Volunteer Programs in Europe
Guide to volunteering abroad in Europe
With a diverse topography and a wide range of cultures, it is no wonder why people choose to start their adventure in Europe. Whether you opt for the sun soaked streets of Spain or mountainous Montenegro, there’s something for everyone. While many people choose to travel throughout the vast continent as tourists, volunteering in Europe can provide you a more thorough insight into unique cultural heritage and histories.
Interested in volunteering in Europe? Keep reading to learn more about the various types of volunteering opportunities there are and how you can volunteer in Europe!
Popular countries for volunteering in Europe
There are a wealth of countries to choose from when it comes to visiting or volunteering in Europe.
Here are some of the most popular countries for volunteer work in Europe.
Known for its 13,676 kilometers of coastline, sapphire blue waters, and ancient history which heavily molded European culture today, Greece is a popular destination among volunteers in Europe.
Greece is a great choice for volunteering in Europe, especially when it comes to environmental and marine conservation, and opportunities related to sport, medicine, and more.
Stunning architecture, world renowned culinary culture, and a romantic language make Italy one of the most popular destinations in the world for travelers. In addition to the attractive aspects of its culture that create the perfect holiday destination, there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to volunteer in Europe.
Volunteering opportunities in Italy include but aren’t limited to teaching English, nursing, agriculture and environmental conservation, summer camps and community development, and many more projects which are both rewarding to volunteers and the Italian community.
From architectural marvels in Barcelona and Seville to the mountain ranges of Sierra Nevada, Spain can offer different environments to those who want to revel in its natural and man-made beauty.
Those who are looking to give back to the community while also undergoing an enriching experience can volunteer through projects such as teaching English in a homestay or at schools, shadowing health practitioners at hospitals, getting involved with marine conservation, and more.
Portugal’s cities are rife with cobblestone alleyways and vibrant colors that create picturesque sceneries for globe trotters. Among the pretty sites that Portugal has to offer, you can volunteer in a wide range of areas in this idyllic country. Volunteer programs in Portugal include marine conservation, animal care, medicine, and community development.
Common project types in Europe
There are plenty of opportunities in a wide range of fields waiting for those who want to volunteer work in Europe.
Some of the most popular volunteer projects in Europe include:
- Environmental conservation: Volunteers can take part in a meaningful project which benefits European habitats, while also embracing the natural landscape and biodiversity that it has to offer.
- Youth summer camps: Summer camps can facilitate social development among youth and can help children increase their confidence significantly by completing team-based activities and engaging with an inspiring team leader (you!).
- Animal care: Europe is home to a vast number of native species as well as domesticated animals that often require the support of volunteers. Whether these animals have been mistreated, abandoned, injured, or displaced due to forest fires or other natural disasters, there are many different species which volunteers can help guide back to health and experience a better life.
- Teaching English: Teaching English to children can be a highly rewarding path for volunteers in Europe. For some, volunteering to teach English is a more viable option than paid teaching jobs abroad because of its more flexible time commitment and fewer requirements.
How to volunteer in Europe
Here are a few things you need to consider volunteering in Europe.
- Choose a project that fits your goals and passions: It is important that you choose a project which is personally meaningful and rewarding to you. Otherwise, you may not enjoy your experience. A project that aligns with your values will enrich your experience volunteering in Europe significantly!
- Determine how long you can volunteer for: You’ll need to know how much time you can commit towards your project. It’s also important to note that some programs may only accept volunteers who can commit to a minimum amount of time and certain visas may prohibit you from staying for too long.
- Start budgeting for your volunteer trip abroad: You’ll need to understand what’s included in the program, such as whether they provide accommodation, meals, assistance, or a stipend. Then, you can determine roughly how much money you will need to spend while you’re there. Don’t forget to budget for flight costs and insurance!
- Apply for your visa and travel insurance: Knowing what sort of visa (if any) you need is paramount. Some countries will allow you to volunteer on a tourist visa, whereas others may require you to obtain a special volunteer or charity visa. Be sure to purchase travel insurance, not only for your health and safety, but because for some countries, insurance is an entry requirement.
- Be a responsible volunteer abroad and put the community first: Although this is your time for personal development and growth through experiential travel, you’ll need to remember to put the local community first. You are a guest in your chosen country, and you need to display the utmost respect - inside and outside of project hours - the way you’d expect visitors to do in your home country.
Cost and funding
There are several costs that you will need to consider when planning to volunteer in Europe. Scholarships and grants can help reduce the amount you need to pay.
Average volunteer trip costs
The cost of volunteering in Europe will vary according to a range of factors, such as the type of project, project length, benefits included, and so on.
Prices for a week of volunteering on a program start from around $400 to $2,000 USD. Typically, these volunteer projects are generally all inclusive, meaning that your program fee covers things like accommodation, visa support, food, local transportation (not airfare), and more! It’s typically more cost effective to volunteer for more than a week as many program providers offer weekly fee reductions the longer you stay.
Scholarships and grants for volunteering
It is possible to apply for funding in the form of scholarships or a grant for your volunteering abroad project. This can relieve travelers from a significant amount of financial costs, so be sure to check out the different kinds of scholarships and grants available to see if you are eligible!
Why do I have to pay to volunteer abroad in Europe?
Paying to volunteer not only supports the local program and its projects but it often means key things like accommodation, food, and local transportation are included. This can save you in the long run and simplify the overall process.
Am I too old to volunteer abroad in Europe?
No! Volunteers of all ages are welcome to volunteer across Europe. Be sure to pick a program that fits with your individual abilities.
Where are volunteers most needed in Europe?
Volunteers are needed all over Europe for different reasons. Some coastal countries may require more volunteers for a specific project, such as marine conservation, for example, whereas other countries may need more English teachers.
How do I find volunteer work in Europe?
You can find volunteer work in Europe by searching and comparing volunteer program providers here on Go Overseas!
How can I volunteer for free in Europe?
It is possible to volunteer in Europe for free, but free projects will expect you to cover many additional costs such as airfare, accommodation, food, transportation, and more. You can volunteer in Europe for free by directly applying to project providers.Related Content
Do I need a visa to volunteer in Europe?
Some countries will allow you to volunteer on a tourist visa, whereas others may require you to apply for a volunteer or charity visa. Visa requirements vary from one country and nationality to another, so it is important to research your destination’s requirements.