Volunteer in Parks Abroad

Back to Programs

Volunteering Abroad in Parks

From early morning swims in crystal clear waters to summiting the once far-in-the-distance mountain top to falling asleep under a blanket of stars, there’s something special about parks. If you’re gung-ho for the great outdoors and have a burning desire to make a positive impact on the world, you might want to consider volunteering in parks abroad. There’s no better way to enjoy pristine destinations while helping to ensure the wilderness will be enjoyed by generations to come. À la Donna and Tom from Parks and Rec, “treat yo-self” to an awesome time in these woodsy community spaces as a park volunteer.

Why Volunteer in Parks Abroad

So you know you want to volunteer abroad, but you haven’t nailed down your focus. Organizations around the globe with limited resources and funding depend on park volunteers to maintain their unique missions. Volunteering in parks is a good option for people who enjoy adventure, don’t mind rubbing elbows with woodland creatures, and secretly (or not-so-secretly) like having a little dirt under their fingernails.

When you choose to volunteer in parks abroad, you are choosing to contribute to the future of our planet. If you are interested in entering into the wildlife management or conservation fields, your experiences abroad will make you equipped with knowledge to implement the skills you learned when you return home. Additionally, students studying environmental science will be better equipped to narrow their career paths after gaining experience in the field in different areas of interest. 

When you step away from your natural surroundings and the comforts of home, your eyes will be opened to new and creative ways of thinking. Whether your work as a parks volunteer includes conducting wildlife research, participating in studies to protect endangered species, or learning techniques to preserve biodiversity, you’ll gain knowledge and experience that will benefit you as well as the country you choose to spend your time in. And when you return home, you will be a more attractive candidate for jobs in your field of interest!


There are hundreds of locations to volunteer in parks abroad. It is important to do thorough research to determine what location would be the best fit for the goal you hope to achieve from your volunteer experience. 

The Mountains. Asia and North America are amongst the most popular locations for volunteering in parks abroad, each offering a wide range of volunteer opportunities in mountainous parks. Beast K2 and fight off invasive species all in one day (OK, that might not actually be possible). Popular parks volunteer destinations include the United States and Nepal.

The Coast. If you prefer a coastal destination, you might consider volunteering in Central America or Oceania, in particular the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica. Not only would you be contributing to worthwhile conservation efforts, you could participate in world class bungee jumping, surfing, or whale and dolphin watching in your free time. 

The Desert. If you’re drawn to desert climates, Africa has a multitude of unique volunteer opportunities in parks. To make things even better, you’ll get to experience African culture firsthand. If you become a parks volunteer in Zimbabwe, you’ll have opportunities to explore the world-famous Victoria Falls, Matobo National Park, and the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe.  

Certain locations need parks volunteers more than others. Although it is important to make your decision based on what is best for your particular situation, you might want to consider spending your time volunteering in parks in a location that needs the most help. What better way to make a true difference in the world, and in the process find out what you are made, then by a life-changing volunteer experience?

Volunteer Opportunities in Parks

Once you have determined that you want to volunteer in parks and have narrowed down your location, it is time to choose your focus. Depending on your interests, there are many causes to choose from.

Education. Provide education to schools and tourists for preserving land for future inhabitants. Work with community groups to ensure ecologically friendly programming is the “norm” rather than the exception, and challenge tourists to make choices that will benefit the Earth. Take part in teaching local children about their natural surroundings and the environment so they will understand the importance protecting and preserving animals. 

Wildlife Reparation. Become immersed in a wide array of activities, including endangered species research or bird surveys, by supporting wildlife residing in parks abroad. You could also take part in conservation workshops and events in the community or teach anti poaching education to villagers.

Trail Maintenance. We all love a good hike, and it turns out, those trails weren’t put there by accident! Trails are the result of many hours of hard labor from volunteers and land-lovers alike. Give back to adventure by helping others find theirs through this type of volunteering in parks.

Be willing to commit to an extended stay as a parks volunteer if at all possible. Although, most parks volunteer programs have short-term as well as long-term projects. You might not have the flexibility to stay in your country longer than a couple of weeks, but if you can stay a few months to a year you will gain the greatest understanding of cultural needs, and in return help the success of the overall project. You do not necessarily need specific experience in order to become a parks volunteer abroad, all you need is a burning desire for adventure and making a difference.

Benefits & Challenges

No matter the field or location you decide on, volunteering in parks abroad can have a lasting positive impact on your future for years to come. If you are preparing to apply to colleges, you can use your experiences abroad to gain acceptance by showcasing the skills you have already learned in the field. Parks volunteer experience is also a great asset for your resume, as many companies seek out employees who have foreign language skills and hands-on experience that cannot be learned in the classroom. You will have an advantage over other candidates and you will have gained amazing experiences on a personal level as well by immersing yourself into a new culture, helping you grow as an individual.

It is important to allow yourself enough time to gain the full benefit you are seeking from your volunteer experience. In short, time constraints can be challenging. If you are capable of planning an extended stay, it is recommended. A person committing to 10 days as a volunteer in parks abroad won’t have the same overall experience as someone who is able to spend three weeks, one month, or even a year engrossed in the culture. Another challenge might be that once your experience is completed you won’t want to return home.

There is no better way to learn about yourself, others, and the world than by traveling and volunteering. If you have the desire to make a positive impact, then volunteering abroad in parks can open up tons of doors for your future. If you love adventure and the outdoors, parks are a great place to spend your energy and time. You will thank yourself for taking the leap into the unknown and becoming a part of something bigger. Now, “Get Over Yo Self” and let the adventure begin!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To

Volunteering Abroad in Parks


270 Parks Volunteer Abroad Programs


This listing has been saved 50 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...


This listing has been saved 205 times

Love Volunteers has provided thousands of volunteers with the chance to travel abroad and volunteer where help is really needed. Love Volunteers provides safe, responsible, affordable Environmental volunteer programs for volunteers who want a truly memorable experience abroad. Check out our exciting program options!


This listing has been saved 51 times


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 give 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 c...


This listing has been saved 64 times

The Himalayan Mountain Conservation in Nepal program of Projects Abroad is a spectacular opportunity to preserve and enhance the biodiversity in the area. The Himalayas are home to snow leopards, black bears, musk deer, and several bird species, including vultures. Volunteers get involved in activities such as wildlife research, natural resource management, alternative energy projects, communit...


This listing has been saved 9 times

Help improve the lives of underprivileged children and contribute to conservation efforts for the African Lion. Volunteers get the chance to experience the best of both worlds through a project that will open their eyes to the breathtaking beauty, as well as the harshness of Africa. Community Upliftment Volunteers will be involved in various activities, including cooking food and serving ...


This listing has been saved 4 times

If you can’t decide on a travel itinerary when visiting Africa, join our African Marine and Wildlife Volunteer Adventure Tour! This 5 or 9-week program is a combination of adventure activities and volunteering opportunities in various locations: Kruger National Park, Swaziland, and Mozambique. We will start with the Whale Shark Marine Conservation Project wherein you take part in coral reef and...


This listing has been saved 72 times

Whether you're looking for a hands-on, career related internship that will set you apart from the crowd or a chance to use your skills with meaningful volunteer project, Connect-123 provides customized programs that are tailor-made for you. We run programs in five exciting international destinations: Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Shanghai, Dublin and Barcelona! Our year-round, the ground team in...


This listing has been saved 60 times


45 minutes outside of the busy city of Chiang Mai, in the lush hills to the north, is an Elephant Camp. Come learn about the endangered Asian elephant, help with conservation efforts, and become a part of this community! The park has been open for 20 years, has over 70 elephants and roughly 250 workers. It is surrounded by lush mountains and is divided down the middle by a river. This is a ...


This listing has been saved 17 times

We have a great volunteer place for you! Provide a genuine service while learning about this captivating South Pacific culture. 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! Global Volunteers has over 29...


This listing has been saved 15 times

Heredia is a city that is emblematic of the Costa Rican lifestyle. It is located only a short distance away from San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, and offers many big-city amenities, but life in Heredia is decidedly relaxed, calm and enjoyable. The city showcases pleasant plazas, lush green spaces and parks, and friendly people enjoying their days.


This listing has been saved 1 time

UBELONG offers 1 week to 6 month volunteering opportunities in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. In the Amazon, volunteer with UBELONG in an environmental project - explore UBELONG and join the thousands of people who have already become UBELONG Volunteers!


This listing has been saved 17 times

Come and venture to a beautiful island offshore of Sumatra and help conserve it's marine and terrestrial flora and Fauna including Marine Turtles! The Island has been facing some serious issues such as; turtle egg pouching, destructive development plans and unsustainable fishing practices. The main focus of this project is to address those issues as soon as possible to protect and conserve I...


This listing has been saved 25 times

The Intern Group is the leading provider of internship programs in the emerging market of Colombia! We provide international students with internships in top private companies, NGOs and state ministries. Our programs are regularly featured on CNN International and other mainstream media. Apply now for a wonderful experience and propel your professional development! Develop your Spanish langu...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Latitudes = Group Semester Overseas + Volunteer Placement Latitudes is Carpe Diem's seven-month personalized study abroad program that combines a Focused Volunteer Placement (FVP) following participation in a group semester in Central America, South America, East Africa, India, Australia and the South Pacific, or Indigenous America (see our other listings for more information on these group ...


This listing has been saved 6 times

* Conservation: Help in all activities concerning reforestation, impact studies, flora inventory, transport and planting of mature sapling, research studies of mature sapling, value studies, fauna impact studies. - Monitor flora and fauna - Assist in creating an inventory of flora and fauna - Photograph flora and fauna - Manage the ecotourism lodge and Reserve in a sustainable manner ...