Volunteer in Turkey
Turkey has been the birthplace of many great civilizations and you can make a difference to present and future generations by applying to volunteer. There are projects available where you can help people, the environment, wildlife or contribute to humanitarian programs with Syrian refugees. Placements can be found throughout the country in places like Istanbul.
Volunteer Programs in Turkey
Search free, low cost & structured volunteering projects in Turkey.
Guide to Volunteering in Turkey
Interested in volunteering in Europe and experience living in a different culture? Turkey is a huge country and where you go really depends on the organisation and project you join. A lot of conservation initiatives are located in Belek whist there are also projects running in places like Yenisakran, a small town close to the Aegean Sea. Special female empowerment programs helping women into work are run in places like Biga and Istanbul which are very rewarding.
Top Reasons to Volunteer in Turkey
- Experience a unique culture
- Integrate with local people, learn about the history of the country and people
- Help play a positive role be far more than just your average tourist
- Make new friends with international volunteers from all around the world
- Gain new skills and help make a difference
- There are a range of opportunities to suit all interests
Types of Volunteer Programs Available to Join
Most programs have a focus on community development, Turkey has a huge popular of around 75 million people and a lot of people live in poor living conditions. Some organisations offer placements for people to help improve infrastructure or to work with disable/disadvantaged people. You will usually work 5-6 hours per day 5 days per week but this can very depending on the placement.
Education is free in Turkey and it is mandatory for children to attend primary school but there are some problems with the Turkish education system especially in rural areas. There are schools and daycare centres run by volunteer organisations in urban areas and remote villages throughout the country, you could teach English in Turkey or even help building/construction to improve facilities. Examples of tasks can include painting, decorating and leaving behind a good environment for learning to future attendees. Poor children usually attend these facilities, some have been orphaned or live on the streets - these projects provide help, prospects and assistance to the very needy.
Most people in Turkey speak Turkish and Arabic but there is an increasing demand for local people to learn English. Tourism is a huge employer in Turkey and because of this native English speakers are required to help people learn and improve their writing, listening and speaking skills. You could be working at schools or community centres, home-stays are also available where you can live with a local family, eat the food and help them learn English. This is a great way to enjoy the warm local hospitality. There are also summer camps which children attend to learn English, and also have a lot of fun. You will work in teams with local staff and international volunteers creating and running educational and entertaining games.
There are currently big efforts to help refugees from the Iraq and Syria turmoil, hundreds of thousands of people from these countries have fled to Turkey in search of more peaceful surroundings. Large international charities are currently working on the ground to help and if you are a skilled professional you can apply to help, you will need to go through an application process or already be directly employed by a recognised org. Just turning up with the willingness to help can actually be a hindrance.
Volunteer with Animals & Conservation Projects
Turkey has a spectacular coast and due to increasing tourism and building works there is a need to keep a healthy balance between development and also making sure nature and wildlife are protected. Belek is one place where lots of hotels have been built in the past decade but this is also a popular area for sea turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs. There is a need to help protect the turtles and hatching areas, whilst getting local business involved in conservation efforts.
Local organisations have long term aims to create protected areas and create sanctuaries to help baby turtles hatch in a safe environment and they are seeking international assistance. Tasks can include monitoring sea turtle numbers, tagging, coming up with improvements to landscapes, finding nests and helping with educational initiatives. There are also eco farming projects where you will get to help local farmers with agriculture and general farms tasks. Usually accommodation and meals are included for free. Sometimes work and hours can be difficult and remember in summer you might be working in hot and humid conditions.
Free & Low Cost Volunteering in Turkey
There are free and cheap volunteering programs available to join, you will need to contact local NGO's (search our featured organisations above) but please note you will probably have to pay for flights, transport, accommodation and meals. Finding paid volunteer work in Turkey can be difficult but some organisations offer a weekly allowance to help with living costs. Some hotels and hostels also offer free board in exchange for work, this can be a great way to experience the country and save money towards travels.
One such hotel is the Fairy Chimney Inn (www.fairychimney.com) located in Goreme, Cappadocia. They require people to work around four to five hours a day helping with the running of the hotel e.g. managing bookings, speaking to guests and cleaning. If you are looking for an active group program some organisations like Concordia offer very cheap placements where you pay a low sign up fee (see more information above).
- Start Dates: All year round - summer is very popular so if you are interested in this period get your application in early
- Duration: Short and long term placements are available, most organisations will require you to stay for at least a week
- Age Requirements: Usually 18+
- Language: No knowledge of Turkish or Arabic is required but it will be an advantage
- Visa Eligibility: If you are from the UK or USA you can get a 3 month visa on arrival after paying a $20 fee. If you are from most EU countries you will gain a visa on arrival but check with local embassy/website for more information
How to Apply
You can read more information, enquire and apply today by searching our featured programs above. On our website we list structured group programs where you will be required to pay a joining fee, this generally includes:
- Pre-departure information and placements
- Airport transfers
- Orientation and training on arrival
- Accommodation and meals
- In country 24 hour support
What Is not included:
- Personal expenses e.g. excursions
Useful Turkish Phrases for Volunteering Turkey
If you are planning to go to Turkey it is important you learn a few local phrases to help make your experience more easier and enjoyable. Here are some useful Turkish phrases:
- Hello - Merhaba
- Good morning - Gunaydin
- Good afternoon - Ee gewn ler
- Good evening - Ee akshamlar
- How are you - Nasilsiniz
- Goodbye - Hosh chakal
- Please - Loot fen
- Thank you - Te sherker ederim
- Yes - Evet
- No - You can use No but in Turkish Hayir
- Bill please - Hesap loot fen
- How much - Neh kadar
Turkey Volunteer Reviews & Testimonials
Have you ever been volunteered in Turkey? Would you like to review an organisation or project? Get in touch with us.
"This trip has exceeded my expectations. I had so much fun in Turkey spending time with the locals and the foreigners. The locals made being away from home feel natural and pleasant. Over all, this trip has opened my eyes to another world and I’ve learned so much about other people and myself." – Alexander volunteered in Turkey with VFP.