How to Choose a Volunteer Abroad Program

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8 Steps to Pick a Volunteer Abroad Program

The beginning of your search to choose a volunteer abroad program can feel daunting. Researching how to volunteer abroad will bombard you with hundreds of different organisations to choose from, an abundance of locations, and many different project impact areas. These all make it much harder to whittle down the many volunteer abroad opportunities available. However, these 8 steps will make it much easier to pick the right volunteer abroad program for you.
a group photo of volunteers

1. OUTLINE WHY YOU WANT TO VOLUNTEER ABROAD

When picking a volunteer abroad program the first question you want to ask yourself is, What do I want to get out of this experience? Secondly, how do I want to make a difference? You can start thinking about what project area you want to focus on. Maybe you are interested in a healthcare project? or maybe your focus is conservation? Do you want to spend your time with animals? Or do you want to experience community projects? You can begin to ask yourself some of these questions to help narrow down your project’s impact area.

2. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO MAKE AN IMPACT?

Now that you have hopefully decided why you want to volunteer abroad, you should have a better idea of where you want to make an impact during your time volunteering. If your focus is animals, you may be interested in a photography project, or a marine conservation project. However, if your focus is community, you may be interested in a sports or teaching program. When choosing your volunteer abroad program, it is useful to think about the skills you already have. If you have teaching or medical skills, you may want to utilise them on related projects. Use this time to research the charities you might want to volunteer for. Look at the work they have done and the changes they have made. Ask yourself if these align with your values and if it is a cause you are passionate about.

3. CONSIDER WHICH LOCATION SUITS YOUR GOALS.

Now that you have a better idea of which project suits you, you can begin to research the locations that offer these projects. Now is the time to begin thinking about where you want to go. You could be volunteering alongside your other travels, or maybe you want to volunteer abroad while exploring a specific destination. Equally, your focus could be volunteering, and the location could be less important. Make a list of your preferred destinations, which you can use to compare with the locations that offer your preferred project. Use this time to research the charities you might want to volunteer for. Look at the work they have done and the changes they have made. Ask yourself if these align with your values and if it is a cause you are passionate about.
a silhouette photo of a tree during sunset

4. DETERMINE WHAT YOUR BUDGET IS

Your budget will become one of the top factors in deciding which volunteer program abroad to choose. Begin by determining what your budget is for your whole trip. Then research how much each program costs, but also consider what is included and what isn’t included in that price. For example, African impact includes everything from food, accommodation, and transport from the moment you land. Thus, you do not have to consider too many extra costs for one of our projects. It is also useful to consider the flight prices to each location, as this can heavily impact the overall cost.

Fundraising for your volunteer work is also a very viable option to consider. There may be a project that you really want to participate in that is completely out of your price range. Due to the important work you will be doing, you can raise the money needed to complete this project. Go to our fundraising page to read more about fundraising ideas, and some useful tips to make the most of your fundraising endeavors.

5. DECIDE ON THE DURATION YOU CAN COMMIT TO

Figure out how much time you can put aside for volunteering. This will affect your budget, work commitments, separate travel plans, and many more factors. If some projects only run a specific length, this may mean they are eliminated from your search. At African Impact, you can choose your duration and the respective price, so you are able to tailor your volunteer abroad experience to your specifications.

volunteer and local kids playing rugby

6. BROWSE PROJECTS THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR GOALS

This is very much related to the first step in deciding why you want to volunteer abroad. Now you should hopefully have a small list of potential volunteer abroad projects that fit within your budget and at your desired location. You can begin to question which best aligns with your goals. Now is the time to think about what you want specifically out of the project and how it can suit your goals and needs. Find a volunteer abroad program which is best for you to make sure you get the most out of it. Go to our Volunteer Projects page to discover projects that align with your goals.

7. READ REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

The best way to get a real feel for the project is to read the reviews and testimonials. They often include information that is not on the main page, and you get more of an authentic vibe. It is also a useful way to authenticate the project and confirm that you are getting what is advertised on the website! Reviews will also flag up any problems volunteers have previously had, and tend to focus on smaller and more personal elements that may not have been covered on the website. For African Impact, you can find testimonials and reviews on our blog and reviews page. The GoAbroad Reviews page also covers African Impact and many more volunteer abroad organisations.

8. APPLY!

Now that you know how to choose a volunteer abroad program and have found your perfect volunteer abroad program, all that is left to do is apply! It is usually a fairly simple process, but make sure you read all the information as you go through it. If you have any questions before applying, use our enquiry form and one of our helpful team members will happily answer any questions you may have!

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Which Volunteer Opportunity is Right for You?

Finding the right volunteer opportunity is very personal, and it will be different for everyone. By using the steps above, you can find a volunteer opportunity that aligns with your values and goals and also fits within your budget. You will undoubtedly have to make sacrifices. You may not be able to go to your dream location within your budget, or you may have to go for a shorter period than planned. However, there is no best way to volunteer abroad, and as long as your chosen program fulfils the reasons why you want to volunteer abroad, you are guaranteed to have a life-changing and worthwhile experience.

There are some other factors you may want to consider when choosing your project.

  • Accommodation can be quite a big factor for some people. You may not be too fussy about where you stay, but a comfortable and private place to sleep may be a deal breaker for you.
  • Travel opportunities included in the program are also useful to explore. While you are in these amazing locations, you want to make sure you are making the most of the location and experiencing it as much as you can.
  • The sustainability of the projects is an imperative area for research. You want to make sure that the work you are doing is making lasting change. Thus, it is important to consider this when choosing the charity you want to volunteer for.
  • The typical age range of the project could also be a factor worth considering, especially if you would prefer to volunteer with people of a similar age to you!

There are many more factors worth considering, many of which will be specific to you. Go to our website page to see Why African Impact might be the perfect organization for you! Feel free to ask away with any questions you may have, however big or small, using our enquiry form.

Let Us Help You!

Choosing a volunteer abroad program can be a very daunting and confusing process. Hopefully, the steps above have made this process a lot easier for you. At the end of the day, it is a very personal process, so as long as you are happy and excited about your project, it should be the right choice for you! Please feel free to reach out to us at any stage in your process. You can get in touch with our team if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck finding your project! We hope you have the most incredible time volunteering abroad!

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