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Volunteer Abroad Programs for Teenagers

Children listen to a story read by a high school student volunteering in Cambodia.

Every year, thousands of high school students volunteer with Projects Abroad and use their summer break to help, learn something new, and explore the world. With so many teens looking for international volunteer opportunities, we created a program just for them – our High School Specials.

Discover and grow in areas that ignite your interest, match your passions, or fit into future career goals on a High School Special. Our most popular High School Specials include Childcare and Community Work, Medicine and Healthcare, and Conservation. We also offer volunteer abroad programs for students interested in spending the summer volunteering with animals, actively participating in law and human rights work, and exploring archeological digs.

What are High School Specials?

Our High School Specials are international volunteer trips for students between the ages of 15 and 18. Most programs are two weeks long, but others run for three or four weeks. When planning one of these trips, we keep in mind that our teenage volunteers are young and many are traveling alone for the first time. Ensuring you are safe, comfortable, and having the adventure of a lifetime is our priority!

By traveling with us on a High School Special, you:

  • Live and work with a group of teenagers your age
  • Choose from a variety of fixed dates in June, July, and August and pick the one that works best for your schedule
  • Have supervision and support from trained local staff 24/7
  • Participate in a full schedule of volunteer work that benefits local people, animals, or the environment
  • Join events and activities to learn more about the local culture and traditions
  • Travel together on weekends to explore the country, relax, and have fun

Parents and teenagers can read more about the structure of High School Specials here.

Summer Volunteering Abroad for High School Students

A high school student interning in Sri Lanka for the summer measures blood pressure levels during a medical outreach.

In America, summer is the most convenient and popular time for high school students to volunteer internationally. To accommodate busy summer vacation schedules, we offer various dates from June to August every year for a wide range of projects. You pick the dates that work for you when you apply.

We also offer a select range of High School Specials during spring and winter. View these dates here.

The benefits of volunteering abroad as a high school student

The experience of volunteering overseas is one you carry with you for a lifetime. From speaking with previous High School Special volunteers, we know that volunteering helps foster a deeper sense of responsibility, nurtures independence, and opens students’ eyes to the world before college.

Universities and employers see international volunteer work as a positive experience, so use it to boost your resume in college and job applications. Talking about the challenges you faced, how you overcame them, and what you learned abroad will help set you apart from the crowd!

We also recommend speaking with an advisor at your school about getting academic or community service credit for your time abroad.

Check out some reviews from our former High School Special volunteers to get a more personal sense of the benefits of volunteering abroad for teenagers.

Alternatives to High School Specials


If you are 16 or older and confident about traveling and working independently, look at one of our standard Volunteer Abroad or Internship Abroad programs that run throughout the year. The average age of volunteers on a standard project is between 18 and 24, and we find that these placements are great for recently graduated high school students.

Custom Group Volunteer Trips for High School Students

If you are looking for a more specific program, we can work with you to arrange a custom group volunteer trip if you are with a group of five or more. We have extensive experience working with high school students and teachers to arrange personalized group programs, whether you are fellow students, friends, classmates, or part of the same team or club.

Have questions or want to know more about volunteering abroad for high school students? Get in touch with our Program Advisors by sending an email or giving us a call. You can also chat with our advisors online.

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