Volunteering abroad is becoming a very popular option for meaningful work and travel in developing countries or for social causes anywhere. Some volunteer positions do “pay,” at least room and board, and it may be possible to defer educational loans during a volunteer assignment. For summer work camps or volunteer vacations, apply generally March-May. For long-term volunteer options like the Peace Corps, apply nine to twelve months in advance.
There are many opportunities for students to do non-profit work abroad. Many nonprofit organizations offer potential exposure that other jobs do not because of their unique structure and small size. Students often times are able to perform functions in capacities that would otherwise be reserved for more seasoned employees. Opportunities in the non-profit sector can offer students the opportunity to take on more responsibility and strengthen existing talent and skills.
International volunteer programs might provide no pay, or a small stipend adjusted for living in a developing country. Some programs, like the Peace Corps, provide ‘readjustment funding’ once you conclude your service of around $3,000-$5,000 depending on length of service.
International nonprofits vary in pay as much as domestic (US-based) nonprofits. Much depends on the organization and role within the organization. To explore pay at various organizations, check out Glassdoor, Payscale, and more generally, the Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Organizations and Alumni
- Foundation for Sustainable Development: FSD partners with local leaders to build networks and collaborate on community-driven approaches to development issues. Each of FSD’s ten program locations provides a range of opportunities to intern or volunteer abroad in microfinance, health, environment, youth and education, women’s empowerment, community development, and human rights.
- Princeton in Asia: Princeton-in-Asia (PiA) provides transformative, service-oriented experiences for talented graduates and serves the needs of Asia as determined by their Asian partners. The program offers primarily teaching fellowships with additional fellowships in the fields of journalism, international development, and business.
- Princeton in Africa: Seeks to develop young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement. To accomplish this, they offer opportunities for service through fellowships with a variety of organizations that work across the African continent.
- Princeton in Latin America: Matches aspiring public sector professionals with non-profits throughout Latin America for full-year fellowships in development work.
- Cross Cultural Solutions: Nonprofit organization which places over 4,000 people a year in its volunteer programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. CCS has a worldwide staff of over 300 people in 12 countries, with administrative offices located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Program fee.
- Inter Exchange: Nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cultural awareness through a wide range of work and travel, language school, volunteer, professional training, internships and au pair programs within the United States and around the world.
- WorldTeach: Nonprofit, non-governmental organization founded by a group of Harvard students in 1986 and based at the Center for International Development at Harvard. It provides opportunities for individuals to make a contribution to international education by living and working as volunteer teachers in developing countries.
- Omprakash Foundation: Nonprofit dedicated to empowering social transformation and education projects around the world.
- BUNAC: U.K. nonprofit organization, for over 46 years BUNAC has offered eligible applicants aged 18 and over an opportunity to spend extended time living, working, and traveling overseas. Program fees.
- The Peace Corps: Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience. Since 1961, the Peace Corps has shared with the world America’s most precious resource – its people. Volunteers serve in 77 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Peace Corps Volunteers live, learn, and work with a community overseas for 27 months, providing technical assistance in six program areas: education, youth and community development, health, business and information and communications technology, agriculture, and environment.
- Operation Crossroads Africa: US-based private voluntary organization that sponsors cross-cultural exhchanges and small-scale development projects in Africa. Participant fee involved.
- Global Service Corps: Working from offices on three continents, Global Service Corps is dedicated to fulfilling its mission of designing and implementing effective service-learning programs that provide maximum benefit to our program participants and the communities we serve.
- Global Volunteer Network (GVN): Offers volunteer service opportunities in community projects around the world. The organization currently provides volunteer programs through partner organizations in 21 countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia.
- Global Health Corps: With an emphasis on increasing accessibility to quality healthcare and improving health outcomes in developing nations, the Global Health Corps pairs fellows with organizations around the world. Applicants must be under 30 years of age and hold at least an undergraduate degree by the time they enter the program; students of all academic backgrounds may apply.
- United Planet: Strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. United Planet’s global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders. The underlying principle of our programs is the concept of Relational Diplomacy — recognizing that the relationship between people of diverse backgrounds is the basic building block for uniting the world. United Planet’s innovative programs are designed to expose our common human bonds, generate respect and appreciation for our cultural, racial, and religious diversity, and enrich lives of our neighbors worldwide. Program fee.
- United Nations Volunteers: Contributes to peace and development through volunteerism. UNV is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and by the idea that everyone can contribute their time and energy towards peace and development. With partners, UNV advocates for volunteerism, integrates volunteerism into development planning and mobilizes volunteers. The enormous potential of volunteerism is an inspiration to UNV and to volunteers around the world. (Minimum age 25 years old- 2 years experience)
- Net Impact: Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who want to become the most effective change agents they can be. Over 100,000 strong, Net Impact’s emerging leaders take on social challenges, protect the environment, invent new products, and orient business toward the greater good. Net Impact programs—delivered from its headquarters, as well as globally through its student and professional chapters—provide members with skills, experiences, and connections to enhance their impact now and throughout their careers.
- HelpX: HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to assist and stay with them short-term. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts. HelpX arrangements provide cultural exchange opportunities for travelers who would like the opportunity to stay with local people and gain practical experience while abroad.
- Workaway: Workaway connects budget travellers, language learners and culture seekers with its database of families, individuals, and organizations globally that are looking for help with a range activities in exchange for food, accommodation, and cultural immersion. Workaway also promotes paid work positions for hosts looking for extra help with their business.
- WWOOF: WWOOF links volunteers with organic farmers and growers worldwide to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange with the aim of building a sustainable, global community. As a volunteer (or WWOOFer), you will live alongside your host helping with daily tasks and experiencing life as a farmer.
- Transitions Abroad: Portal for paid and volunteer work abroad. Lists articles, programs and websites for jobs teaching English abroad.
- Idealist: Nonprofit organization with an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives. With Idealist you can find people, organizations, groups, jobs, and volunteer opportunities. You can sign up to receive daily alerts with new opportunities matching your interests, and create a personal profile to network with other Idealists.
- For links to NGO’s, Interaction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people.
- Service Corps: Service corps offer unique opportunities to participate in intensive public service across a wide range of fields and causes. Usually in the form of year-long fellowships with nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies, service terms not only provide challenging and impactful work, but skill development and training applicable to any future career path.