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international opportunities program - volunteering

There are literally hundreds of opportunities for volunteering abroad. This page contains links to related web sites, as well as listings of some of the more well-known programs that exist. The most helpful resources, those with which we suggest you begin your search, are noted with gold stars. If you are a UCI student and decide to participate in one of these, or any other program abroad, you are an IOP participant and need to pick up IOP Forms and Information from the Study Abroad Center!

As of 1993, there is a special program which allows some individuals to receive a "forgiveness" or cancellation of up to 15% of certain US federal student loans for giving one year of service with approved volunteer organizations. For more information on how this offer might apply to you, contact the voluntary organization through which you would like to work.

WEB SITES Intern/Volunteer Programs
Contains listings of international work, internship, and volunteer programs.
An extensive web site listing volunteer programs by GoAbroad.coms

University of Minnesota Volunteer Abroad Resources
Search for volunteer opportunities all over the globe. 

Search for worldwide internship opportunities by location, dates, and required skills.

IIE Passport
A powerful searchable web database on 5,000 learning opportunities worldwide, compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Transitions Abroad
A bimonthly magazine for those interested in working, studying, and living abroad.


This list is meant to highlight only a few programs and is by no means a complete list.

The Africa Project

This Irvine-based all volunteer non-profit agency works to support children in one poverty and AIDS stricken community in South Africa.  Since this is an all volunteer organization, volunteers and interns are always needed in Irvine.  Also, UCI students studying in South Africa may volunteer in Nkandla which is located in the Kwazulu Natal region.  In addition, The Africa Project coordinates trips to Nkandla for those wishing to volunteer during the summer.  Volunteering with The Africa Project provides an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills, community development skills, public speaking and much more.  Contact Debra Bianchi for more information at:  Join UC Irvine’s student club that supports The Africa Project.  Find them on Facebook.

Amigos De Las Americas (AMIGOS)

A summer volunteer program in Latin America for four to six weeks, AMIGOS volunteers work on public health projects including specific projects in dental hygiene, community sanitation, and immunization. AMIGOS is affiliated with the Pan American Health Organization and local AMIGOS groups help participants raise money to cover some of the costs of the program. Some scholarships are available. At least one year of high school Spanish is required.


Amizade is a nonprofit organization created to provide opportunities for individuals and groups to be able to take part in educational, environmental, health, welfare, and other service projects around the world. Volunteers do not need to have any special skills. They just need a willingness to help. Amizade collaborates with existing community-based organizations to develop projects which will are both beneficial to the community and enjoyable to the volunteers. Most of these are building projects centering around the construction of schools, health posts, environmental centers, etc. Local members of the communities are encouraged to work with side by side with Amizade volunteers.

Casa Xelaju - Guatemala

CEX's Project La Pedrera offers students and non-students a variety of internship and volunteer work opportunities with an under served, indigenous community in Guatemala. A variety Spanish-speaking ability and lengths of stay are available. Opportunities include teaching English, math, computer classes, organizing projects and workshops, taking children on field trips, investigation surveys, statistical legal work, medical and dental clinic positions, building projects, domestic crisis interventions.

Conservation Volunteers Australia: International Opportunities

Conservation Volunteers Australia is a non-profit, non-political community based organization, which undertakes conservation projects which will be of benefit to the Australian environment. Their organization also sponsors programs in various countries throughout Europe, Central America, Asia, and Africa in cooperation with local environmental and conservation groups. Outside of Australia, most programs last between 2-5 weeks during which you would be part of a team of volunteers.

Cross Cultural Solutions

Cross-Cultural Solutions is a non-profit organization that enables volunteers to make a meaningful contribution to the community by working side-by-side with local people, while gaining a new perspective and insight into the culture and themselves. The volunteer work is with carefully selected Partner Programs, all of which are dynamic and inspiring community-led initiatives. These include orphanages and childcare centers, schools, health clinics and hospitals, homes for the elderly, centers for people with disabilities, and other community organizations. Volunteers enjoy the flexibility of choosing from 12 countries, start dates year-round and programs from 1-12 weeks long. CCS offers international volunteer programs in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand.


Earthwatch allows volunteers to join research scientists in fields such as archaeology, marine biology, animal behavior, ecology, and anthropology on projects all over the world. Expeditions take place year-round for 2-3 weeks at a time. Cost of the program is considered a tax-deductible contribution.

Global Service Corps (GSC)

GSC offers experiences working with, and living in the homes and communities in Tanzania and Thailand . Projects are offered year-round lasting from 2 weeks to 6 months. Projects available in health education, sustainable agriculture, teaching and environmental experiences, and all projects begin with in-depth training sessions provided by in-country staff.

Global Vision International (GVI)

GVI offers over 60 projects in the fields of Marine Conservation and Wildlife Research expeditions in Africa and Latin America and volunteer teaching and wildlife projects in over 30 countries worldwide. Programs include field in-depth training, cultural orientation and 24 hour support provided by field staff throughout your stay. Programs length is extremely flexible, ranging from 1 week to 2 years.

Global Volunteers

GV seeks volunteers interested in English teaching, childcare, health care, and labor projects. They offer the opportunity to help support over 100 communities in 20 countries across 6 continents through volunteer service. Participants live and work alongside local people on all projects. Start dates are available throughout the year, and GV also offers volunteer-vacation programs for students interested in short term opportunities.

Habitat For Humanity (HFH)

HFH primarily works together with the poor to build low-cost housing they can purchase at no profit and no interest. They also help to rebuild housing for cities struck by disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. There are over 60 abroad projects in 26 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Islands. The assignments vary from short term trips starting at one week to long-term three year assignments. Transportation, housing, health insurance and a stipend are provided.

International Partnership For Service Learning (IPSL)

IPSL offers programs which combines structured academic studies with substantial volunteer community service for a summer, semester or year in the Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, France, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Philippines, and Scotland. Placements are available and are individualized based on the student's needs and interests. Programs are based at recognized, degree granting institutions in the host country, involve 20 hours of service per week, and have an in-country resident director to assist students.

International Student Volunteers (ISV)

International Student Volunteers is a non-profit organization committed to encouraging student volunteer work around the world. ISV's mission is to combine Education, Conservation, and Recreation. Programs are available in Australia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Thailand .

International Volunteer Program (IVP)

IVP offers volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom . Programs last for 4-12 weeks and are available throughout the year in fields such as conservation, elder care, healthcare, youth services, and more. Costs vary by program length and country.

MBA Enterprise Corps

The Corps is a private volunteer organization which provides MBA graduates the opportunity to assist private enterprises in the transforming economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. While on assignment for 15 months, they receive language and culture training for 3 months and then serve as management consultants to their host companies for 12 months. Opportunities include programs in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Tanzania, Uganda and the Ukraine . Participating students must be at least 2nd year MBA students, or recently graduated, and must have 3 years significant work experience.

Mobility International

MI organizes international exchange programs of three to four weeks in length where people with and without disabilities can work together on community projects.

Operation Crossroads Africa

This organization (a model for Peace Corps) allows individuals to invest seven weeks of service with a Crossroads international development project in Africa or the Caribbean. The programs involve six weeks at a work camp project designed to provide maximum interaction with the host culture, learning opportunities and cultural awareness. Participants put in several hours of manual labor each day on projects such as school construction, an inoculation drive, archaeological dig or other activity. One week of travel is also included.

Peace Corps

This internationally known two-year program is designed to meet the challenges of contributing much needed skills to the struggle for self-sufficiency in developing nations. Civil, mechanical, mining, environmental, and metallurgical engineers, along with architects and urban planners, are in demand to train people to develop water, sanitation, and transportation systems, as well as to construct roads, hospitals, and municipal buildings.


Peacework sponsors short-term international volunteer projects in developing communities in which international volunteers learn about the dynamics of global hunger and poverty by working together on housing, health, and other community initiatives. Peacework offers programs in Belize, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, Russia, and Vietnam. Costs are minimal, plus airfare. Limited scholarships are available.

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad sends volunteers abroad to 26 countries throughout the developing world to do internships and service projects. Volunteers choose their own start dates and can go for as long as they wish.  Destinations include countries throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Projects range from more traditional programs like Teaching, Care and Community Building to truly unique programs like Archaeology, Journalism, Medicine, Conservation, Law and Human Rights and more.


ProWorld organizes volunteer and internship opportunities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.   Projects focus on health, the environment , social and economic development.   Opportunities are available for various lengths of time.  Projects are selected based on the needs defined by the host communities and are executed in collaboration with the host community, with project ownership and overall leadership ultimately resting on the community members themselves.

Visions In Action (VIA)

Visions in Action is a nonprofit organization committed to social change in Africa and Mexico through grassroots volunteer efforts. Visions offers six-month and one year programs in Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as short-term summer programs in Tanzania and Mexico. Volunteers work in areas such as agriculture, children/youth, communications, education, environmental and natural resources, food/nutrition, family planning, health, housing, human rights, law, refugees/relief, small business, and women.

Volunteers Exchange International (VEI)

VEI is the US member committee of an international network of volunteers: the Federation of the International Christian Youth Exchange (ICYE). The ICYE Federation consists of 31 member nations who are committed to the challenge of international exchange. VEI offers the opportunity to become involved in the life of the host community as an active participant rather than simply as an observer. Persons 18-30 can engage in voluntary service in over 30 countries. Recent exchanges with the VEI program have engaged in volunteer service such as: child care, drug abuse services/education, services for the disabled, education/teaching, environmental advocacy, recycling projects, youth work, peace advocacy, elderly care, medical care and health education. VEI offers two programs in international voluntary service - Year Abroad and Six Month Program (Latin America Only). Participants must be dedicated to the concepts of volunteerism, and community service. There are no language or academic requirements. Candidates are screened individually and are accepted on the basis of their motivation, flexibility, willingness to participate. Volunteers live with host families, at the agencies or in independent setting. A participation fee includes international, round trip transportation, insurance (medical, evacuation and liability), orientation in the US and in the host country, basic language training, conferences in the host country, room, board and a nominal stipend.

Volunteers for Peace (VFP)

Volunteers for Peace offers 3,400 affordable programs (costing between $250-$500) in more than 100 countries around the world. Use their International Voluntary Service Directory link to look for currently available programs. Search options by country, area of interest, or time of availability.

Volunteers In Asia (VIA)

Volunteers in Asia offer seven week summer programs for teaching English in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam to university students. Recent graduates are also eligible for programs with one and two year positions in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

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