Volunteer Abroad !
There are many types of volunteering programs for teens. Most travel internationally, while some work within the US. They tend to fall into a couple categories – those for teens 17 and under who travel in organized groups with chaperones, and those for teens older than 18 who are legally able and willing to travel more independently, with some, but less supervision.
Find Volunteer Abroad Programs for
13 years old and older,
14 and 15 year olds,
16 and 17 year olds, or
18 years old and older.
The volunteer and community service work often includes some, or some aspects of the following:
&diams working and playing with children in orphanages,
&diams building or repairing schools, or other community buildings,
&diams teaching English,
&diams conservation work - often working with animals, or
&diams coaching sports and games.
Many volunteer abroad programs include an aspect of cultural travel as well. Sometimes this is an “adventure” component – riding elephants, white water rafting, high ropes trapeze riding. Other times, the travel is educationally based – touring historic sites and immersing yourself into the language for an intense week of study prior to your service experience.
All of these options have an impact on the overall cost of a volunteer program, which leads to the question –
Why pay to volunteer?
Obviously if there are additional excursions and adventure components related to a program, the cost of that program will be higher than average. There are also chaperones, and overhead staff coordinating the program which will be included in your cost. Depending upon where you stay, hotels vs. host families, vs. tents – all have widely varying costs.
Teen trips for those over 18 tend to be less expensive, generally due to the lower cost of supervision for the programs.
Straight volunteer programs still have costs however. The cost of housing volunteers is not usually covered by a host family. Families are usually paid a stipend for housing you. There are often costs for building materials and other resources associated with constructing new facilities that the volunteering organization provides. Remember – if the money were available from the host country or town to build these schools or other buildings, they wouldn’t need you!
There are a few programs, such as the Peace Corps, International Executive Service Corps, and sometimes AmeriCorps where you can be paid to volunteer. These programs require a longer commitment (generally over 12 months), and aren’t considered just a “trip,” by this website, but rather a “job.”
While gap programs are not really covered by this site, College Student Travel Tours and Worldwide Gap Travel Adventure Designed For You
are other ways to consider broadening your perspective on the world, whether or not you are volunteering.
Volunteering abroad or within the US is one way to make a difference however. You can affect someone else’s lives while challenging yourself. You might push yourself to do work you’ve never done before, or had never considered important. Volunteering is a great way to learn about another culture while immersing yourself within it. You’ll likely work side by side with other volunteers and locals developing a friendship and mutual respect for all.
Have You Volunteered Somewhere?
Tell us your favorite story about volunteering abroad! Upload a pic, and tell us who you went with!