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How to Volunteer in a Foreign Country

Learn about opportunities to volunteer your skills in a foreign country. Sponsors include government agencies, charitable and religious non-profit organizations, and university programs.


  • Step 1: Assess the value of your personal skills Assess the value of your personal skills as applied to a foreign country’s needs. Common occupations in demand include English as a second language teachers, construction workers, and healthcare professionals.
  • Step 2: Honestly assess your finances Honestly assess your finances and the seriousness of your commitment. You may need to fully fund your participation as a volunteer, and you may need to endure primitive conditions in a poor country.
  • TIP: If you can’t afford to fund your volunteer participation, ask friends, family, or local organizations for contributions.
  • Step 3: Visit websites that list grants for volunteers Visit websites that list grants for volunteers. Many university websites feature grant lists.
  • Step 4: Visit volunteer program comparison websites Visit volunteer program comparison websites, like International Volunteer Programs Association, and in order to explore a list of programs large and small aimed at a variety of countries.
  • TIP: Some volunteer organizations offer programs tailored to specific regions and specific lengths of service time.
  • Step 5: Explore well known volunteer organizations Explore opportunities offered by well-known and well-funded volunteer organizations, like the Peace Corps, and United Nations Volunteers.
  • Step 6: Ask the right questions before making a commitment Ask staff questions about the program before making a commitment. Ask about costs, whether you can you choose to volunteer in a rural or urban setting, and if there will be contact availability in an emergency.
  • FACT: In 1966, President Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian, a registered nurse, joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer at age 68.

You Will Need

  • Honesty
  • Internet access
  • Questions for staff
  • Financial contributions (optional)

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