A lasting impact

Volunteer work abroad for over 50s

It’s time to take that meaningful trip you’ve always wanted. It’s never too late. We all get to a certain point in our lives where we reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and decide we want to try and do more. Perhaps you want to experience a new perspective, join a meaningful cause, or tick something off your bucket list. Whether you’re nearing retirement, or you just need a break from the daily grind, there are voluntary work opportunities available for you. 

At GVI we offer plenty of opportunities for volunteer work abroad for over 50s. Join a volunteer program where you can participate in impactful work, while experiencing a new part of the world. From teaching English and professional development skills, to public health initiatives and women’s empowerment programs, we have opportunities for every interest. It’s never too late to try something new and make a sustainable contribution.



Build a better world by contributing to vital, locally-led project work that strives for a more just and equitable future.


In line with the UN’s SDGs, we are committed to ethical and sustainable engagement with our local partners and communities.


Learn from the world’s most unique and significant cultures, in breathtaking remote locations.

International volunteer opportunities for seniors and older adults


Age doesn’t limit what you can do! At GVI we don’t put a maximum age limit on any of our programs. All of our locations offer volunteer work abroad for over 50s. You don’t have to have any specific skills or qualifications to participate, all you need is a keen interest and passion to make an impact. 

Senior volunteers can join a GVI program for anything from one to 24 weeks. Take a sabbatical and join us for a career break. While all of our programs welcome retired seniors and volunteers over 50, the most popular options for older adults have a community development focus. This includes:


Sometimes older volunteers assume volunteering abroad isn’t for them. But you don’t have to limit yourself to volunteering in your home country just because of your age. In fact, you probably still have many of the same interests you did in your 20s and 30s, but now with much more experience and knowledge. That’s why we value our older volunteers so highly!

You can travel and volunteer with GVI well beyond retirement. Volunteer work abroad for over 50s not only gives you the chance to expand your impact beyond local issues, it also allows you to connect with a global community of passionate and like-minded individuals.

Our volunteer programs for over 50s and retired seniors span across our four regions: Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America. You can request a specific program that matches your goals. Or, depending on your interests and preferences, our enrolment managers can make a recommendation for your volunteer abroad experience. In the past, retired senior volunteers have shown a preference for programs in South East Asia, especially Nepal and Thailand

We understand that every volunteer’s capabilities and goals are different – this is true for young volunteers and senior volunteers. Our on-site staff will make sure your tasks are appropriate for you. The programs we’ve listed below have a community development focus. If you’re interested in conservation, head on over to our Planet page!


Find yourself in a small village in the southern Thai province of Phang Nga. Here, our senior volunteers work with trained staff to teach English to students ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors. English is an important skill for employability in Thailand because of its popularity with international tourists. 

Volunteer work abroad for over 50s in Thailand also includes leading after school activities like art and craft sessions or sport lessons. 


Travel to Pokhara, the gateway to the Himalayas, to make an impact in this volunteer opportunity for seniors. Our senior volunteers support local education initiatives by teaching children or improving school facilities

You can also contribute to women’s empowerment programs through professional skills development. Accommodation is on the edge of Phewa Lake, where you can see the Annapurna mountain range on a clear day. During your senior volunteer experience, you’ll also learn about local Hindu and Buddhist traditions as well as anti-human trafficking intiatives. 


We offer volunteer opportunities for seniors in Siem Reap, a resort town close to the iconic Angkor Wat temple. At this location our over 50s volunteers can teach English to Buddhist monks, assist with child development programs, provide public health training, or support gender equality and public health awareness initiatives. 

In your free time you’ll have opportunities to visit some of the local wonders. Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world, makes for the perfect weekend trip. Our older volunteers also enjoy exploring the national parks, trying pottery classes, and wandering through local bustling markets. 


Our sustainable development initiatives in Ghana provide meaningful voluntary work abroad opportunities for over 50s. Our program in Ghana is based in the small seaside town of Kokrobite, an hour from the vibrant capital of Accra. Here, our senior volunteers contribute to women’s empowerment and children’s education while immersing themselves in West African culture.

South Africa

Travel to the beautiful and diverse South Africa, and volunteer in the iconic city of Cape Town. At our South Africa location, our senior volunteers teach one-to-one literacy and numeracy to children from the local communities. There are many other projects you can get involved with, including teaching sports skills, facilitating women’s professional development and promoting awareness of preventative health practices.

Over 50s volunteers also enjoy exploring the Western Cape of South Africa. From Cape Town’s Table Mountain to the Cape of Good Hope, there are dozens of options for day and weekend trips. 


Join local caregivers working with young children in the district of Dawasamu, on Fiji’s Viti Levu island. You’ll assist with extracurricular activities as well as education and personal development. This is an excellent opportunity to make a lasting impact as a volunteer over 50. Senior volunteers can also join workshops focused on prenatal, infant and toddler health

Your free time can be spent on historical excursions, town tours, day trips to nearby islands, hikes through nature parks and more.

Costa Rica

Senior volunteers can embark on the adventure of a lifetime in Costa Rica’s central town of Cartago. At this location we work with local economic refugee communities to offer educational and professional development training. Volunteer opportunities for seniors in Costa Rica are focused on collaborating with the local community.


Peru is often on people’s bucket list – but why not make your journey to Peru something that creates sustainable impact? Volunteer opportunities for seniors abound at our Oxapampa base. Here you can engage with the community by teaching English, or join local initiatives to empower girls and women

Our over 50s volunteers also enjoy the cultural immersion opportunities in Peru, exploring subjects like local cuisine and religion. You’ll also have free time to explore the surrounding area or travel further over the weekends (think Machu Picchu!).

Will there be other over 50s volunteering?

People of all ages join our programs around the world. Some of them are retired senior volunteers and voluntary workers over 50. But of course, some are also younger volunteers. We aim to have a diverse group of individuals participating in our programs.

If you’d like to guarantee that you’re placed with other senior volunteers, be sure to speak with our enrolment managers. Based on past experience, you’re most likely to find older volunteers on our programs in Nepal or Thailand.

How strenuous will the projects be? 

At each of the locations we’ve listed on this page, there are a wide variety of projects. Even within projects of the same name, the actual work undertaken at each site may be different. Some activities might require a bit more physical activity, but you can also opt for less physical work. Chat with our enrolment managers to determine expectations. 

Do I need any specific skills or qualifications?

We don’t require any specific qualifications for our volunteer programs. We provide training during your program specific to the kind of work you’ll be doing. For example, when teaching English, you might be guided by TEFL-certified instructors. 

That said, we know that some of our over 50s volunteers might have special skills they can share. If you have professional experience that is relevant to your project site, chat to our staff. Programs like teaching maths, music, sports or business skills would certainly be bolstered by your experience. 

What is the accommodation like?

Naturally, accommodation varies depending on the program location. While designated housing for senior volunteers isn’t automatically included in your program, you can opt for private accommodation in some of our locations. 

Typically, GVI housing for participants is in communal dormitory-living areas with shared resources. However, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and we understand that. In some locations, private accommodation at a guesthouse or apartment is available close to the communal housing. This allows our more mature volunteers to enjoy their own space and down time. 

Discuss this option with your enrolment manager. Please note that not all of our locations offer private accommodation due to some of their remote locations. 

Can I bring a partner or family member? 

As a senior volunteer, you might want to share this experience with someone you love. You can absolutely arrange to volunteer with a group of friends, family, or a spouse. Just chat with one of our enrolment managers to set this up! If you have a bigger group, we also offer group travel options and family volunteering holidays abroad

How do I keep in touch with family and friends while travelling abroad? 

There are a few ways to keep in touch with loved ones when you volunteer over 50. Depending on the location you choose, you might have WiFi access in your accommodation or on base. You could also buy a local SIM card to work in your phone. Most participants make use of web-based communication apps like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime to chat with friends and family. 

Do I need to speak a foreign language? 

No, you won’t be required to have fluency in a language other than English. English is spoken at all of our bases and many of our programs include teaching English in local communities. However, if you have language skills, those are most welcome! 

At our community development projects in Costa Rica and Peru, volunteers join regular Spanish classes to make their experience as impactful as possible. 

What does it cost?

Each program has specific information on fees and what’s included in your cost. Your program fee covers essential services, such as your pre-departure support and materials, your food and accommodation on the program, and all your GVI training, experiences and orientation. It also supports the long-term GVI field staff, in country support, project equipment and materials. 

In order too make this the best experience possible, we offer the best support and opportunities possible, which does come at a cost. We offer multiple payment plan options to match your needs. We also offer scholarships and bursaries, many of which have no age restriction.

Are there any extra costs?

Depending on where you choose to join GVI as a senior volunteer, there may be additional costs to consider. For example, if you would like to upgrade your accommodation to a private room or guesthouse, this will incur an additional fee. 

Fun travel outside your program experience is also at own cost. While you’re doing volunteer work abroad, it’s a huge benefit to travel and see the local community and destinations. Consider setting some funding aside for these outings. And remember that your GVI cost does not include flights, insurance, visa expenses or extras. 

Can I fundraise? 

You can absolutely fundraise for your senior volunteer experience! We have a dedicated fundraising page that includes tips, tricks and guidance to start fundraising. This is also an excellent way to get friends and family involved in supporting your endeavours. Choosing to do volunteer work abroad as an older volunteer is a big deal, and it’s a great idea to share this experience with those you love!

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