What Are the Different Types of Volunteering Opportunities Abroad?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Volunteers may distribute bottles in communities lacking in clean drinking water.
Volunteers may distribute bottles in communities lacking in clean drinking water.

There are many volunteering opportunities abroad, and these are often targeted to specific communities in foreign countries. Volunteer programs may also differ in the types of volunteers they attempt to recruit. Opportunities for volunteering can be more individual if the volunteer is willing to do research and find his or her own accommodations. While some people may be successful in creating their own programs, it is important to have a network of support established in the community where a person will be volunteering. As such, looking at well-established volunteering opportunities abroad might be the best strategy for a beginner.

Volunteers abroad may help children in low income communities.
Volunteers abroad may help children in low income communities.

One of the most common types of volunteering opportunities abroad involves going with a group to a specific area in order to complete a specific project. The area in question may be in a small village or a large city, or it may focus on a certain area within a city. Typically, volunteering opportunities abroad focus on places that are poor or stricken with disaster. Projects accomplished by volunteer programs can involve building houses, providing medical services, or giving education. These programs are often short and volunteers may pay to be part of the program.

Volunteers may visit communities that are damaged by a natural disaster.
Volunteers may visit communities that are damaged by a natural disaster.

Different programs often focus on different types of volunteers. For example, church groups often have volunteer missions for both adults and children, as do schools and other established institutions. These groups typically have a permanent program that takes different volunteers every year.

More unique volunteering opportunities abroad can often be found for individual volunteers rather than groups. Placement in, for example, an orphanage is usually found in the same way that one would find a job. Searching online can reveal many different organizations that need volunteers abroad. Orchestrating these trips on an individual level often requires at least a general knowledge of the country to which someone is traveling.

Volunteers who travel abroad often help out with light construction and rehab projects.
Volunteers who travel abroad often help out with light construction and rehab projects.

People with special skills, such as doctors, construction workers, or teachers, can often find very unique volunteering opportunities abroad. Doctors in particular are needed in many areas stricken by disaster, often performing complex medical procedures on the scene. Medical practitioners may also be involved in repairing disfigurements, assisting with vaccinations, or other important work. These volunteers are very important, but require a high degree of training.

Volunteering opportunities abroad are not limited by the opportunities that already exist. A person might be able to create a charitable foundation if he or she knew of a specific problem that needed to be solved. Typically, creating an opportunity on one's own requires funding and deep social ties to the area where the volunteers will go. Even so, this type of volunteering provides the opportunity to directly help solve an issue dear to a person's heart.

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    • Volunteers may distribute bottles in communities lacking in clean drinking water.
      By: alexlukin
      Volunteers may distribute bottles in communities lacking in clean drinking water.
    • Volunteers abroad may help children in low income communities.
      By: TheFinalMiracle
      Volunteers abroad may help children in low income communities.
    • Volunteers may visit communities that are damaged by a natural disaster.
      By: FrankBirds
      Volunteers may visit communities that are damaged by a natural disaster.
    • Volunteers who travel abroad often help out with light construction and rehab projects.
      By: Wendy Kaveney
      Volunteers who travel abroad often help out with light construction and rehab projects.