In 2019, millennials are not the only ones challenging themselves to explore the world and do something different. A rapidly growing number of people in their 50s and 60s (and older) are opting for adventure and seizing the opportunity to give back through their travels. Age is not a barrier to volunteering abroad, so use your time to help others, take your career in a different direction, or just try something new and exciting!
Before you hop on a plane, you need to choose a programme that plays to your strengths and takes you where you want to go. Start with five of our favourite volunteer abroad programs for older adults, and make the most of your next vacation, career break, or your retirement.
1. Enjoy the great outdoors and protect wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest
Leave the city or the suburbs behind, and live and work at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the heart of the jungle in Peru. Wake up to the sounds of the rainforest, explore the surrounding jungle on foot, and work alongside conservation experts on various activities at our Rainforest Conservation Project. Our older volunteers love the natural, secluded surroundings, and enjoy working to help indigenous plants and endangered wildlife thrive.
2. Explore archaeological digs and uncover ancient civilisations in Romania
Dig your way to the past, uncover ancient clues, and discover the ways people lived long ago in Eastern Europe. Whether you’re a history buff interested in getting hands-on with history, a person eager to learn about an interest you never had time to explore in your youth, or just wanting to do something completely different, our Archaeology Project in Romania is for you.
3. Help entrepreneurs build businesses and improve customer service in Tanzania
Building a business is no easy task, and the women we work with in Tanzania need support and guidance before they can get their businesses off the ground. Experience makes a huge difference at this project, so we always welcome the opportunity to have older volunteers. Even if you don’t have previous experience in finance, you can assist in several vital areas at the Microfinance Project, from teaching basic mathematics to good customer service. This kind of volunteer work abroad is ideal for over 60s, as running a successful business requires many skills. Share what you have learned during your career and lifetime.
4. Live and work with a traditional Nomad family in Mongolia
Seize the opportunity to break away from the world you know and exchange it for wide-open plains, endless blue skies filled with clouds, and a way of living completely different to anything you have ever known. Live with a nomadic family in a traditional ger on our Nomad Project in Mongolia, and become part of their everyday life. Take part in activities like herding yaks or cattle on horseback, making cheese and butter, milking animals, and teaching English to your host family.
5. Raise awareness of diseases like diabetes in the Philippines
Illnesses like diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, and as populations age, it becomes more important for people to know how to prevent them and take care of themselves. Join our Public Health Project and work to raise awareness of these diseases and provide basic medical services (like measuring blood sugar levels and checking cholesterol) in rural areas. This work is a great fit for volunteers in their 50s and older; as some local communities are more open to listening to and following advice given by older people. No previous medical experience? Our local medical professionals teach you everything you need to know to do the work.
Whatever you decide to do, we can help you choose the volunteer program that is the best fit for you and your level of experience. We also work with you to make sure the project used your particular experience or skills as effectively as possible.
What do I need to know about travelling as an older volunteer?
There are several things to think about when volunteering abroad over the age of 50. Your health, safety, and having travel and medical insurance are extremely important. We take all of this into consideration and ensure that you have the following when you travel with us:
- 24/7 support from our trained and resident local staff
- Travel and medical insurance for volunteers up to the age of 65 (volunteers ages 66 and up need to obtain their own insurance)
- Access to medical care if you are ill or injured
When you participate in volunteer work abroad with us, we do our best to ensure your wellbeing. All you need to do is relax, dive into your volunteer work, and enjoy your travels! If you have any questions about picking a program, or concerns about volunteering abroad over the age of 50, get in touch with us!
A little nervous about venturing out on your own, or travelling abroad for the first time? Then we recommend joining our group trips for people in their 50s and older, Grown-up Specials. They run over fixed periods at different times of the year and offer more guidance than our more independent standard programs. Anyone in their 50s and older can join.