London is the archetypal global city, a sprawling metropolis where inhabitants from all over the world come together and live at center of the world stage. With an overflowing wealth of historical and artistic attractions, unique neighborhoods, and fun leisure time activities, you will never get tired of exploring all that London has to offer. After volunteering abroad in London, you will leave proudly, with a sense of accomplishment that you left behind a positive impact on one of the world’s greatest cities.
Volunteer Programs in London
One nice thing about volunteering in London is that it is the capital of an English speaking country. This means that as an English speaker, you will enjoy access to a huge variety of local volunteer opportunities that might not be available in countries where the language barrier hinders your communication with city residents. There are hundreds of volunteer organizations spread out around London working in a large variety of areas, so the odds are good that you will be able to find a volunteer placement which is focused on your interests.
If you decide to apply for a volunteer program in London, placements are usually focused around the areas of education, childcare, and community development. There is a large subpopulation of Londoners that do not have access to many basic social services and depend on the goodwill of volunteers for help and care. Leading workshops at a community center, working at an orphanage, or helping in a center for people with disabilities are just a few of the many roles you could take on.
Volunteer programs in London last from just a few weeks to six months, and allow participants the freedom to designate their own timing and length of stay. Since London winters can be cold and dreary, many volunteers opt to volunteer in London in the summer time to enjoy a brighter side of the city. Combining your volunteering in London with travel throughout the country and continent is always a great idea too!
Life in London
London has a little bit of everything for everybody. From the world class museums to the sweeping public parks to the multitude of pubs and theaters, there is always something to do in London no matter what your leisure time interests. You can start by checking out the Tower of London, British Museum, and National Gallery for a fast introduction to the history and culture of the city, and end by taking a long stroll along the River Thames and a ride on the London Eye as the sun sets over the cityscape. Sounds pretty good, right?
Getting around London is no problem at all. The London Tube is the oldest and one of the largest metro systems in the world. Millions of passengers ride the Tube everyday and it will take you most places you need to go in the city quickly and efficiently. There is also a good public bus system and you can always catch a taxi if you’re not feeling public transportation. London has a ton of distinct neighborhoods worth checking out so explore as much of the city as possible as a volunteer abroad in London!
Keep in mind that London is a very expensive city to live in. While your volunteer program in London might cover some part of your room and board, costs of living around town can hike up to take a toll on your wallet. Don’t worry though, if you shop locally and take advantage of all of London’s free entertainment then you should be fine!
Accommodation & Visas
Affordable housing is challenging to come by in London, as the city continues to struggle finding room for its increasing influx of inhabitants. It will be an added bonus if your volunteer program in London organizes housing so that you do not have to worry about securing your own place, if not then subletting a single room of an apartment is a good way to go. Many volunteer opportunities in London will also offer you the option of a homestay, which can be great way to experience authentic British culture.
England has a fairly relaxed visa policy. Volunteers coming from many countries will not need a visa unless they plan to volunteer abroad in London for more than six months. There are exceptions however, so check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information about England’s visa policy toward your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Volunteering abroad in London is a great opportunity to experience life in one of the world’s most famous and important cities while giving back your time and effort to make it a better place for all. As a leading global city you will experience a concentrated melting pot of cultural influences from all over the world in London, making it the perfect place to see diversity of life and raise your cultural IQ. Volunteering in London will be hard work at times, but your efforts will pay off as you will gain a tremendous experience and personal growth.