Switzerland is the landlocked country primarily known for their snowy Alps, expensive watches, and large banks. On top of all that, Switzerland is known to be one of the richest countries in the world. However, beyond all the glamour, is a country that is simply a great volunteer destination. Whether you spend your days volunteering in local communities, teaching English or volunteering with a large organization, there is something for everybody!Photo Credit: Olivier Miche.
While you wouldn’t expect one of the richest and well to do countries in the world to have a lot of volunteer opportunities, there is definitely something for everybody!
Helping Local Communities
While Switzerland is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, some local communities could still use the help of volunteers. Whether that means working with small children, helping with a local construction project or volunteering at a local hospital, there is always a need for help. This is a great option for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the local culture/community.
Another great option is to teach English. While English is spoken widely in the country, there is still a need for volunteers to teach the language. Depending on the program you choose, you may be required to receive a TESL certificate. Overall, this is a great option for anyone looking to make an immediate impact!
Red Cross and the UN
The Red Cross and one of the headquarters of the UN are both located in Geneva. While it will be difficult to find a volunteer opportunity within the UN, there are many organizations nearby that are sure to be looking for volunteers. In addition to the UN, the Red Cross was initially founded/headquartered in Geneva and is always looking for volunteers. Working at the headquarters of the Red Cross would surely be a great opportunity!
How to Save Money while Volunteering: At first glance it may seem like Switzerland is a very expensive place to volunteer, however, that doesn’t have to be the case! The key to making Switzerland affordable is to make a good budget and stick to it. Research exactly how much you plan on spending for things like food, housing and transportation. Hopefully, this will keep you from overspending. In addition, many volunteer programs offer benefits like homestays, which could save you a significant amount of money. All in all, it will ultimately be up to you and your spending habits, but coming prepared can go a long way in making volunteering in Switzerland doable!
Best Places to Volunteer: With Switzerland being such a small country, it may be possible for you to volunteer at more than one location during your stay. However, that being said, there are a few key places where you should start your search. The top of the list is Geneva, official headquarters of the UN and Red Cross. Next on the list is Zurich, a large metropolitan city that has a large number of volunteer organizations looking for helpers. Lastly, if you’re looking for a quaint and beautiful city to volunteer in, look no further than Lucerne. A city that is known for its churches and friendly locals, you’re sure to have a great time there.
Health And Safety of Workers: One of the benefits of volunteering in Switzerland is that you know you will always be safe there. Switzerland is historically known to be one of the safest places in the world with its ultra low crime rates.
In addition, the health care system is exactly what you’d expect from a country as developed as Switzerland. The country features universal health care for its residents. On top of that, the quality of the health care is top notch, so one does not need to worry about care in the event they were to get sick.
Contributed by Raj Patel