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Elephant sanctuary volunteering

Top 10 of the best overseas volunteering projects

Volunteering abroad is a great way to give purpose to your travel adventures. While many people may immediately think of orphanages and beach cleanups when volunteering abroad comes to mind, those aren’t the only options. Hundreds of worthwhile volunteer abroad opportunities are out there, and most of them don’t require experience. Here is our Top 10 of the best overseas volunteering projects…

Walking with lions

Walking with lions Volunteering

How many people have walked a lion? If you volunteer with a lion or big cat conservation, one of your responsibilities will be to walk young cats in their natural habitat. By walking with lions in a savanna setting, you’ll be preparing them for release into the wild. Other things you may get to do include sweeping for snares, bottle feeding cubs and preparing food. Lion and big cat conservations are located in a variety of countries, with the most popular being Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa.

Cricket coaching

Cricket coaching

If you don’t know anything about cricket, you probably shouldn’t coach it. But if you do have a sport you’re passionate about, why not share your knowledge with children abroad? Aside from teaching children the fundamentals of a sport, you will also have the opportunity to work with them in a classroom setting and become a role model. A few countries you could coach in include Ghana, India and Bolivia.

Shark conservation

Shark Conservation

Volunteers with great white shark conservancies get the chance to see one of the world’s largest sharks up close and personal. When not cage diving, you can assist with chumming and tracking sharks. Some programs also have you help them do research on whales, seals, sea birds and other marine wildlife. South Africa is a prime location for working with one of these ancient creatures.

Building homes

Building volunteering

Mixing cement, building a roof, painting: If you volunteer to build a home, you’ll get the chance to lend a hand with everything involved in housing construction. The satisfaction of working hard to create something will be magnified when that something is a home or a school. A few countries you could travel to for construction include Mongolia, Peru and New Zealand.

Marine conservation

Diving in the Red Sea

If you volunteer with a marine conservation, you could end up doing anything from identifying conches to feeding invasive species to eels. You’ll be able to throw on some scuba gear and observe, photograph and measure coral wildlife. Some destinations in need of marine conservation include Cambodia, Fiji and Maldives.

Conservation on the Galapagos Islands

Cute seals on the Galapagos Islands

Hike through the Galapagos Islands and help preserve some of the world’s rarest species. Volunteers working to conserve the Galapagos can help with research projects on exotic plants and animals. Assist with reforestation by collecting, classifying and planting seeds. You may also get the chance to observe some unique wildlife. Since the Galapagos Islands are off the coast of Ecuador, this is the country you’ll be traveling to for Galapagos conservation.

Empowering women in developing countries

Volunteering with women in Africa

From working at a women’s shelter to helping third world females find a living, volunteers who work to empower women are truly making a difference. Assist women in giving tours or selling their homemade products. Tutor women and children at a battered women’s shelter and give them the chance to break a violent cycle. By empowering women, you’re helping to empower a culturally diverse world. A few countries you can travel to for women empowerment include Tanzania, Uganda and the Philippines.

Mentoring a child

Working with children can be a rewarding experience, especially when the children are in need of extra guidance. You can become a mentor by working with children in a daycare or by helping them learn English in school. Be a role model to these kids and show them how special and talented they really are. Some countries with mentorship programs include Argentina, Kenya and Indonesia

Medical volunteering in developing countries

Health care volunteers are among the few that may need basic training in order to help those who are sick or injured. However, there are programs those of you without experience can help out with. Inexperienced medical volunteers can work on administrative tasks, provide child care services, work with the disabled or perform other tasks to help those in need of medical care. Vietnam, Guatemala and Costa Rica are just a few countries you can travel to in order to help with health care.

Volunteering at an elephant sanctuary

Elephants are one of the many species you can find yourself working with if you decide to volunteer abroad. Some tasks volunteers on an elephant conservancy take on include feeding, bathing and exercising elephants. Volunteers can also help educate locals on elephant conservation. Most elephant conservation volunteer programs are located in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe but there are others around the world.


Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland and the UK but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and has also just started his own blog called Bars and Spas. As well as Rome he also counts Melbourne and Tel Aviv among his favourite places and now permanently resides in Dublin. Follow Scott on Google+ and Twitter


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    Sally Stretton

    31 August, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I recently read an article about volunteering while on vacation and I had not thought about doing that until now. I currently work with children and I would love to mentor young ladies in another country. I must admit walking lions must have been soooo amazing!


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    21 August, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Sounds amazing! What great opportunities. I love volunteering but haven’t done nearly as many projects as you have but there’s always time.

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    20 August, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    These are all great ideas, but it would be nice to have some recommendations of legitimate organizations to do this volunteer work with/through.


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