Top 10 Places to Volunteer Abroad in 2017
Do you have a burning desire to make a difference while seeing the world? If so, then overseas volunteering is for you. Volunteering overseas is great for students planning a gap year, as well as those looking to combine a vacation with being a good person. You could spend anywhere from a week to a year volunteering in some of the world's most beautiful places. Here’s a list of the top 10 places to volunteer abroad this year.
1. Ubud, Bali
Bali is a stunning Indonesian island known for its volcanoes, beaches, and coral reefs. It is for these reasons that Bali is known as an international hotspot for travelers. This island has a rich culture that revolves around art and religion. Most of the island practices Hinduism, and the island is home to many prominent Hindu temples. An organization called IVHQ offers travelers two options for volunteering in this island paradise. The first is the Bali teaching project, and the second is a turtle conservation project. Both projects involve making an important impact on Bali’s youth and marine life.
- Search volunteer programs in Indoensia.
2. Mombasa, Kenya
There is a misconception that Africa is all rural, undeveloped land filled with wild animals. The reality is there are also thriving cities, such as Mombasa, Kenya. Mombasa is Kenya’s second-largest city and is a regional tourist attraction. It has a thriving musical culture and attracts visitors due to its proximity to the African Great Lakes. If you're driven by the desire to help underprivileged youth, then Love Volunteers has the perfect program for you. The program focuses on providing education and recreation for the children of Mombasa.
- Search volunteer programs in Kenya.
3. Yucatan, Mexico
Mexico is a beautiful country known for tourist locales like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, but there are also gems that are off the beaten path. One such city is Yucatan. Yucatan is known for its stunning natural beauty, whether that be its exotic beaches or pristine jungles. Froniter offer several programs as well as gap year programs and internships. These include work experience placements in media, journalism and medical care for those in need. The programs are great for those looking to gain experience.
- Search volunteer programs in Mexico.
4. Fiji Islands, Fiji
Fiji is known for being a pristine island getaway. It has gorgeous white sand beaches, as well as an abundance of exotic marine life. Given that it has such a remote location, Fiji has several villages that are lacking modern infrastructure. Projects Abroad has a two-week volunteer program that focuses primarily on helping locals build infrastructure like hospitals and schools. The program also focuses on educating the youth in remote villages. This is a great place to experience a rich culture while making a difference.
- Search volunteer programs in Fiji.
5. Alexandria, Egypt
Alexandria, Egypt is a great place to volunteer abroad for history and art buffs. The Ancient Egyptian civilization produced some of humanity’s first empires, and you can see remnants of this history throughout the country. Alexandria was home to a massive library that was the most extensive collection of art and writing in antiquity. It's only fitting that there are organisations that incorporate the visual arts in educating underprivileged children.
- Search volunteer programs in Egypt
6. Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic
Jarabacoa is a picturesque city situated in the Central Range of mountains in the Dominican Republic. Its tropical climate and proximity to the equator has earned Jarabacoa the nickname “The City of Everlasting Spring”. Jarabacoa is a hotspot for volunteers looking to contribute in the medical field. There are community and medical outreach centers that are based in Jarabacoa, where volunteers spend their days providing medical care to the city’s residents. If you would like to work in the Dominican Republic then Academia Europea offer paid teaching jobs.
7. Jalova, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. It is home to a fair amount of the world’s rain forests and is world renown for their pristine beaches. It shouldn't come as a surprise that most of Costa Rica’s volunteer opportunities include environmental preservation. Global Vision International has a four-week program in Jalova, Costa Rica, which takes place at their research facility in Tortuguero National Park.
- Search volunteer programs in Costa Rica.
8. Dharamsala, India
Dharamsala, India is a picturesque highland town that sits in stark contrast to India’s bustling major cities. This is a great option for those looking to combine volunteerism with a spiritual journey, as Upper Dharamsala is home to the Dalai Lama and exiled Tibetan government. Lower Dharamsala, which receives a fraction of the international aid of Upper Dharamsala, is where international volunteers spend their time. The program offered by iSPiiCE focuses on providing education and health services to children and women.
9. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand is one of the hottest tourist destinations in Asia. Over the last couple of decades, citizens of Thailand have been flocking to Bangkok for economic opportunity. This has resulted in a serious strain on the city’s social services, which is why foreign volunteers are in such high demand. There is the option to teach English in Thailand or you could also volunteer in Bangkok with Volunteering Solutions. When you have some downtime, you will love Bangkok’s thriving nightlife or you could spend time exploring more of the country.
10. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain is one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations, but did you know it's also home to some of Europe’s most exciting volunteer opportunities? If you would like to volunteer in Barcelona you can find lots of volunteer opportunities in Bracelona, with most of them involving working with underprivileged children. This can be in education, recreation, or in the medical field. Barcelona is a city that has something for all kinds of volunteers. Barcelona’s rich history, beautiful beaches, and thriving nightlife are some of the reasons volunteers and tourists alike flock in droves to this Spanish city.
- Search volunteer programs in Spain.
This article was written by Andrew L., a semi-retired code monkey turned globetrotter and full-time travel obsessed enthusiast which now runs Wanderlust 15.