Volunteering overseas has all the benefits of volunteering in the UK, as well as providing the opportunity to experience a new culture and country. By working and/or living with local people you'll learn a lot about the culture of a country, and potentially, a new language.
Volunteering in Europe - immigration rules for UK nationals post-Brexit
Non-EU traveller rules now apply for UK citizens wishing to work or volunteer in EU countries. The GOV UK website Work in an EU country has links to UK-based embassies, and Living in country guides, for every EU country.
Researching the organisation
Before signing up for anything it's essential that you have fully researched the organisations and what you'll actually be doing overseas, so that you understand what is expected of you.
Try to get in contact with previous volunteers and don't just rely on information in promotional literature or on websites. Some voluntary organisations hold information events where previous volunteers are on hand to talk about their experiences.
Find out how much support you'll have from the organisation when you are overseas and what they do to help if volunteers have an emergency.
Get our advice on questions to ask before accepting an overseas placement.
Funding & fundraising
You'll find that most overseas volunteering projects will require you to pay something towards taking part. This is usually to cover things like accommodation, food, travel within the country. You should also note that, in most cases, volunteers have to cover the cost of their flight, travel and health insurance, visas.
Some volunteering projects are very expensive, so it makes sense to shop around and find out exactly where your money would be going, what's included and importantly, what's not included.
Usually, how much you pay is dependent on how long you intend to volunteer for.
The amount that you require for your volunteering project may mean that you have to do some fundraising. Voluntary organisations should be able to help you with fundraising by providing ideas.
How you find the funds to be able to do your volunteering project is very much part of the whole experience and you'll find that you'll gain a wide range of valuable skills from this exercise alone. It is essential that you allow enough time for your fundraising.
There are many international volunteering opportunities. You need to think about where you want to go and what type of voluntary work you want to do. The following sites may be helpful to you:
- Xchange Scotland (Scottish Non-Governmental Youth Led Charity)
- IVS (International Voluntary Service)
- ICS International Citizen Service (for 18-25 year olds - led by VSO funded by UK Government)
- European Youth portal: Volunteering - searchable volunteering database from the EU
- Eurodesk Opportunity Finder - Volunteering
- AIESEC Global Volunteer 6-8 week volunteering opportunities - costs detailed on the website