Would you rather spend your summer doing something meaningful? Perhaps, by volunteering abroad?
Well, you're in luck! Although you can volunteer abroad at any time of the year, there are plenty of programs that are exclusively run during the summer time. Further, it's a great opportunity to participate in seasonal projects, like youth camps or certain environmental conservation projects.
Whether it's wildlife volunteering or community development, get ready to leave the classrooms or cubicles behind for an epic summer volunteering trip abroad.
Volunteering with Children and Youth
During the summer, volunteers can assist with youth development programs such as sports and leadership camps and summer school. These programs range from sports (e.g. soccer) camps to English language camps. Keep in mind that if you're teaching English, you might be required to have a TEFL certificate.
As different as rural areas are from dense urban areas all around the world, the need for housing and other buildings such as schools is equally strong. And the summer time, when regular classes are not in session, are a great time for upgrades to classrooms or new buildings on school grounds. Some programs, such as the REACH summer build program have students focus on raising funds necessary to support the project during the school year and then assist with the project during the summer.
If a destination makes our summer volunteering list, it's a good time to be there weather-wise and therefore a perfect opportunity for spending time outdoors contributing to the conservation of the environment. One of the most popular forms of conservation volunteering is volunteering with wildlife. In South Africa you can do everything from volunteering with great white sharks to volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary -- though, keep in mind that a Northern hemisphere summer will be winter in South Africa. Bring a coat.
Central / South America
From Brazil to Mexico and many other countries in between, South and Central America make for a great summer volunteer destination. Spend time coaching kids soccer in a favella or volunteering in the Amazon.
Central American destinations, like Costa Rica, are particularly great in the summertime. Unlike South America, they won't be experiencing much of a winter (just a rainy season) and tickets from North America are relatively affordable.
South Africa is one of those countries everyone should visit one day. From the beauty of its natural landscapes to the vibrant culture and poignant history best embodied by Nelson Mandela, it's not hard to comprehend why it's a must-visit destination. And summer time in the U.S., which is winter in South Africa, is one of the best times to visit. Particularly for those interested in wildlife volunteering, it's the ideal time to be there as far as the weather and wildlife activity.
The same goes for other popular volunteering destinations in Africa, like Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana.
Take advantage of the warm weather and summer vibes while volunteering in Europe. Especially if you've been eyeing a program in Eastern Europe, the summertime will allow you to see its most beautiful (and least gloomy) side. Volunteer in a summer camp, an animal shelter, or restoring old architecture. Then, head off to the beach on the weekends.
For more tips, read our comprehensive guide on planning a volunteer abroad trip.
How long should you go for?
Summer or otherwise, most programs will require you to commit to at least one week of work. Two weeks is even more common. Be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
If you're a student, taking advantage of the longer stretch of time off by volunteering for 1 - 3 months will be much appreciated by the organizations you're helping.