The beach city of Valencia sparkles like a firecracker during their yearly festival; the locals are busy creating enormous flammable statues and lighting them on fire during all-night parties. If you are looking to volunteer in Valencia, don’t be fooled by the wild festival though – the rest of the year, the city is a vibrant picture of Spain’s unique combination of deep-running family connections and the laid-back attitude of the coast. International volunteers find meaningful projects and unforgettable new friends when they choose sunny Valencia as their volunteering destination.
Popular Ways to Volunteer in Valencia
Spain, including Valencia, was impacted by the recessions in the past decade — volunteers like you can be part of continually rebuilding the prosperity of the city and the happiness of the people living in Valencia.
Popular causes and projects. Language exchange volunteering is a great way to spend your time volunteering in Valencia, as is teaching language and literacy skills. Valencia is also known for their ecological conservation projects that are available to volunteers given the immense biological diversity of the region in the temperate climate; most of these projects focus on marine conservation, which is no surprise when you take into account the plentiful nearby coastline. Opportunities to have an impact on children in the local community are also available, allowing you to get to know the next generation of Spaniards.
Short term volunteer programs in Valencia. A short term volunteer program, lasting only a few months, allows you to get more life experience while also getting to know a new place. Less than 90 day stays in Spain usually don’t require a visa, so aiming for a short term trip shorter than this can result in fewer delays and paperwork. Staying for the summer or for even just a few weeks can concentrate your attention on the excitement of the city during a particular part of the year.
Long term volunteer projects. Volunteering as a long-term part of a team with a Valencian non-profit organization or other community organization for more than three months can create lasting memories due to making more friends and seeing some of your projects come to a conclusion. Some programs even go for a year or more! You may need to acquire a visa, so be sure to start planning a long-term volunteer program a few months ahead of time, and to make arrangements for a roof over your head for the whole stay.
Life in Valencia for Volunteers
You may choose to spend your time as a volunteer in Valencia in a homestay, getting to know a local family and sharing your own culture as well. Homestays are an insider’s view of the home life of a city, and Valencia is no different; staying in a homestay might help you dig into some amazing Valencian paella, and is a great opportunity to learn where to get the best seafood and freshest fruit. The culture is warmly hospitable, so you’re likely to enjoy sharing space. However, private accommodations are also available to make your stay while volunteering in Valencia a pleasant one.
Valencia is in a temperate zone, but be warned that many Spanish workers take the month of August off and come to the coast — watch for crowded beaches of sunbathers! Even if you have already learned Spanish, be open to learning more dialectical aspects and slang words as you get to know those with whom you are volunteering. Lastly, many residents of the big city will also have a “village” on the outskirts or farther. It’s a real treat is to be invited for Sunday lunch in the countryside, where life moves slower and meals can take hours and be filled with conversation.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Valencia, like other cities in modern Spain, still observes a break in the middle of the afternoon for lunch and siesta, the famous post-lunch snooze time. You might grow to love it during the hot summer months!
Valencian residents speak Spanish, but if you hear another language among the locals, it could be Valenciano, a local language with roots that connect it to other Latin-based languages in the area. Linguistic diversity shouldn’t daunt you – those who speak Valenciano, especially in the city itself, are almost always bilingual.
Keep an eye out for Moorish architecture and design while volunteering in Valencia; there was a time when Arabic influences in the Iberian peninsula resulted in a fascinating melding of design and food, which continues in the traditions of the coastal and Southern regions of Spain till modern day. The summers can be a little warm, but the locals know how to survive: plenty of gelato, shaded avenues in the many parks, and trips to the beach for a dip in the waves!
Valencia is just the place if you want to have an impact on environment, language learners, and many other groups represented in this breezy Spanish city. Volunteering in Valencia might be your first bite of the Iberian Peninsula, but it certainly won’t be your last.
Need more ideas? Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Spain.