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Conservation volunteers in Kenya join together on a high school special volunteer trip.

Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for High School Students in 2020 & 2021

The world is calling, will you answer?

By Nadia Moore | 24th October, 2018
Updated on 18th May, 2020

This year, thousands of teenage volunteers will pack their bags, say goodbye to their folks, hop on a plane, and enter the world of volunteering abroad. Sounds easy enough, right? Not quite – but it can be!

Think about volunteering abroad as learning to drive. Nervous? You got this. The most important thing is having a person with experience beside you. To keep an eye on you, guide you along the road, and get you to your objective. Learning to drive can be a challenge, or easy as pie – you just need the right person next to you. When it comes to volunteering abroad for under 18s, start your journey with us in the passenger seat and join us on a High School Special.

But first – what are High School Specials?

Our High School Specials were created for you. Designed for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18, they feature a full schedule of practical volunteer work, social activities, and weekend trips. Our staff are there every step of the way (24/7, in fact) to ease nerves, make you feel at home, guide your work, and make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

"I don’t believe words can truly describe the unforgettable experience I had. From the people, cultures and trips, the memories I gained will forever remain with me. Not once did I feel unwelcome and Projects Abroad worked very hard to make sure everyone felt safe and happy. If you have any problems, you’re only a phone call or email away from having someone on hand to advise you.

I cannot recommend the experience enough, whether you do two weeks, four weeks or five months, you will leave with memories and knowledge that will remain with you forever. I want to thank Projects Abroad for providing me with this unique opportunity and I can’t wait to return to Cape Town in the future. So if you’re considering whether to go and volunteer, I have one word for you: Go!" -Jenny, Childcare in South Africa High School Special

The Best Summer Volunteer Abroad Programs for High School Students in 2020 and 2021:

  • Childcare
  • Community Volunteer Work
  • Medical Internships
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Law and Human Rights
  • Building and Construction
  • Business and Microfinance
  • Sports Coaching
  • Archaeology
  • Journalism

Find out which summer teenage volunteer opportunities abroad is right for you!

Chat with a project expert and we'll help you find the perfect program.

Below are some of our favorite projects for our High School Specials.

Help children learn through play at a Jamaican summer camp

Volunteers put the finishing touches to a playground in Jamaica on a high school volunteer program.

If you love spending time with younger kids, and want to help them learn through play, then our Care & Community High School Special in Jamaica is for you. Use art, drama, dance, and sports to encourage kids to have fun, and be creative and active while they learn. This summer volunteer program for teens take place inside and outside of the classroom, so bring along your favorite game, craft, and activity ideas! Our staff are there every step of the way to guide you at the camp.

Are you looking to help raise the next Yusain Bolt? Jamaica's racing icon could be your next prodigy on our Sports Coaching summer volunteer program. Educating children in sports teaches them more than the importance of physical activity. It teaches them to how to behave and work together in a group and how to motivate them to be the best they can be. Are you ready, coach?
 

Get covered in mud and help plant mangroves in Thailand

One of the most satisfying moments on our Diving & Marine Conservation Project in Thailand has to be the look of joy on a volunteer’s face after successfully planting dozens of mangroves. Mangroves are trees along beach coastlines, with roots that rise and fall out of the water. Mangroves are hugely important in Thailand and throughout the world. They help fight soil erosion, they filter and clean water before it reaches the ocean, and they are nurseries for many marine species. So go play in the mud this summer and help the environment at the same time!

On this project, you'll receive an official PADI Open Water Diver certification, allowing you to continue diving through the rest of your life. Imagine the underwater wonder world that awaits you!

Learn from doctors in a busy Sri Lankan hospital

If you’re thinking about becoming a doctor or nurse one day, join our Medicine in Sri Lanka summer travel program. This is a great way to get medical work experience and explore your career choice. Learn directly from doctors, get experience in different hospital departments, and learn about traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

During outreaches, you’ll also get a chance to do hands-on medical work under the supervision of our staff. So slip on your surgical gloves and help check patients’ blood pressure and blood sugar levels at a two-day medical outreach. Don’t worry if you have no medical experience – we run medical workshops to get you familiar with medical terms and basic health checks before you start working.

"Leaving Sri Lanka was hard for me. It meant I was leaving a country that I had fallen in love with in just two weeks and it also meant that I was leaving some amazing people that I now call lifelong friends. It was a pleasure to be able to experience the culture by living like a true Sri Lankan for a while. I learned a lot about the culture but also about myself. I am really glad that I decided to do my placement with Projects Abroad and I would do it again in a heartbeat." -Farida, High School Special in Sri Lanka

Renovate a care center in Ghana and give it a splash of color and creativity

On the Care & Community High School Special in Ghana, you’ll focus on painting classrooms in the morning, before you play games and do activities with young children in the afternoon. Paint murals of the ABCs or country flags, a number chart, or build a library corner to inspire a love of reading! Your work will brighten up the care center for years after you’ve left, and local teachers and other volunteers can use the murals to teach classes.

If you're interested in volunteering abroad for teens with animals, this summer imagine Volunteering with Wildlife in Botswana. Through your volunteer work, you will be part of our efforts to help preserve and protect elephants, leopards, lions, giraffes and more as well as local ecosystems. Talk about a summer unlike any other!

Learn Spanish and stand up for human rights in Argentina

Learn about the human rights activism people face everyday and learn how to make a difference for marginalized individuals on our Human Rights Internship in Argentina. During this high school abroad volunteer program you can spend the summer in beautiful Argentina, where mountains, rivers and people celebrate life everyday. You'll help with awareness campaigns and connect with people in the fight for justice, in a country that long has a history of activism.

Giving Back and Getting Back as a Teenage Volunteer in 2020 or 2021

You have adventure. A chance to meet teenagers from every corner of the world. Exploring a different country. And best of all? You get to use your own two hands to make a real difference in communities.

There is a lot to gain while volunteering abroad before you turn 18. The real-world experience you get while traveling goes beyond what you learn from Google or a textbook. Learn from local professionals and absorb as much new knowledge and as many experiences as you can. Learn about the challenges people face and what you can do to help.

Get to know the teenagers volunteering abroad alongside you and make friendships longer than a Snapchat second. Friendships will flourish as you live and work together, and those connections might even start if you meet another volunteer at the airport!

What do I need to know as a teenager volunteering abroad?

The most important thing to know is that we have your back. All of our High School Specials:

  • Give you 24/7 support throughout your trip, starting before you leave. Our staff are always there for you.
  • Organize everything for you, from accommodation and socializing and sightseeing.
  • Pick you up from the airport and drive you back when you fly home. We can also book your flights, giving you changeable tickets where possible and arranging sensible routes with the shortest layovers possible. And we will always try to put you on the same flight as another volunteer.

"Within each and every one of the volunteers traveling with me, I found compassion and positivity. We found joy in any situation and any circumstance. We worked together in recreating a kindergarten. We worked as one, and I cannot imagine what this trip would have been like without my friends. These people are the ones with whom I have shared the greatest memories in Fiji." – Jennifer, High School Special in Fiji

Rewind back to our learning to drive metaphor. Finally getting it right and getting your licence opens up a new world. Let volunteering abroad be the same kind of experience for you. Open your world in 2020 or 2021 and make your summer one to remember as you navigate the world of volunteering abroad!

If you want to know more about our best volunteer abroad programs for teenagers, get in touch or check out the rest of our High School Specials. We want to hear from you, so give us a call or send us an email. You can also check out our Instagram to see what volunteers around the world are doing each week.

Teenage volunteers abroad, on a volunteering opportunity for first-time teen travellers in South Africa.

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