5 Platforms To Explore Volunteer Programs Worldwide
(Last Updated On: 08/09/2023)
Traveling the world is a dream that often seems elusive, especially when you are on a tight budget. But what if we told you there is a way to explore exotic destinations, immerse yourself in local culture, and create unforgettable memories without draining your bank account? Enter the world of affordable travel through volunteer programs worldwide. This comprehensive guide will delve deeper into how volunteering can be your ticket to exciting adventures on a shoestring budget.
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The Rise of Volunteering Travel
Over the past decade, there has been a significant rise in the number of young and budget-conscious travelers who have harnessed the power of volunteering to fuel their wanderlust. What was once a well-kept secret among seasoned travelers has now become a global trend, thanks to the internet and dedicated platforms that connect volunteers with hosts worldwide.
Once you have chosen the right platform, it is time to create your profile, highlight your skills and interests, and start connecting with potential hosts. Remember, patience is key, especially when it comes to securing coveted positions in popular projects. We have narrowed down some of the top choices of volunteer programs worldwide for you:
Workaway is a unique global platform connecting travelers with hosts worldwide. It enables travelers, known as “Workawayers” to exchange their skills and enthusiasm for accommodation and authentic cultural experiences. Workaway offers diverse opportunities, from farming and teaching to assisting in hostels or contributing to artistic projects. Operating in over 170 countries, it spans diverse locations, from cities to remote villages.
To become a volunteer, you need to register (it costs about $20 per year), fill out a profile, find a suitable project, and be liked by the host. A profile on Workaway is something in between a social media page and a resume. On one hand, you need to present yourself as a pleasant and interesting personality (some hosts invite volunteers not so much for the work but for the fun and cultural exchange). On the other hand, you should clearly list what you are good at: taking care of children, language teaching, cooking, gardening, animal care, construction, home repairs, and so on. If the choice is between a professional and an amateur, the host will prefer the professional, no matter how interesting and charismatic the amateur may be – be sure to emphasize your professional skills. It is even better if it is something practical.
HelpStay is a platform similar to Workaway, designed for travelers seeking cultural exchange and affordable travel experiences. It connects travelers in over 100 countries for volunteer programs worldwide. Most volunteer opportunities are free. Some may require a small donation. Almost all of them offer free accommodation and meals. You can inquire about the details from the hosts.
On HelpStay, travelers can find a wide range of opportunities, such as volunteering on organic farms, helping with eco projects and community service, or becoming a helper for some kind of NGO project. With our previous article, you can learn how to reach any destination in Europe for your future volunteer project easily.
3. Festival Volunteering with Stoke Travel
Festival Volunteering with Stoke Travel is an exciting and unique way to experience some of the world’s most renowned music and cultural festivals while actively participating in their organization. Stoke Travel, a well-known travel company, offers opportunities for travelers to become festival volunteers at various events.
As a festival volunteer with Stoke Travel, you typically get free or heavily discounted access to the festival, including camping or accommodation. In exchange for your help, you might be involved in tasks like setting up and dismantling festival infrastructure, assisting with event logistics, or even promoting Stoke Travel’s services to other visitors. The number of festivals may change from year to year, however, many of them are the most popular in Europe. For example, Oktoberfest in Munich, La Tomatina in Bunol, Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and so on.
4. European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps is more serious than other volunteer programs worldwide. ESC offers opportunities for people aged 18-30 to engage in volunteering and solidarity activities, backed by the European Union. Launched in 2018, the ESC offers a platform for young Europeans to contribute to society, gain valuable experiences, develop skills, and foster a sense of European citizenship. The average length of the program is 6-12 months. The program covers almost all expenses, including visas, insurance, and 90% of the ticket costs. In addition to accommodation and meals, volunteers also receive pocket money.
Only accredited organizations launch the projects. Volunteers are provided with a “workplace.” They are required to work approximately 30 hours per week. It contributes to the personal and professional development of participants while addressing societal challenges through voluntary and solidarity actions. The initiative is part of the European Union’s broader efforts to support youth engagement and social cohesion.
5. UN Volunteers
If you wish to expand your volunteer experiences or no longer qualify for an ESC program, which has a one-time participation limit, you may consider becoming a UN volunteer. UN Volunteers (United Nations Volunteers) is a program and initiative established by the United Nations to promote volunteerism and provide individuals with opportunities to contribute their skills, expertise, and time to support various United Nations initiatives and development projects around the world. UN Volunteers play a crucial role in advancing the organization’s mission of peace, development, and humanitarian assistance. Key aspects of UN Volunteers include:
Diverse Assignments: UN Volunteers are involved in a wide range of assignments. It includes peacekeeping operations, disaster relief efforts, community development projects, healthcare initiatives, education programs, and more.
Skilled Professionals: UN Volunteers are typically experienced professionals from various fields such as health, education, engineering, IT, agriculture, and social work. They offer their expertise to help address global challenges.
Global Presence: UN Volunteers work in numerous countries, both in conflict and post-conflict zones and in development contexts. They contribute to building resilient communities and fostering sustainable development.
Multinational and Inclusive: UN Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. They create a rich and inclusive network of individuals committed to making a positive impact through volunteer programs worldwide.
Ending our journey, we hope to inspire you to embark on an affordable adventure through volunteer programs worldwide. Remember, the vast world holds wonders. With determination and the right mindset, explore without breaking the bank. Whether you choose to teach English in Thailand, conserve wildlife in Costa Rica, or assist refugees in Greece, there is a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. So, pack your bags, open your heart, and set out on a journey that will not only change your life but also make the world a better place, one volunteering experience at a time.
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