These questions relate to the time before you go overseas as a volunteer. For questions relating to the time you are overseas, please see FAQ's - While you're away.
What is Projects Abroad?
We offer Volunteer Abroad
and Intern Abroad
placements in Asia
, Eastern Europe
or Latin America
with Projects Abroad. We offer overseas voluntary work placements including teaching
, conservation & environment
, medicine & healthcare
, law & human rights
projects. In Canada and Europe, Volunteer Abroad is more commonly referred to as Volunteering Overseas
or International Voluntary Opportunities.
In some parts of the US, we've noticed that some people refer to this type of experience as a volunteer mission
, although Projects Abroad itself is a strictly secular organization.
Who volunteers with Projects Abroad?
Volunteers are welcome between the ages of 16 and 75. Many of our volunteers are between 18 and 25 years old, but a rapidly increasing number of career breakers and retired people are now taking part too. This has led to a stimulating mix of people in all our destinations.
Many younger people take part in Gap Year
projects with Projects Abroad before starting university or even after graduation. All our volunteer projects run from four weeks upwards, so you can choose whether to spend all or just part of your gap year volunteering abroad
- also known as Volunteer Vacations
- are a growing trend among working adults and retirees. As part of your next vacation or career break, travel alone or with a partner to volunteer with us. We work in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. View a full list of volunteer projects
Group Volunteer Service Trips
are available for teens and college students over the fall
, spring break
, or winter break
. Go by yourself and join a group, or go with your friends. For more information on teen and high school trips, please see our High School Specials
Is Projects Abroad a scam?
Projects Abroad is not a scam
or a hoax. When it comes to our own legitimacy, we know that you can’t just take our word for it. Any fraud would not work if it admitted to being one! We know that trust is important when traveling far from home, and that your trust must be earned. Here's how you can check to see if Projects Abroad is real
Where can I go?
Programs are available in Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, and Vietnam. View a full list of volunteer destinations
What types of programs are available?
You can get involved in Teaching, Care & Community, Medicine, Conservation, Business, Journalism, Veterinary Medicine, Physical therapy, Animal Care, IT Projects, Sport, Law, Nomad Projects, Inca Projects, Archaeology, Khmer Projects, Spanish, French and Russian. You could also do your Dissertation research with us.
How long do placements last?
You choose how long your placement lasts. Apart from our High School Specials, placements are flexible and most last from four weeks upwards (certain short term volunteer options
allow you to go for just one or two weeks, please check our prices page to see if that's an available object for the project you're interested in). Most volunteers go for between four and twelve weeks, but short term volunteer options are quickly becoming a significant source of volunteer man-hours
around the world. Even if you are currently employed
, a high school
or university student
, or a recent graduate
, you can probably still do one of our projects
Our basic placement prices cover you on a weekly basis for up to twelve weeks. Then you can add on extra weeks on top of these as you wish. You can stay (including placement and travel) in most countries for up to 6 months, but you can stay in Ghana for up to 12 months. These limitations are due to visa and work-permit restrictions; please contact us with any questions you may have about visas or how long you can stay in one of our destination countries.
In some cases, we can arrange last minute volunteer projects abroad
, so please call us even if you think it might be too late! We can sometimes work miracles.
Can I combine placements?
Yes you can combine placements, both within a country and across countries. See Combinations
for more details and combination ideas.
When can I start? When should I apply?
You choose when your placement starts and finishes -- they run year round and it's completely up to you when you'll go. Having said that, many find that Summer Placements are most convenient for High School and College Students.
There are no definitive deadlines for application as well accept volunteers on a rolling basis. We do generally need at least two months to comfortably process an application, but we like to receive your application form as far in advance as possible - so please apply as soon as you've decided what you want to do. The longer the notice, the more we can tailor a program for your needs and preferences. If you decide last minute, give us a call to see how quickly we can arrange it for you - we sometimes only need a few weeks notice depending on the project.
What are the costs involved? Is the work paid?
Please see the prices page for details about the cost of the program you're interested in. You will not be paid for your work, but you will gain extraordinary work experience and discover skills you never knew you had - oh, and you'll have a great time! Our partner schools and other partner organizations can barely afford to pay their own staff, so these positions have to be voluntary and self-funded. Similarly, we get great work experience placements for volunteers because we don't ask our partner-organizations to pay you. Indeed, we always make sure that organizations or individuals in the developing world don't have to pay anything as a matter of principle. We do not receive any government funding or other outside funding.
What do our charges include?
Our costs include all your food, accommodation, comprehensive travel and medical insurance, and support from our expert staff at home and abroad. Our charges are important because they enable us to provide you with a good service and full support. They do not include your international airfare or any extra spending money for traveling when you're abroad.
Are meals included in the cost?
With the exception of when you are traveling or socializing, all meals are provided.
Can I go with my friend/boyfriend/girlfriend?
Friends, significant others, and husbands/wives are certainly welcome and, if you like, we can arrange placements where you can live and work together (with a few exceptions where cultural considerations might make this too awkward.)
Will I need injections?
This really depends on where you choose to go. As we are not medical experts we cannot give out official advice - so talk to your doctor, who will be happy to advise on what you may need. Don't let injections put you off - you'll be glad you had them once you are enjoying yourself abroad! Please check out the Center for Disease Control's website
for basic information about shots/medicine/etc.
What qualifications do I need?
No qualifications are necessary - just reasonable spoken English. No TEFL or teaching qualifications are needed for our teaching programs (although you are very welcome if you do happen to have them). Some projects need language skills and the specific project page will tell you if this is the case. If you're unsure of your language capabilities, please contact us and we'll let you know if you'll be able to participate.
Do I need to speak the local language?
The vast majority of our projects do not require specific language skills and few volunteers speak the local language before they go. It is an advantage to learn a few basic phrases but it is certainly not necessary to be fluent. Teaching volunteers teach English in English -- this is what schools want. There are some exceptions where a basic or good knowledge of the local language is needed. This is often for professional projects like Journalism, Law and Medicine. The specific project pages will specify if any language skills are required. In many countries it is possible to take language lessons if you want to improve your language skills, see the Language Courses
section for more details.
Do I need to be a American or Canadian citizen?
No. We accept volunteers from all over the world - in fact we actively recruit in much of Europe and parts of Asia . We like to have a multinational mix of volunteers - that's what cultural exchange is all about.
How are volunteers selected and accepted?
When you apply we ask you for the name and address of a reference. This will be someone who knows you well - such as a teacher or an employer. We then get in touch with them and ask for a reference. This is usually enough to assure us that you are suitable for a placement. We occasionally invite prospective volunteers for an informal interview to iron out any concerns.
What do I gain from this program?
The program is an excellent opportunity to combine adventurous foreign travel with a worthwhile job. As well as gaining experience that looks vivacious on your resume, you will improve your transferable skills such as team-working, presentation and communication. Above all, this is an unrivalled opportunity to gain an insight into a completely different culture and way of life, which is becoming necessary in our rapidly globalized world.
Can I fundraise for this project?
Of course you can, although we certainly don't say that you have to. Request a Fundraising Guide once you've applied to get some ideas.
Can I talk to people who have done it?
Please see our Volunteer stories
page, or contact us and tell us where you would probably like to go and what project you would probably like to join. We will then give you the e-mail addresses of Projects Abroad alumni who have done the kind of program you're interested in.
What if I have more questions?
If you have any questions or would like to discuss our programs in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact us by emailing email@example.com
or calling toll free, 1.888.839.3535
(US number), 1.877.921.9666
What is the next step?
The next step is either to contact us for more information or, if you've decided definitely what you want to do, apply now.