Volunteering abroad is an excellent way to acquire a cross-cultural experience, develop skills that can help in your career, and gain in-depth knowledge about important and far-reaching international problems and issues. Volunteering internationally can have a great impact on the people you serve as well as yourself.
While volunteer opportunities vary in scope and focus, as a rule they generally provide little or no salary or monetary compensation. Some provide housing. Many volunteer programs charge fees to help mitigate the costs of providing services. The following list is provided as a starting point in your research into volunteer opportunities. The Office of Overseas Study has limited knowledge of the various volunteer programs available. We recommend that you request participant evaluations or the contact information of former participants.
Find IU-affiliated volunteer opportunities overseas below:
- Timmy Foundation. Student-led volunteering organization with a focus on global health.
- Global Brigades. World’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Brigades in business, environment, home development, human rights, medical, microfinance, public health, and water.
- Hoosier Alternative Breaks. The IU Office of Student Life & Learning offers a comprehensive list of alternative break programs at IU, both overseas and domestic. The website offers detailed information on these opportunities overseas, including links to the program websites.
- Nourish International. Nourish International operates by partnering with other philanthropic organizations in resource-limited countries to assist in fighting hunger, poverty, and the lack of education around the globe. Through this program, the IU chapter supported Mayan Families with volunteers and some capital with which to expand their community garden project.
- Alternative Break Programs (KSB). The Alternative Break Program provides opportunities for students to travel domestically and abroad to address social challenges. Our trips immerse you in a new environment, providing an experiential understanding of challenging social issues.
- Movement Exchange. A refreshed take on cultural exchange through dance that stimulates self-esteem, cultural awareness, and the creation of community. Volunteers spend time teaching, learning, and performing dance with at-risk youth and the community.
Note: Indiana University does not award credit for volunteer experiences abroad.
The programs and providers listed below have either hosted IU students in the past or IU has knowledge of the volunteer experiences they offer:
- Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS). AMIGOS provides public health, education, and community development focused volunteer opportunities in Latin America and emphasizes developing leadership skills.
- Cross Cultural Solutions. Cross Cultural Solutions sends volunteers abroad to work side-by-side with local people on locally designed and driven projects, allowing the volunteer to see a country through the eyes of its people. Programs are available in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand.
- Education Abroad @ Ohio University. This site lists a number of volunteer opportunities and additional Web resources.
- Global Routes. Global Routes offers teaching internships in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, and Thailand.
- Global Village Volunteer Network. Offers volunteer placement in Kenya and Tanzania. Our organization offers help in Teaching, Working in orphanages, medical clinics and counseling with HIV/AIDS patients.
- Global Volunteer Network. A non-profit organization that places volunteers in community projects in 21 countries in Asia, Latin American, and Africa. Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of educational, environmental and community aid programs.
- International Studies Abroad — Experiential Learning Abroad Programs (ISA-ELAP). A division of International Studies Abroad (ISA) that arranges and prepares students for volunteer placements in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru. All placements require students to have taken a certain level of Spanish language depending on the placement.
- International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ). IVHQ is a volunteer travel company focused on providing affordable, responsible, and high quality volunteer travel experiences. IVHQ works in 30 countries around the world and has placed thousands of volunteers abroad every year since its establishment in 2007.
- The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA). IVPA is an alliance of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations based in North America that are involved in international volunteer and internship exchanges.
- Light in Leadership. The Light and Leadership Initiative’s mission is to respond to the needs of the women in the Ate-Vitarte district of Lima, Peru in their struggle out of poverty by improving the availability and quality of education offered to women and children.
- Peace Corps. This U.S. government organization matches volunteers with locations in over 63 countries in a wide range of long-term opportunities. Volunteers receive a living allowance and other benefits.
- Projects Abroad Inc. Volunteer projects and internships abroad in 23 countries.
- ProWorld Service Corps. ProWorld offers volunteer and internship placements with a sustainable development focus in Peru, Belize, Mexico, India, Thailand, Brazil, and Ghana.
- Unearth the World. Unearth the World strives to promote cross-cultural learning, foster reciprocal partnerships and elevate social consciousness through meaningful volunteer exchange programs.
- Unite for Sight. Unite for Sight supports local eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate barriers to eye care for patients living in extreme poverty.
- Vision in Action. Placements in human rights, community development, health, mircofinance, and environment. Six different countries.
- VolunteerAbroad.com. A database of international volunteer opportunities.
- Volunteers for Peace (VFP). Over 3,000 affordable international voluntary service programs in 95+ countries.
- World Teach. Teach English, math, and science in one of many sites around the world.
Study abroad is like spring training for this century. It helps you develop the fundamentals, the teamwork, and the determination to succeed."-Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State