Volunteer Abroad in Summer

A Guide To

Summer Volunteering Abroad

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491 Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs

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The communities of Nepal suffered a huge set-back in early 2015 when they were struck by a series of devastating earthquakes. Nepal has been in a good space to receive volunteers and tourists for some time now, however rebuilding has been slow and there is still a need for assistance in this area - especially within the education and healthcare sectors. Work is hands-on and changes depending on...

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If you believe that every child has the right to an education, then this program is for you! The level of education in Laos is not what it should be and volunteers are integral to bridging the gaps and breaking the cycle of poverty by offering youth a chance for self-improvement. This program places international volunteers into various centers where they will engage and share their knowledg...

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The coral reefs and mangrove swamps on the coast of Thailand are stunning places and they're doing well. They are threatened though. Threatened by fishing, by tourism, by shrimp farms and by climate change. But for now you can still dive and explore them in all their splendor. Join our Conservation & Environment project in Ao Nang and the first thing that you'll be doing is learning how to s...

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Adelante Abroad offers several opportunities to intern, volunteer or study abroad during the Summer. Programs can begin between May until August, with flexible start dates, length of programs, and destination choices. Interns can choose to work from one to twelve months if interested in staying beyond August. Countries available for our interns and volunteers include Spain (Madrid, Barcelon...

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Like any third world country, the Philippines suffers from diseases due to poor hygiene and sanitation brought about by poor awareness programs. This is one of the major issues the country needs to face, and come up with solutions to. A lot of people in rural areas cannot afford to pay for medicines and regular medical check-ups. Volunteer for the Visayans is reaching out to those in need of...

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ELI

If you are fluent in English or French and want to experience Moroccan culture, there is no better way than by sharing your language skills with the youth of Morocco. No teaching experience is required, and you'll be amazed how fun teaching a language can be. Your eager students will be excited to see you each day, and with your help they'll be learning a skill that will benefit them throughout...

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If you would like to go on a Frontier project in Fiji and are ready to organise a group of friends to go with you, our Group Leaders Program could be perfect for you. As a group leader, you could earn your placement for free, and even have your flight costs paid for you. A successful placement as a group leader also looks great on your resume, and demonstrates organisation, commitment and drive...

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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...

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Spend your summer volunteering abroad at a summer camp in Italy! Work to teach English language skills and tutor those in need of help as you embrace the beautiful culture of Italy. This unique program allows you to travel around Italy and explore the country and culture in depth on the weekends, making the most of your free time. All you need to do is volunteer just 20 hours a week, Monday thr...

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Help reduce the human-carnivore conflict in a remote area of Namibia, home to cheetah, leopard and hyena. Monitor the progress of released cheetah and leopard in a spectacular setting, and get back to basics as you live in Namibia's most stunning and diverse wilderness areas. We offer two truly worthwhile carnivore research programmes, suitable for volunteers who want to support the conserva...

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Vermont-based Volunteers For Peace (VFP) has been collaborating with community and grassroots organizations in Haiti for over 15 years! Our focus is on education, access to clean water, and environmental conservation through the lens of cultural exchange. Our projects work to empower local leaders, provide meaningful activities for children, and leave behind sustainable projects in the communit...

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About this project: Volunteers work four to six hours a day in an after-school center or local public school to help teachers teach basic to intermediate English to children ranging from 5 to 18. The courses are either part of the children’s regular coursework or extracurricular. Volunteers work with the local teachers to develop lesson plans, lead classes and implement learning activities like...

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Volunteer placements available in the areas of: Child care, Coaching, Construction/Maintenance, Environment/Ecology, Medical/Health/Nutrition, Social Justice, Teaching/Tutoring

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Shadow doctors 20+ hours a week in Spain through the Atlantis Fellowship. 1-8 week Fellowships during winter, spring, or summer breaks.

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London is not only a popular travel destination, but also a smart choice for those looking to add an international experience to their resume. Panrimo offers the best STEM placements in Copenhagen. Students and young professionals can intern in nearly every Engineering field, Geology, Physics, Chemistry - we offer them all! Housed in fully-furnished apartments with easy access to public transp...

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Summer Volunteering Abroad

Mention that you’re going to spend your summer at a beach in Sicily, and people are going to consider you a beach bum with a taste for spaghetti and fancy wine. Add that you’re going to teach children English or conduct marine research on octopuses, and you become a respected hero. So, add a sprinkle of altruism to your summer vacation and volunteer abroad. Not only will you feel better about yourself, pick up a few new skills, impress future employers and colleges, and potentially learn a new language, but you will also make the world a better place (while still indulging in gelato or slurping piña coladas on the beach).

Why Volunteer Abroad in Summer

Summer volunteer programs leave participants with more than just a nice tan and a memory card of high-resolution photos. By partaking in a meaningful activity when others are lounging on couches and front porches, sipping lemonade, you’ll be on the way to personal betterment and resume building.

Volunteering abroad is great for learning flexibility, working hard, perfecting old skills, developing new ones, and learning humility. By spending a few weeks of your summer helping others, you’ll see the benefits reflected in your health and mindset. You’ll grow as a person, you’ll see the world, you’ll become more understanding, and you’ll realize that your own problems are probably not as big as you thought they were. By putting global issues into perspective, you’ll realize that, before all, we’re all human, and that goodness is still very much alive.

Personal benefits aside, the professional advantages are numerous as well. Not only do summer volunteer programs demonstrate that you pursue something for other than monetary gain, but it shows that you are a global citizen with great communication skills and a genuine interest in a field. Use this to your advantage, whether you are expanding your resume in a particular field or wanting to dip your toes into an entirely new topic. Not to mention that, in a world intertwined by people and personal connections, you can make business contacts while lending a helping hand.

Locations

There are people to help, schools to build, and animals to save all over the world. How does one even begin to pick a location for summer volunteering abroad? It’s recommended to examine which type of environment most floats your boat and decide on what kinds of project placements you’d like to lend a hand in.

Southeast Asia. Soak up the sun on white beaches, book a couple of massages, and live the high life in this part of the world (when not busy saving lives, of course). Befriend (komodo) dragons in Indonesia or gawk at the world’s largest religious monument in Cambodia. Sing along with the happy locals that invented karaoke in The Philippines, or chill with Buddha and crocodiles in the “Land of the Free,” Thailand. Most of these countries focus on community service, animal conservation, and English-teaching volunteer placements and offer plenty of relaxation options when off the clock.

South America. Keep in mind that seasons are going to be flipped here, so pack a jacket in addition to the bikini. Then, layer up and tackle a hike through Patagonia in Chile or drive through the salt flats in Bolivia. Brush up on your tango in Argentina (the bottles of cheap and delicious wine will help) or learn basic cumbia steps in Colombia (here, opt for the coffee to keep you going all night long). South American summer volunteer programs are vast, with many dedicated to environmental work and education. Feel small in big places and tickle your taste buds with South America’s expansive nature, flavorful cuisine, and sense of community.

Eastern Europe. There’s more to Europe than touristic monuments, tapas, and beer festivals. Eastern Europe is often overshadowed by its Western counterpart, which is when it comes to offering many summer volunteer placements in cheaper, more authentic, countries. Taste all of the borsch varieties in Ukraine, tip-toe around Dracula’s Transylvanian kingdom in Romania, and hit up the beaches in the budding Baltic countries: Lithuania and Estonia. Hospitality is top-notch and national cuisines are hearty as you get involved with construction projects and school positions.

Summer Volunteer Programs Abroad

There’s almost as many summer volunteer programs abroad as there are countries and people in the world. Ideally, you should focus on your interests and skills, but there’s also nothing wrong with trying something new. Below are some of the most common fields for summer volunteering:

Disaster Relief. From natural disasters that strike to refugee crises, there’s an entire population of people forced out of their homes. This field is commonly understaffed, but always in high demand. If you want to give immediate aid or are pursuing social work, disaster relief is high in rewards and commitment.

Medicine. Nurses, doctors, dentists, and the health-conscious are great candidates for summer volunteering in the medical field. Some placements are at hospitals, while other occur in field clinics. There’s also high need for volunteers to help with physically or mentally disabled children, and preventative health care is a rising field.

Animal Welfare. If you would like to improve the animal kingdom a bit, try a hand in animal conservation projects. Popular summer volunteer placements include monitoring the nesting of sea turtles, marine preservation, and wildlife reserves. Be a cool cat while befriending a few feisty felines during your summer abroad.

Orphans. Who doesn’t love chubby babies? If you are one of the rare few, this field isn’t for you. However, for those that enjoy playtime, sticky hands, and the reward of a child’s eternal love, working in an orphanage or day care is a noble (and heartbreaking and fun) way to spend your summer. 

While language barriers shouldn’t keep you from pursuing any sort of summer volunteer work, it is always recommended and encouraged to at least pick up the basics of the local language. The necessity of this varied across the board, but it’s definitely easier to communicate with children and comfort refugees when there is a common tongue.

Tips & Advice for Summer Volunteering

While the advantages of summer volunteering abroad are many, there’s a few things to consider:

Weather. Remember that seasons are the opposite in different parts of the hemisphere; when it’s summer in Europe, it’s winter in Australia. Also, keep in mind that some temperatures can get quite extreme during the summer. For example, camel work in the Moroccan dessert might be more enjoyable in another season…

Tourists. Summer is when the entire world is traveling, so keep in mind that transportation prices are higher and places more crowded. For more authentic experiences with more room to move around, opt for smaller, less popular locations.

Time Commitment. Volunteer programs tend to be very flexible with their start and end dates, especially when enrolling directly with the program. Obviously, shorter time commitments cost less, but you might not make the same degree of difference in the world (or upon yourself). Balance financial accounts with impact value!

Summer Vacation. While the main point of going abroad to volunteer is to…well, volunteer, remember to take time for yourself as well. Especially if working in an emotionally-draining or mentally-intense field, take a couple of transition days to relax and recover. Or, just add a fun excursion to the beginning or end of your summer volunteer trip to balance fun with work!

Benefits & Challenges

Volunteering is versatile and the world is large, but many altruistic placements take you out of the comfort of your home and throw you headfirst into a healthy plunge of culture shock. Since most summer volunteer programs aren’t located in the Westernized world (which all kind of merges into a comfortable, unified mass), there’s bound to be cultural quirks, strange practices, and new lifestyles to adapt to. Remember that, as a volunteer, it’s not your job to “save” anyone or “improve” communities with Western thinking. Remain humble, adapt, and learn to co-exist.

Since many summer volunteer programs, especially those focusing on nursing, social work, and disaster relief, are located in third-world countries ravished by war, corruption, and natural disasters, daily lifestyle is drastically different than the comforts of home. Come with a strong pair of hands, but an even stronger heart, as the psychological effects of meaningful volunteer experiences can be quite traumatic. This is good though; it opens our eyes to the reality of the world and inspires a greater sense of involvement.

Enjoy the luxury of a long break from school (or work, if you’re a teacher!), and make your summer vacation more meaningful than just weekend pool parties and a summer job at the closest supermarket. No matter the age, duration, or interest, summer volunteer opportunities abound and can turn anyone into a hero for a couple of days, weeks, or months. Make a positive thumb print on the world while working on your tan!

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