Volunteer and Intern in Ethiopia
- Location: Addis Ababa
- Accommodation: Host families
- Local languages: Amharic
Ethiopia, in Eastern Africa, is a destination where Projects Abroad volunteers can make a huge difference in the lives of the needy. Our volunteer projects and internships in Ethiopia are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, including those on a gap year, career break, or volunteer vacation.
It is impossible to think of Ethiopia and not recall the haunting images of famine from past decades. With the unpredictable rains, a lack of food in the dry northern areas of the country will undoubtedly occur again. With an increased international presence and early warning indicators in place, famine on the scale of previous disasters should become an increasingly distant memory. However, this region of Africa still needs much support and it is a great location for anyone wishing to help by doing some international volunteer work.
Ethiopia is the size of France and Spain combined, so most first time visitors are amazed by the variety of lush landscapes and spectacular scenery the country offers. From the fertile countryside and multicolored lakes of the Rift Valley to the rocky backdrop of the world renowned Lalibela churches or the dramatic snowcapped peaks of the rugged Simien Mountains, most of Ethiopia is nothing like the parched and barren land that comes to mind from news reports.
Our international volunteering opportunities are located in schools teaching English and a variety of other subjects and extra-curricular activities, or on childcare projects in orphanages and care homes. Volunteers interested in gaining international work experience can also take part in various internship programs.
“Ethiopia is truly a land of contrasts and extremes. It’s not easy to describe Ethiopia, but I can safely say that this country will make you rethink all your preconceptions. You’ll be surprised at the spectacular scenery and lush greenery, and although it may take a while to get used to the curiosity you attract as a westerner, you will find warm and genuine friendships here. Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country, and is said to be the most unique destination in Africa. If you want to experience it for yourself and can bring some enthusiasm to our projects, we’d love for you to join us here.”
Where You Will Live in Ethiopia with Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad Ethiopia is based in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Some of Addis Ababa is quite developed, although there has been no urban planning, so huts and shanty areas are mixed in with modern high-rise buildings. The main residential areas are low-rise, corrugated iron shanty districts.
Much of the population outside Addis relies on subsistence agriculture and food security is low, although there is a high improvement from the last two decades. Despite some recent economic progress in urban areas, Ethiopia is still very much a developing country.
Addis Ababa is a rapidly growing city that combines elements of old and new Ethiopia. Located in the center of the country at an altitude of 2400m, Addis is the third highest capital city in the world and has a pleasant, temperate climate with warm days and cool nights.
Projects Abroad volunteers live with local host families during their time abroad, guaranteeing that they’ll experience another lesser-known aspect of Ethiopia – its friendly and welcoming people.
Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Ethiopia
On the weekends, you can take time off from your volunteer work to explore Addis Ababa and you will not be disappointed. It’s fascinating to see the mud huts basking in the shadows of lavish high-rise hotels. Priests in traditional dress hurry along the streets alongside suited businessmen chatting on cell phones, avoiding the passing donkeys and speeding Land Rovers.
The choice of entertainment is equally varied with plenty of activities to choose from. You can spend hours exploring the Merkato, one of the largest markets in Africa, visit a tej beat – a traditional local bar – or catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster at a movie theater. Addis Ababa is also home to some of the best museums in Africa as well as great restaurants, serving some of the most highly seasoned food anywhere on the African continent. Popular traditional Ethiopian specialties include the stew-like wat and the staple spongy bread, injera.
Did you know? Ethiopia uses a different schedule to tell time- instead of starting at midnight or noon, hours 1 to 12 start at dawn (6 am) and dusk (6 pm). For example, 7am would be 1 o’clock Ethiopian daylight time.
At the end of your international volunteer experience, you can take the opportunity to travel to Lalibela, a place of pilgrimage with churches hewn straight out of the bedrock, located 2630m above sea level. Although Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s main visitor attractions, it still remains very isolated and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back many centuries.
Independent travel in Ethiopia is hugely rewarding, even though the infrastructure of the country is fairly basic. You’ll get used to the curiosity that you attract as a visitor and you’ll make many warm and genuine friends here.