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1. Decide which overseas voluntary work placement you want to do and where you want to do it

More Info, Planning Your Gap Year - Volunteers

There is a wealth of different volunteering abroad options for you to choose from. Some people already have a clear idea of what they want to do, they may choose a placement which is directly related to their career, such as medicine or journalism or they may have always fancied spending time in the Amazon rainforest! For those of you with no clear idea, the important factors to consider when choosing a placement are:


Do you want to live in a country with a hot or a cold climate?

Many of our countries have climates which are hotter than the UK, however, we also offer overseas voluntary work in countries such as Mongolia and China where the climate varies greatly from season to season. Placements located in the mountains such as those in Peru or Nepal are obviously also cooler than placements located near to the coast.

Would you prefer to live in a city or in a rural location?

The experience you will have living in a city will be very different to that of living in a small town or village. A city environment can be less 'personal' but it will also be more developed with easier access to facilities like shops and bars. Also remember the character of each town or city varies considerably too, so it's worth checking with us if you're not sure!

Would you prefer to experience a completely different culture or one that is a little closer to our own?

Although one of the main reasons you are considering volunteering abroad is hopefully to experience a different culture, some countries are more developed than others and are not as drastically different in cultural terms. Some people want to go somewhere like India, where everything is different, whereas other people feel happier making fewer cultural adjustments.

Which cultures or religions are you most interested in?

The religion and beliefs held by people in a particular country, strongly influences the overall feel of that country and the experience you will have. It is fascinating to learn about a completely different cultural approach but it is important at all times to be respectful of the beliefs held by the people where you are staying, for example in India you should cover your shoulders and knees at all times while on your placements.

Are there any landscapes or famous sites you have always wanted to see or activities you have always wanted to try?

Have you always wanted to have a go at white-water rafting, or dreamt of visiting Machu Picchu or the Taj Mahal? Well now is your chance! Spending time volunteering abroad is the perfect opportunity to combine doing useful work with travelling, either at the end of your placement or at weekends. There are some amazing sights in the countries we operate in. Travelling after your placement means you know the country from an insider's perspective and know how to get around.

What type of work would you enjoy - e.g. working with children, working outdoors?

There are hundreds of different overseas voluntary work placements to choose from. As well as considering the destination and location of the placements, it is important to think about the type of work you want to do. It usually doesn't matter if you don't have any previous experience, as long as you have the enthusiasm and commitment to get stuck in!

Wherever you go and whatever you do, when volunteering abroad with Projects Abroad you can be reassured that you will be benefiting the local community and developing yourself as well as your CV.

Remember you can also combine placements, either spending time working on more than one placement within the same country or combining different overseas voluntary work projects in different countries.

If you have any questions about specific destinations and projects, please give us a call.

2. Plan your Gap Year or Career break timescale

More Info, Planning Your Gap Year - Volunteers in Thailand

Once you have decided which overseas voluntary work placements you want to do, you then need to work out when you want to do these. It is worth bearing in mind the season but don't let this totally rule your decision, living abroad and travelling during the monsoon season can actually be great fun! Plus the climate is becoming more varied and unpredictable in many of our destinations.

The most important thing is to plan your Gap Year or Career Break in advance and organise the months spent volunteering abroad around any other important dates in your diary such as exams. Apply as far in advance as possible and make sure you also allow enough time for preparation before you go.

3. Apply

Now you've chosen your overseas voluntary work placement, it is simply a case of filling out the application form! This can be done on-line, using the form in the back of the brochure or over the telephone. Send the form to us with the deposit and we will then arrange everything.

4. Plan your budget/fundraising

Add up the total costs of all the overseas voluntary placements you have chosen, add the flights - remembering that Projects Abroad Travel can arrange flights for an additional cost - and add the cost of any pocket money you will need to take with you - all your food, accommodation and insurance is already covered. For most countries spending money can range from £10 to £80 per week while you are working and more if you spend time travelling after your placement.

Once you have worked out what your Gap Year or Career Break will cost in total, work out how you will raise the money to volunteer abroad. Many people decide to work and save, others manage to get sponsorship and some fundraise. For more information on fundraising, please go to our Gap Year Fundraising page.

5. Prepare for your overseas voluntary work
More Info, Planning Your Gap Year - Volunteer in Senegal

Once you have applied, we will provide you with lots of information, including details about the country you've chosen, general tips for travellers and advice from previous volunteers. We will also answer any specific questions you have as well as offering Gap Year or Career Break health, safety and travel advice.

You need to make sure you visit your GP as soon as possible to check what vaccinations/medicine you may need, have a general health check up and collect any repeat prescriptions you require. You also should buy your kit and plan how you will communicate with friends and family back home - most volunteers now set up an e-mail account and take their mobile phones with them, in many destinations it is possible to purchase local SIM cards. Also remember to photocopy any important documents and leave copies at home.


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