Many organizations operate in multiple countries and have many programs or projects you can join. Organizations can also be non-profits (like AMIGOS), religiously affiliated, private, or governmentally affiliated. It’s also important to ensure that you find a reputable organization with a priority on health and safety (no doubt, this will be the first question your parent or guardian has for you!) There are a lot of opportunities out there — but don’t get overwhelmed! Here’s how to find the right program for you.
You should consider the following factors when comparing programs:
Do you have a specific destination in mind? Beach or mountains? Nearby, or as far as possible? It’s important to think about the location of the program you’re looking at. Consider doing research on the country or region where the program is located. Learning about a new culture is one of the most exciting components to volunteering abroad in high school — take advantage of it!
2. Language Requirements
Are you taking a language class in high school? Make sure your class level matches the language requirement of the programs you’re looking at. For example, if the program requires two years of classroom Spanish, you should be completing Spanish II before the program begins. Alternatively, there are plenty of programs run in English if you don’t feel as comfortable with the language you’re learning yet.
3. Theme or Topic of Service
Most programs or projects will have a theme or topic to the service you complete. This could range from environmental topics like climate change, conservation, or sustainability to women and gender equality to youth leadership to working with animals.
If you have a certain interest or passion you’d like to explore further, volunteering abroad is an excellent way to do so!
4. Age Requirements
Make sure the program is available to students your age. Some organizations use your age or grade level in school to determine eligibility for certain programs.
Consider speaking with your parents about what price range is appropriate for you to look within. And don’t forget to look for financial assistance or scholarships!
Once you’ve found a program or two that piqued your interest, dig a little deeper! Find the organization that runs the program, and look at their website (and even their social media channels!)
Look for the program dates, upcoming application deadlines, price, and reviews or testimonials from volunteers on that program.