Working or volunteering abroad

Working or volunteering abroad allows you to spend longer in other countries, and to immerse yourself much more into local life, than you can on a traditional holiday.

Most opportunities for working or volunteering abroad are limited to people aged 18 or over. Some are designed specifically for “Gap Year” students – those who are planning to go to university but want to take a year off after school before their course begins.

Do your research very carefully before you book anything. “Gap Years” are seen as a lucrative market by a number of travel operators, and many volunteering opportunities in particular are very expensive.

Volunteering

As recommended on our general volunteering page, a good place to start is the International Citizen Service, funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development. This runs programmes for 18-25 year olds in 25 countries around the world. You will have to raise £800 as your commitment to the programme, but it is otherwise funded by the Government.

Project Trust has organised volunteering placements for 17-19 year olds in Africa, Asia and the Americas since 1967. You will have to pass the selection process on the remote Hebridean island of Coll, and raise the majority of the funds through your own fund-raising efforts. You will work mostly in teaching, social care or outward bound projects.

Raleigh International operates expeditions to Nicaragua & Costa Rica, Malaysian Borneo and Tanzania, open to anyone from the age of 17. They combine community work in remote areas with adventure challenges.

Globalteer is a UK based charity which organises volunteer placements in community, wildlife and conservation projects in south east Asia and and Latin America. You have to be at least 18 for most projects.

This article from August 2016 lists many other companies, but do your research carefully.

Working

Depending on your skills, qualifications and availability, there are a range of jobs you can do abroad, from au-pairing to teaching English as a foreign language to sports coaching on summer camps.

This page from Prospects (the commercial arm of the Higher Education Careers Service Unit) gives suggestions for working abroad country by country.

WWOOF which is a cultural exchange programme offering worldwide opportunities on organic farms. Organic growers and farmers offer food, accommodation and a taste of a different way of life in return for your work on their farm.

You might also be interested in the following pages:

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Finding transport and accommodation abroad
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Passports, ticket, money
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Other ideas for travelling abroad