• 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
24/7 local support network
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Equipment Meals Transportation Travel Insurance Visa
Feb 01, 2023
Mar 04, 2023
20 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 or 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 impactful as possible.

By volunteering with the Instituto Hemingway, you can help the lively city of Bilbao and its biodiverse 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 around Bilbao 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, as well as collecting data on the water quality and marine fauna and flora. 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

Are you a creative person looking to help others? Join our program which helps local people brighten their community through art, and local artists to thrive. From patchwork-knitting to painting wall murals, art therapy to promoting local artists, the sky's the limit for what this program has to offer. We believe in the power of art on local culture, and want to inspire all those around us to express themselves freely. Why not get involved and pick up some new artistic techniques along the way!

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 14 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 14 reviews
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
35 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
33 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
35 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
37 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
40 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Memorable experience in Spain

Going to Spain I was able to immerse myself in things I had never done before. I love travelling and I would recommend this program to any teen who likes to adventure and wants to spice up their resume. Travelling alone was a smooth and breezy process and Instituto Hemingway helped me through every step of the way. I was so excited to meet people I spent the duration of my program with. Together, we were able to visit an animal shelter refugee. During weekdays, we would go to tourist attractions and we even went to the Plentzia beach. Rodrigo, the person we stayed with, was super nice and gave us access to the Wi-Fi and other small issues when we needed. I made friends in my accommodation that I will keep for the rest of my life and I am so happy that I spent my summer there!

P. S Food was excellent anywhere

  • valuable community work
  • cultural inmersion
  • fun excursions
  • Slightly long traveling hours.
44 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life transformation

The best decision I could make! My three months in Spain have been really great.My flatmates in the apartment were very nice and always willing to help if there was a problem. I also really liked my project and enjoyed the work and time with the pets in the animal sanctuary.The trips that I took part with the School were always very organized and full of new experiences. Since Spain has a lot to offer regarding it’s nature, cities and scenery I was always able to discover new and different parts of the country. I have met a lot of amazing people there and enjoyed my stay very much. Now I want to get a degree as a vet.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
A strong understanding and background of the Spanish language is needed. In addition, being an Undergraduate student studying a STEM major would be recommended.
66 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing overseas experience

I carefully researched volunteers programs abroad and I am so glad I chose Instituto Hemingway! They leave no stone unturned in preparing you for success. My program was absolutely perfect!

I had an enriching experience in Bilbao. I'd say plan for a minimum of two weeks to have some sort of impact on the dogs lives. The program could have benefited from some more structure and concrete objectives, but it was flexible to accommodate each volunteer's interest.

The accommodations were brand new and very nice. This program far exceeded my expectations. Bilbao is easy to settle into. I felt very safe in this incredible international city.

I would highly recommend Instituto Hemingway without any hesitation. I experienced numerous once in a lifetime moments and will forever have wonderful memories of Hemingway

What would you improve about this program?
The programme is a great - animals, the accommodation, Bilbao is a great town for those new to Bilbao. It's really safe, interesting, a great place for culture and people - full of great restaurants and shops. The programme could be improved by having more of a set curriculum for the volunteers to follow rather than having each volunteer create their own as it would improve consistency for the dogs. Maybe, they could also give the volunteers some pre-work to prepare before they reach Spain.
70 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers