunteering - ding, ding, ding! - that is the sound of a winning combination on your resume.

Business today is all about globalization and intercultural communication. By volunteering in business abroad, you’ll be proving to employers that you have both the business skills and cultural awareness to be successful in today’s workplace. Not to mention, business volunteering will also help you build an international network that could help you land your future dream job.

Locations

There is no shortage of volunteer organizations around the world, which can make it challenging to narrow down your choices and choose the best place and placement for you. Consider these questions when trying to decide the best way for you to volunteer abroad in business: is there a certain cause that you are passionate about? Is there an area of the world that is high on your travel bucket list? Is networking with international business gurus a top priority? If you still aren’t sure, here are a couple of the top countries to become a business volunteer abroad to get you started, too! 

South Africa. As a business volunteer in South Africa, the work you do will directly impact the community that you are serving. Many business volunteer programs in South Africa involve helping South Africans with everything from business development to conservation activities. Business volunteers in South Africa will work closely with locals, helping to develop their small businesses, teaching entrepreneurship and best business practices, so they will be able to support themselves long-term. The modern day “teach a man to fish” is “teach a man business skills!”. Cape Town is home to many business volunteer placements like this, and is also a great setting for your next adventure abroad. Cape Town offers all the benefits of a developed city, along with natural landscape and beaches surrounding it. After a hard-day’s work you can hike up to Table Mountain (don’t worry, there is a cable car too!) for a beautiful view overlooking Camps Bay.

England. Not only is London known for being a hub for international business, but it is also home to many NGOs. This mixture will give business volunteers exposure to the more traditional corporate business networks, while volunteering with great organizations hoping to make a difference in the world. If you are interested in nonprofit management, England is a great place to truly learn the ins and outs of an international organization. England’s proximity to many other European countries allows for easy and accessible European travel options during your free time (Eurotrip, anyone?). 

China. If learning from a culture that is a vital part of global business interests you, then business volunteering in China should definitely be on your list of top destinations. The immersive experience you’ll get as a business volunteer in China will give you the valuable opportunity (for you and your resume!) to boost your cultural awareness and improve communication skills. Many organizations in China will place you in community development, sharing your business skills and coaching locals. Business volunteers in China can usually choose to live either in a rural area or an urban metropolis, like Beijing. Experiences as a business volunteer in China will lead to many marketable bullet points on your resume, along with the chance to explore Asia, and maybe even see a panda or two.

Business Volunteer Programs

The best part about business volunteering abroad is that there is a little something for everyone. There are a range of business volunteer opportunities that allow you to choose from strictly business to more cause-centric placements. As you are choosing the best business volunteer program for you, you’ll want to consider your personal priorities and goals for the experience.

The most popular way to volunteer abroad in business is for charity or nonprofit organizations in microfinance or business development. Each business volunteer program provides a unique business experience that encourages you to improve everything from interpersonal communication skills to project management.

The length of business volunteering abroad is completely flexible, depending on the amount of time you want to spend abroad. Placements can be anywhere from one to two weeks to one to two years. Any length of time volunteering abroad will be a valuable experience, but to truly immerse yourself in the host culture, it is recommended that you participate in a program that is two to four weeks or longer.

Requirements vary between programs, but generally there is a minimum age requirement of 18 years old. Most business volunteer programs provide training, and therefore, do not require previous experience; however, some will ask that you are either currently pursuing or have already graduated with a business-related degree.

Benefits & Challenges

Resume Booster & Beyond. One of the most tangible things you can gain from professional volunteer work abroad are the extra bullet points on your resume. These hard skills will be complemented by experience with cultural communication, teamwork, and problem solving. The knowledge you gain while volunteering in business in an international setting will be extremely marketable for jobs in any field. Business volunteering also opens you up to a network of people that can help you with future opportunities.

Soul Searching. Business volunteering abroad goes far beyond professional development. It will teach you more about yourself and your personal interests, and it is a great way to explore what you are passionate about and find a niche that is important to you. Becoming a business volunteer will also give you some pretty nice pictures to hang on that cubicle wall someday!

The Hard Part. There are some challenges that come with business volunteer work abroad (like, how to pick a country when you can go almost anywhere?!). Seriously though, business volunteering abroad will take a lot of energy and dedication. You may not have a lot of experience in the particular business field you choose, so there may be a lot of formal and informal training along the way. All of the hard work will be worth it as you reflect on an amazing cultural experience and the impact you had on the local community. 

Contrary to popular belief, you can have it all. Getting out and seeing the world does not mean you have to completely abandon your career. When you volunteer abroad in business, you have the chance to explore, learn, and gain marketable skills all at the same time.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To

Business Volunteering Abroad

READ ARTICLE

 Find Business Volunteer Programs Abroad Now

Save

This listing has been saved 68 times

At the turtle project, volunteers assist Costa Rican biologists with their work and research at the beach. Volunteers help with studies and protection work of the sea turtles, and with the sustainable egg harvesting programs. Volunteers live in one of three beach locations around Costa Rica and must be prepared to work hard. Living conditions are basic and volunteers work shifts (days and ni...

Save

This listing has been saved 389 times

-Location The Thanda Game Reserve in northern Zululand, South Africa, is 14,000 hectares of pristine bush and is home to Africa's infamous Big 5 including Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Black and White Rhino and many other key animals as well as over 400 species of birds. -About the project Staying on the Thanda Game Reserve gives volunteers opportunities to be involved in a variety of...

Save

This listing has been saved 243 times

Love Volunteers has been trusted by thousands of volunteers to travel abroad and immerse themselves in new cultures, whilst providing help where it is really needed. Join us on an affordable, safe and responsible Business voluntary service project for a truly memorable experience! Check out our exciting program options!

Save

This listing has been saved 158 times

GVI

Play a hands-on role in the long-term conservation of African wildlife on this expedition. Enjoy first-class wildlife viewing and live on a game reserve in the heart of Southern Africa. This conservation expedition gives you the opportunity to participate in wildlife monitoring projects. You will learn how to radio track, and possibly get involved with the darting and fitting of radio tracking ...

Save

This listing has been saved 163 times

Ecuador has been named by ecologists as one of the world’s “megadiversity hotspots” and is one of the most species-rich countries on earth. The Galapagos Islands are 1000km (621mi) off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Due to their isolation, the islands are home to many unique species of flora and fauna. This uniquely evolved wildlife is famous for helping Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evoluti...

Save

This listing has been saved 3 times

On the west coast of Africa lies a beautiful country with expanses of wilderness and coastline: Ghana, meaning "Warrior King," is a place known for its warm national character, where visitors are always welcomed as friends. Above all, the Ghanaians are peaceful, caring, and hospitable. Volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions and you'll experience not only the great things Ghana is famous for...

Save

This listing has been saved 48 times

Assist in the conservation efforts of the Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve by monitoring wildlife and conducting important research. The loss of wildlife in the area has been devastating in recent years due to increased human settlement in and around the Masai Mara. As a wildlife volunteer, you will go out on research drives to do game counts, document big cat sighting...

Save

This listing has been saved 15 times

Medical and healthcare projects provide volunteers the opportunity to work in hospitals, clinics, assisted living, and other healthcare facilities. Volunteers work alongside doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical professionals. Depending on your medical experience and Spanish language skills, volunteers will have a number of responsibilities including: shadow a doctor or nurse, assist w...

Save

This listing has been saved 27 times

Volunteer in a lion breeding and rehabilitation project in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, with Kaya Responsible Travel. The project, supported by some of the world's leading ecologists, has three stages: pre-release, release, and post-release. First, lions are taught survival and instinctive skills they need in the wild. Next, lions are released into a semi-wild environment to hone their hunting skil...

Save

This listing has been saved 131 times

Work as a Connect-123 volunteer in one of the many non-profits, clinics, hospitals and schools we work with in Dublin. There are a range of different areas to choose from where you can apply your specific set of skills to projects that are important to you. Areas of opportunity include education, conservation, health care, microfinance and community development and many more. Tell us your main ...

Save

This listing has been saved 143 times

CrossContinental offers affordable intern abroad, volunteer abroad, culture/language immersion programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Gain hands-on experience, improve your resume, enhance cultural understanding, and build global network. Stay with a host family for culture and language immersion.

Save

This listing has been saved 22 times

Adelante Abroad offers low cost volunteer programs in a wide variety of fields and causes (listed below) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Volunteers can work for up to 12 months and programs are offered year round. Programs are customizable; you'll be paired with organizations in need of specific skills while allowing you to reach your academic and career goals. Oaxaca is one of the most biodiverse ar...

Save

This listing has been saved 152 times

Work with an international community development volunteer project in Uganda. Participants work with a grassroots community-based organization focused on improving the quality of life through a wide variety of community development initiatives, including adult education programs, income-generation activities, such as poultry and livestock rearing, HIV/AIDS education, construction projects, and ...

Save

This listing has been saved 4 times

Our real Asia Volunteer Experience is an English teaching program takes you to Kolkata in East India and Phang Na in Southern Thailand. This program allows you to experience two completely different cultures and gives you the chance to explore two amazing destinations within the realms of one single teaching program. Taking a combined program with Volunteering Journey allows you to get twice th...

Save

This listing has been saved 20 times

We have a great volunteer place for you! Provide a genuine service while learning about this captivating South Pacific culture - for one to three weeks. Our NGO host partner on the main island of Rarotonga directs our work to help bolster literacy, elder care and social services in several settings. Your "helping hands" help deliver essential services to the island's youth and adults! Globa...