• Spain
    • Bilbao
1 to 52 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
Equal parts volunteer experience, language acquisition, and cultural immersion. We include:
Airport pickup. Once you arrive, you will be met at the airport and taken directly to your accommodation.
Contracted placement and Certificate upon completion
Volunteer placement- 20 hours a week (sustainable urban permaculture initiatives, art therapy, teaching English, Soccer community assistant, beach cleaning, social media and many more..)
24/7 local support network
Free leisure and cultural activities
2 weeks of Spanish intensive lessons (20 hours per week)
Accommodation in shared apart dorm room. In case you want host family or single room please ask for extra fee

What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Equipment Meals Transportation Travel Insurance Visa
May 01, 2024
Dec 25, 2023
26 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Dreaming of living and working in Spain, improving your Spanish, and making lasting friendships, all whilst making a difference? Then the Instituto Hemingway is the place for you. From animal welfare and conservation to art therapy, teaching English.. we have the perfect volunteer program for you.

We believe volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences possible, especially when volunteering abroad: it gives you a chance to give back to the community you are visiting. We tailor our volunteering programs to your specific skill set, while also considering the needs of the community you are working with, to ensure your work is as fun and impact as possible.

By volunteering with the Instituto Hemingway, you can help the lively city of Bilbao and its biodiversity surroundings continue to thrive. In your downtime, why not explore our picturesque city and all that it has to offer!

Everyone is welcome, and at great prices for all budgets, this is not an opportunity to miss!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • You will get two weeks of Spanish courses (amounting to 20 hours per week) as part of your program, alongside an orientation upon your arrival in Spain.
  • Stay in a shared apartment with all amenities covered, right in the centre of the city, for the duration of your stay.
  • Join us for our free cultural activities including trips, wine tastings, salsa lessons, cooking workshops and tapas tours.
  • Bilbao is a city that’s off the beaten tourist trail, so it’s the perfect place to truly practice your Spanish in day-to-day situations. Why not explore some of the many other cities in Spain while you’re here, thanks to Bilbao’s great transport networks!
  • Our experienced and accredited in-house lawyer who specialises in Study Abroad programs helps handle the VISA process with no hidden costs, to make your arrival in Spain a breeze.

Popular Programs

Animal Welfare Volunteering with the Instituto Hemingway

The pandemic has led to an ever-increasing number of stray cats and dogs on Bilbao’s streets, with most in poor health and living in adverse conditions. Help support our local animal shelter by looking after the cats and dogs in their care and finding them loving homes. You will be working 3-5 hours per day, 4-5 days per week. Enjoy your evenings and weekends with the friends you’ve made whilst volunteering, getting to know Bilbao and beyond. There is no better way to discover Spanish culture!

Coastal Conservation Project with the Instituto Hemingway

The coast in Northern Spain is both stunning and unique. Unfortunately, it is not adequately protected, leaving many of its beautiful beaches at risk of pollution. Contribute to the health of the oceans and help save marine life by preserving these ecosystems through beach clean ups. You will also be raising awareness in the local community about the importance of protecting the coastline for future generations.

Social Entrepreneurship with the Instituto Hemingway

Bilbao is a city much-loved by everyone that visits. It needs constant care to help maintain its splendour and minimise the adverse impact of tourism on both Bilbao and its surroundings. Our volunteers contribute to the welfare of the city and countryside in myriad ways: from maintaining walking trails and parks, journalism and photography to replanting initiatives, creating education campaigns, and developing recycling programs. However you hope to help, we know there’ll be something for you!

Creative Art Expression Volunteering with the Instituto Hemingway

Join a compassionate community who share your commitment to making the world a kinder, more inclusive place and helping people with disabilities through the art. Be a part of Disabled Care Volunteering Program to work in a school for mentally challenged students of different age groups ranging from children to adults in their thirties. The students have a variety of learning difficulties and special needs.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Instruction 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 5
  • Value 5
  • Impact 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 17 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Spain with meaningful impact on environment

Wonderful experience meeting and working with a great bunch of people from around the world. Can’t wait to undertake another programme . Had great support from staff and participants were eager and keen to learn and improve the skills about permaculture and environmental impact Have made friends for life and have discovered a beautiful country. Accommodation was beyond my expectations. Great outdoor area to sit and thankfully the weather was amazing . Would highly recommend this programme for people all ages as a great way to meet and engage with others, If you're seeking an experience that combines language learning, cultural exchange, and personal growth, I wholeheartedly recommend giving Instituto Hemingway a try. It's an investment in yourself and a step towards a more interconnected global community

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I found the work rewarding as you can really feel the impact you have had on the participants at the end of each programme.

The team was extremely supportive especially when I felt unwell or stressed during the programme. They always tried their best to accommodate the needs of the international participants.
  • Experience different culture
  • Learn a new language
  • Making friends with people from all over the world
  • Language barrier at first but then with language lessons no problems
  • schedules can be a bit chaotic but you get used to it
  • weather changes quite a lot sometimes
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

This program is a must for people who love animals

This program was beyond amazing! I had the time of my life working with dogs at the animal shelter in Northern Spain. I really felt like I was making a difference in there lives. Not too mention being able to see a lot of city attractions along with other cities in Spain. This experience also taught me how to be more responsible and how to work with other people well. It is definitely an experience that without a doubt I will remember for the rest of my life and I would recommend this project to anyone who is interested in working with animals

What would you improve about this program?
I think the exact organization of day to day volunteering could be improved but that is a simple thing to fix.
  • Everyone was super friendly.
  • The dogs were so fun to work with
  • I got see many of city attractions and other cities in Spain
  • The language barrier is a little difficult at first.
  • It’s a little confusing getting to the animal shelter because you have to use the train
  • You have to be really patient with people.
20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Memorable experience in Spain

This program in Spain is so rewarding in so many ways. This country and this program is fantastic in block capitals. I met wonderful people, immersed myself in the culture , worked hard yet still had fun and relaxed, ate more than I should and laughed. This was a stunning experience that I would recommend to any traveler of any age

I feel this experience provided me more perspective on how other people live. It made me more humble and allowed me the chance to explore some difficult emotions around privilege which I think is important. If someone was hesitant I would tell them that the local team is amazing and super supportive. They ensure you are safe and taken care of. I would encourage anyone to go in with an open mind and remain flexible. Just embrace the culture and experience because your time will go by extremely fast.

What was your funniest moment?
I ate for the first time rabbit. This was one of the best thinks I ate. If you are not vegetarian, defenetly try it. You can eat it with the head off. It makes you not to think what you eating.
  • You will practice and gain confidence with the Spanish language
  • You will be inmersed in another culture
  • You will participate in ethical community service
  • Sign up early or the program you want may fill up
  • Your friends, relative and family will not be with you. Challenging if first time solo abroad
  • Best to plan ahead and take Spanish classes before you go
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful Spain

Spain had always been on my 'must-see' list of countries and I knew that when I was finally going to plan a trip to go there that I wanted to get more than just the 'tourist view' of this country. I wanted to meet the people that live there and experience their culture.

Everyone I met was so warm and welcoming. They were all so eager to show me their city, to treat me to little cups of sweet tea and to talk about their lives and culture. Everyday I spent in the dog shelter was interesting, to see different treatment methods and of course to spend time with all the sweet dogs who will sit with you for hours in exchange for an ear scratch.
The added bonus of not having to worry about the details like accommodation, airport pick ups, cultural activities etc makes for a very easy going trip. Instituto Hemingway has all of these things organized for you and knowing that they have been there and experienced the placement themselves in order to make it suitable for their volunteers is more than reassuring. They even provide you with information about the country you are going to before you leave so that you arrive prepared and are always available if you should need to get in touch with them.

This was a great experience for me and I would absolutely do it again without a second thought. Saturdays and Sundays were also another extra bonus for me visiting surrounding areas and different cities accross Spain.

  • Fantastic organization
  • safety
  • Fun excursions
  • Nothing
55 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in Spain

Jose, from Instituto Hemingway, perfectly planned every detail of this trip. We were connected with an outstanding host in the local community and an inspiring organization Jose was available before the trip to video call and answer all of our questions. He also communicated with our group throughout the entire trip to ensure we were having an amazing experience. I was also impressed with the organization of our transportation. Being in an unfamiliar location, it could have gotten quite overwhelming, but, with his help, our transportation was always well organized. We worked with dogs, cats, vietnamese pigs, donkeys etc,. This trip was truly life-changing thanks to Hemingway Institute, and I learned so much about conservation.

  • Variety of animal experiences
  • Outstanding organization and made many friends
  • Flexibility
  • 40 min far by train from city centre
  • More pre trip support in the area
53 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful project and wonderful time

I loved feeling like I lived in Bilbao-Spain if only for two weeks. I walked around the city every day, then took the super clean and super safe metro to my volunteer work. I spent my mornings at the beautiful Spanish language school of Hemingway surrounded by beautiful mountains and in the afternoons I took part in my environmental project. It was so meaningul for me, doing something for the others. It was an adventure living with my host family who didn't speak English. Now I would have chosen to be in a shared apartment with other volunteers my age, with more fun and more lively chats and experiences. Even though I'm home now, my mind constantly returns to the mountains, the rivers, and the people of Bilbao

  • My project
  • My colleagues in the project
  • the city of Bilbao
  • Host family who did not speak any word in English
55 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing experience!

The best volunteering experience I ever had. The apartment was amazing! 5🌟
The staff super helpful and friendly!
So recommendable if you want to live the whole #SpanishExperience that for sure is going to change your life!
The first day that I arrived I was a bit confused because of the different schedules for lunch and dinner in Spain and siesta times. At 3 pm everything was closed. But when I got into the apartment, they received me with a super smile, and a nice talk with all of the other volunteers.

After that week I was way more comfortable and I knew how the city worked. On my 3rd week I started the project as I was more confident with my Spanish, and the Coordinator Rodrigo, helped me a lot in this process! He helped me to find a place, helped me with the people. And at the end of the day, we had such a success.
It is an amazing experience, they have a lot of programs where you can volunteer, from journalism to environmental issues, so that’s amazing. Because they give you the experience that you are looking for! I chose animal welfare and now I want to be a vet.
100% Recomendable!

  • The program was fine for me
  • Dog shelter was not in downtown
55 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
John John
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Inmersion

i thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the local staff and very kind volunteers here with me. made lots of new friends, and gained a lot of experience. i would definitely come back to Instituto Hemingway to complete this project again, hopefully in the near future!

I loved working with the dogs. My experience was incredibly rewarding and the time I spent there felt impactful. The dogs were very receptive to any love and attention they received, and it was made apparent that a little would go a long way. I was able to work with individuals from all around the world and learn more about the culture in Spain. Everyone was very helpful and eager to share experiences, which made every moment worthwhile. Learning Spanish was challenging and exciting, and it was great to have the opportunity to practice the language on a daily basis.

  • Office is right in the city so you can have support every day
  • meet a lot of like minded people
  • The staff spoke good English
  • Some aspects were a bit commercial, expected though for a tourism city
61 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers