8 Best Countries For Volunteering Overseas

One of the best ways to see the world sustainably is by giving something back to the countries you visit. Volunteering overseas has become a popular way to immerse oneself fully in the heart of a destination and its local communities. These programs also allow travelers to contribute positively to local wildlife, nature, and the planet as a whole. It feels fulfilling to do some good! So, from protecting endangered rhinos to advocating for human rights, join us on a whistle-stop tour of the best countries for volunteering overseas!

Peru

First up on our list of countries to volunteer in is one that we would wager only a few of you reading this article would have predicted: Peru. This South American country has always been a popular destination for nomads and volunteers with a passion for sustainability and environmental conservation, thanks to its rich cultural heritage, stunning beaches, and striking mountain landscapes. There are a host of volunteering opportunities in Peru ranging from documenting and cataloging wildlife in the Amazon to advocating for indigenous populations across the country. Popular destinations for volunteers in Peru include Cusco, Huancayo, and the capital city of Lima, where overseas volunteers find meaningful projects in researching flora and fauna and promoting sustainable and responsible ecotourism.

Ecuador

Staying in South America for our next entry, Ecuador, home to the stunning Galapagos Islands. Environmental and wildlife conservation efforts are equally significant in Ecuador as they are in its neighbors. However, it is the opportunities for enriching youth development that the country has become renowned for among the volunteering community in recent times. With estimates claiming 15% of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are unemployed, Ecuador is one of the best destinations for volunteers looking to empower and educate local populations with skills they can take with them into the workplace.

South Africa

With over 22 national parks that are home to 95,000 different species, the majority of volunteering in South Africa revolves around wildlife conservation efforts. Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Port Elizabeth remain the most popular destinations for finding these types of positions, allowing visitors to work with animals ranging from big cats, birds, and even endangered species like black rhinos. Volunteers can help with research programs based on collecting data on animal behavior, health status, and population numbers in specific areas. There are also opportunities to help raise awareness and educate by becoming a park guide at one of the many stunning national parks the country boasts.

Thailand

While it may still be known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand remains one of the most in-demand destinations for those passionate about human rights advocacy. The country houses roughly 3.9 million migrant workers, with an estimated 100,000 of those being asylum seekers or refugees. Women and children are especially vulnerable to exploitation, which makes improving their language skills and various other programs aimed at protecting them some of the most worthwhile ventures for volunteers in the country.

India

If patching people up and providing medical aid is something you feel passionate about, volunteering in India may be for you. Throughout cities ranging from New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata to Jaipur, there is a real need in low-income areas for mobile clinics. Rural parts of the country can also be attended to through mobile clinics that are always looking for extra manpower. Local medical professionals are on the ground to support any overseas volunteers, but whatever level of experience they possess, there are always opportunities to help raise awareness and promote the basics of health, which the locals have been deprived of.

Ghana

Ghana is another one of the world’s most popular destinations for teaching English abroad. Located in West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, Ghana is one of the few democratic countries on the continent and easily among the most welcoming. There is an array of educational and youth development opportunities available to volunteers, especially in rural areas where many children solely speak their local indigenous languages. Helping to teach languages such as English and other subjects such as Math at every level from pre to high school helps further students’ skill sets, especially in a country where the official language is now English.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become one of the most popular Latin American countries for tourists, nomads, and volunteers alike. And for a good reason too! The country is home to some of the most naturally stunning beaches in the world, and its efforts in sustainability have brought with it a wealth of opportunities for those looking to give something back on their travels. Some of the more unique opportunities come in the form of marine conservation, with everything from saving sea turtles to assisting researchers in marine ecosystems being available to volunteers in Costa Rica.

Nepal

Home to the largest mountain ranges in the world and the highest peak on the planet, Nepal is a country that feels like it has been ripped straight from an adventure game. Volunteers are naturally drawn to these stunning natural surroundings and the warmth and friendliness of its people. There are ample opportunities to give something back to these locals in the form of helping communities in the wake of disasters, constructing classrooms in villages, and teaching skills that empower business owners to succeed. Volunteering opportunities in Nepal typically emphasize community cohesion and a people-first approach, rather than some of the wildlife programs we have already covered.

Featured image: Elephant in Jim Corbett National Park, Ramnagar, India taken by Gautam Arora via Unsplash 

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