We offer a range of long-term volunteer opportunities in locations across the globe, ranging from three months to one year. With a variety of community development projects to choose from, long-term volunteering gives you the opportunity to spend as much time in the field as possible – making an impactful difference on your program and in the community in which you volunteer. This is your chance to enhance your skill set, meet new people from around the world, learn a new language, and immerse yourself in a different culture.
Joining a long-term volunteer program is the ideal choice if you’re looking to gain valuable practical experience in community projects that focus on education, sports, women’s empowerment, early childhood development, construction or public health.
Our long-term volunteer projects are driven by a core mission: positive impact. GVI is committed to sustainable, meaningful change alongside both our local project participants and our global partners.
We know that collaborative work makes the biggest impact. Community is at the heart of what we do – that’s why all our volunteer projects are locally-led, with decision-making shared between GVI, local organisations, government and community leaders. This type of work allows us to be a part of the continuous, long-term development of communities and individuals.
Our short-term volunteer abroad programs align with one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and focus on the following areas:
Volunteers on our women’s empowerment program in Ghana work towards Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities. While in Fiji, volunteers on a public health project work directly with the district nurses to promote health and wellbeing within the community, contributing to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being.
Because the needs of the communities we work with can change, long-term volunteers often have the opportunity to gain experience working across a number of the UN SDGs. In Nepal, while we run projects which directly contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education and Goal 5: Gender Equality, we also indirectly contribute to more of the 17 official goals. One of our main partner oganisations in Nepal is SASANE, a survivor-led anti-human trafficking organisation dedicated to spreading awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking and its effects on the lives of women in the region. As a volunteer you’ll contribute to gender equality initiatives and assist with regular workshops aimed at enhancing literacy, numeracy, professional skills development, public health, and conversational English classes for local women and girls.
Regardless of which program you choose, or how long you volunteer for, you’ll be contributing towards ethical community projects around the world with long-term sustainable goals.
The length of our long-term volunteer projects range from one month to a year, so you can stay for as short or long as your schedule allows. Staying in one location for a longer period of time does come with benefits. You can fully immerse yourself in the community, gain a deeper understanding of a country, its history and culture, and maybe learn a new language. Whether you have a month’s annual leave or you’re taking a gap year off after high school, our team of enrolment managers will be able to help you choose a program that fits into your schedule.
Please note that GVI does not support orphanage volunteering in any of our locations.
Our commitment to constantly improving on our ethics and impact is represented in our stances on orphanage volunteering, construction and medical volunteering, our badge of ethics, ethical commitments and five empowerment principles.
We also have a comprehensive and regularly updated health and safety policy that forms the foundation of all our activities abroad.
We partner with a number of reputable local and international organisations, and regularly review our comprehensive Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.
Choosing a career path is a big decision, and knowing you’re investing your time in something you’re passionate about can make that decision a lot easier to make.
Joining a long-term volunteer program offers the opportunity to live and work abroad – along with contributing to sustainable locally-led community projects, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your career goals, as well as sought after practical work experience.
Volunteering abroad during a gap year or between studying and working is a great way to travel, make new friends and find out where your passion lies. On top of this, you’ll connect with people and organisations in your chosen career field. Building up a network of people in your chosen industry means you’ll be the first to know about job opportunities that are a fit for you. Plus, you’ll gain many of the skills employers are looking for when looking at applications – with experience and soft skills like leadership and communication being in high demand by employers.
Wondering what soft skills are and why they’re so important? Read more about seven soft skills that will help you thrive in your career.
Maybe you’re deciding which area of studies you’d like to focus on. Or you’re a college graduate getting ready to enter the job market. No matter which stage of your career or studies you’re at, practical work experience can be one of the most valuable additions to your CV. Whether you join a one-month, three-month, six-month or year-long volunteer program, the practical and soft skills you learn during your time abroad will add that extra layer to your job application.
If you’re interested in starting a career in a field related to gender equality, women’s empowerment, sustainable development, public health, construction or education, a volunteer program is a great way to gain hands-on experience. Because we work with organisations on the ground and respond to the actual needs of the communities where we work, we approach our volunteer abroad projects in a holistic way. For example, the communities we work with in Peru have highlighted English language skills as an area of growth that’s important to them. Being fluent in conversational English creates greater opportunities for more community members to succeed in Peru’s tourism sector. Because of this, local communities welcome English-speaking volunteers in Peru to support the teaching of English to local children.
When you join a women’s empowerment volunteering program in Costa Rica, you’ll contribute to the overall empowerment of the community through assisting with running community development workshops, leadership training or activities related to previously identified issues. Teaching and leading small groups by conducting workshops with local women means you’ll have the opportunity to learn Spanish, the second-most spoken language in the world. The longer you stay, the more you’ll learn, and the larger your network will grow.
Volunteers in our programs also stand to benefit with opportunities for professional development. In partnership with the University of Richmond, all our international volunteer programs offer an optional online pre-program course in community development. After successfully completing the course, you’ll receive a certificate which you can add to your college or graduate school application, your job application or your LinkedIn page.
Being part of a long-term volunteer program means you can develop practical research, collaboration and leadership skills while enhancing your knowledge of the global sustainable development sector.
Unsure which country you want to travel to when you volunteer abroad? With hubs and on-the-ground teams in nine countries around the world, we have something for everyone – from the coastlines of Thailand, Ghana and Costa Rica to the forests of Madagascar and the snow-capped mountains of Nepal.
If you’re interested in travelling to more than one country, we offer multi-country volunteering options. You could work on similar types of volunteering programs in multiple locations or join radically different types of volunteering experiences in a range of unique destinations.
With many ways to combine your long-term volunteering programs and international destinations, we can create a program that suits your individual interests. Maybe you’d like to combine your interest in women’s empowerment with your interest in public health. Or you’d like to build your experience volunteering with children across multiple locations by joining teaching programs in Asia, South America and Africa.
If you book two or more consecutive volunteering programs, the fee from your first program will be subject to a combination discount.
We offer long-term community volunteer opportunities in the following countries:
There are plenty of opportunities to travel and sightsee while volunteering abroad as well as free time on base where you’ll be able to connect with your fellow participants. With volunteer work taking place during the week and usually during regular office hours, you can spend your evenings visiting the local areas and take short trips on the weekends.
Our hubs are located in some of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Many volunteers choose to spend time travelling within the country they’re based in before or after their program, with some going further afield and travelling to neighbouring countries. Volunteering in Costa Rica, Ghana, South Africa, Cambodia or Nepal offers the perfect opportunity to travel to other countries in South America, Africa or Asia.
With hubs located across nine countries and four continents, joining a long-term volunteer program offers the chance to travel to some of the most beautiful and unique parts of the world.
Home to some of the best beaches in the world, volunteers in Thailand can spend their free time swimming in the warm waters of Phang Nga Bay, visiting historical temples and enjoying the many Thai dishes which the country is famous for.
Our base in Peru is 500 kilometres from Lima, the capital city. One of our more remote bases, you’ll live and work in the Amazon cloud forest – a unique opportunity to live above a canopy of clouds while contributing directly to conservation and sustainable development efforts. Our base is located one kilometre from the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, from where many beautiful hiking trails start. Travelling further afield, you could visit the city of Cusco, known as the gateway to Machu Picchu, or spend a weekend exploring the capital city of Peru.
All our volunteer projects include GVI Experiences, a selection of locally curated activities that are included in your program. You could learn how to surf on Kokrobite beach in Ghana, learn how to cook traditional Thai dishes, sleep on a remote volcanic archipelago in Madagascar, visit the World Peace Pagoda in Nepal, or hike up Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
Many of our volunteers form lifelong friendships with their fellow volunteers – living, working and spending your free time with like-minded people from around the world can be a life-changing experience.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a volunteering abroad program, but aren’t sure where you can go, what kind of projects you can contribute to, or how you’ll get there, we’re here to help. Our dedicated team of enrolment officers will be able to answer all your questions and assist with choosing a destination and program that’s the right fit for you.
We offer 360-degree support – from your initial contact with us, right through to the end of your program. As soon as you’ve booked your program, you’ll be assigned a personal support coordinator, who will oversee your pre-departure journey. Your support coordinator will bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival on base, making sure you have all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks and any other documentation. They’ll also guide you through a personalised packing list specific to your chosen location and program, and facilitate any necessary cultural orientation and program-specific training.
We specialise in volunteer projects abroad for participants of all ages. On all our volunteer programs, we provide a pre-departure program before you arrive at your chosen location. The program support coordinator and program manager will host a pre-departure call for all volunteers booked onto the program to answer any last minute questions you might have.
In many of our locations, we set up a WhatsApp group to effectively manage participant arrivals. This means you’ll be connected with local GVI staff from the moment you start your journey to the moment you arrive at your program destination.
Once you return from your program, you’ll be asked to provide feedback on your experience with us, and are automatically added to our alumni support network which gives you access to special offers, professional opportunities, and connections from around the world.
When you book a volunteer program with GVI, you can rest assured knowing your safety is our priority. Our stringent support and safety operational guidelines ensure we are compliant with British Standard 8848, a set of requirements designed to ensure international adventure travellers the highest standard of care on their trip abroad.
You can read more about our safety and support policies here.