Volunteer Abroad in Goa

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Goa

A tropical destination widely seen as a sandy, sunny playground for both foreigners and Indians alike, Goa may initially strike potential volunteers as a peculiar place to lend their time. Despite the affluence of the state, opportunities to volunteer in Goa are truly boundless, and incredibly diverse. Due to longtime Portuguese rule that ended only a few decades ago, the state now represents a beautiful marriage between Eastern and Western cultures, forging one of India’s most unique ports of call. Finally get those chakras aligned and consider volunteer work in Goa, India!

What you need to know to volunteer abroad in Goa, India

Volunteering in Goa won’t be a cakewalk, and may very well be one of the most difficult experiences of your life. However, it will also be one of the most defining! Choose carefully where in Goa you would like to volunteer, as there is a well-known variance between the booze-soaked north versus the more peaceful south. 

Popular causes and program types in Goa. When you volunteer in Goa, you can choose a cause that’s close to your heart, or go where you’re needed most and potentially discover a new passion. All over India, volunteers are needed in education and teaching, and for helping orphans in local shelters — the situation is no different in Goa. Closely related and equally as important are programs in child care.

Another area where your time and dedication is in high demand? Health care, and working with AIDS in particular. While HIV infections thankfully continue to decline in India, Indians still make up the third-largest HIV/AIDS population in the world.

Amongst the lush jungles and azure sea, animal welfare, wildlife, and conservation could all benefit from your time in Goa. Stray dogs sadly run rampant across the country, while the environment continues to suffer from pollution, lack of public sanitation services, and tourist activities. 

Short term volunteer programs in Goa. Programs ranging from two to four weeks, and up to three months, are the most available for volunteer work in Goa, India, and downright affordable. They are also popular options for those who can only commit to a short-term visa, and may still want to leave enough time to see the rest of India on their own. A carefully-timed project during shoulder season in April or September would mean avoiding pesky tourists, and getting to experience a more authentic Goa.

Long term volunteer projects in Goa. Programs of a longer duration are limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your talents elsewhere once your placement in Goa ends! India is in dire need of selfless volunteers who will truly commit themselves to making a difference in the country, and the easiest way to achieve this is by spending seven to twelve months (or longer!) working on your project. Don’t forget that a year in Goa also means enduring monsoon season from June to September.

Life in Goa for International Volunteers

While volunteering in Goa, life will be sweeter than the Masala tea with which you start each day, complete with yoga by sunrise and spice markets by sunset. Here you will find a more laid back lifestyle than in other major parts of India. Accommodation for volunteers will almost certainly include volunteer housing with others in your program, presenting you with a great opportunity to make new friends! Some programs offer homestays for those seeking a more culturally immersive experience.

The visa process for stays longer than 30 days is more in-depth than that for a month-long visa, but your volunteer program should help you sort your visa out and inspect the fine print that comes along with an extended stay in India. Talk to your embassy or consulate for more information. 

During your downtime, dig around the countless flea markets in Goa — honorable mentions include the Anjuna Flea Market and the Mapusa market. Spice up your life and check out the Sahakari Spice Farm, too.

Despite some high profile horror stories involving tourists in recent years, Goa is generally safe for volunteers who remain vigilant against scammers and unsavory characters. Men and women alike should avoid traveling alone after dark, especially in isolated areas and deserted beaches.

By the way, if you volunteer in Goa, monkeys will be an inevitable part of life. They are cute as a button, but totally ruthless. Don’t provoke them!

GoAbroad’s Insider Tips for international volunteers in Goa, India

Volunteers should be aware of the health risks involved with travel to India. Consider typhoid and polio vaccines, and be aware that a yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry depending on your previous travels, even though there is no risk of contracting the illness in India. Be smart if you choose a project working outdoors while volunteering in Goa — some mosquitoes in India carry malaria (the risk is variable in Goa) and dengue fever (which has no vaccine), and ticks may also be present.

Stay hydrated, my friends, and drink bottled water only. Be prepared for some intense belly aches, too. For Westerners, it’s not a matter of if, butt when.

Start practicing your best smile, or how to say “no.” Requests from locals for selfies are relentless, and sometimes extremely overwhelming.

Volunteering abroad in this tiny, paradisiacal corner of the Indian subcontinent packs a powerful punch to the senses that will leave your head spinning in the best way possible. Namaste, beaches!

Keep reading — You’ll love our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in India!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Goa


 Find Volunteer Programs in Goa Now


This listing has been saved 7 times

India - Road Trip India

Explore the diverse culture through traveling through four different states in India! This project allows for eco-friendly tourism as well as a variety of volunteer placement options. Spend the first 3 weeks of your trip experiencing the best India has to offer, from Delhi to Jaisalmer and everywhere in between. After this sensory and cultural expedition you will head to Southern district of G...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Experience India Tour - Volunteering

Participate in the Kaya Responsible Travel Experience India Tour and learn about the real India. The tour encompasses charm, culture, and care over four wonderful weeks where participants will be able to see the sights and get a taste of volunteering. The tour involves many different exciting experiences, including a visit to a number of famous Indian landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, a chance ...


This listing has been saved 4 times

India Road Trip

As a country of cultural beauty and vibrant character, India has become one of the most desirable destinations of recent times to travel and volunteer. Its sheer size, dynamic and hospitable population, and fascinating scenery and wildlife combine to form the mystical and magnificent land that it is today. With such a wide variety of excursions, activities and trips available in India it ca...


This listing has been saved 101 times

Volunteer World: Best Volunteer Abroad Programs Worldwide

Looking to apply your talent and expertise to a good cause? Find a program that matches your interests and skills through Volunteer World! We are the largest volunteer abroad comparison platform around the globe, enabling you to seek and compare offers from major travel agencies as well as smaller grassroots NGOs and local specialists in more than 80 countries. All these with just one click! ...


This listing has been saved 4 times

Explore India: CHI's Volunteer and Internship Opportunities!

As a World Explorer in India, you will have the opportunity of a lifetime to get to know the country and its people through various volunteer volunteer and internship opportunities. CHI works with its trusted partner to arrange 11 different types of volunteer opportunities and 26 different types of international internships in Jaipur, the Himalayas and Goa. Our partner offers a variety of vo...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Volunteer in India with World Endeavors

World Endeavors offers several enriching volunteer programs. Volunteers in each project have the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with local community members, making for a rewarding and enriching experience. Our program provides participants with the opportunity to connect with locals at both their placement site and during the their time at their home-stay.


This listing has been saved 13 times

Yoga, Sustainability, and Development - Volunteer in India!

Volunteers For Peace, a Vermont-based nonprofit organization, organizes volunteer projects around the world every year. Throughout India, VFP offers about 130 projects in communities each year. Projects include 2-3 week short-term projects with a group of international volunteers from four or more countries as well as long-term independent volunteer projects for one month up to one year. These ...


William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India

The William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India is an immersive, 10-month volunteer service program matching young professionals with development organizations. Fellows work on scalable and sustainable development projects in the fields of education, livelihoods, technology and innovation, and public health. The fellowship is helping to shape the next generation of leaders committed t...


This listing has been saved 11 times

Do Meaningful Volunteer Work in India

Participating in volunteer projects in India is an excellent way to become more engaged with the local culture while at the same time providing direct and personal opportunities to contribute constructively. It has never been so easy to make a useful contribution to our world and have the time of your life doing it! Many volunteer programs declare themselves authentic and beneficial for loca...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer - Sanitation and Water Project Campaign

Heeals provides internship and volunteering opportunities that offer a unique mechanism that lets individuals take on an important role in the program and organizational development. The organization offers various activities that cater to professionals and students alike. Living in Heeals allows volunteers from around the world to not only work together, but also to spend time exploring div...