If you want to do something different this coming winter, great news: several accredited volunteer organizations are now offering two-to-four week winter break volunteer projects.

This is perfect for students who only have a few weeks off between semesters, as well as working adults with limited vacation time. If you are a retiree, lucky you! You can spend more of the winter season giving back. The mission doesn’t have to be purely humanitarian, either: students (with approval from an academic advisor) can receive either academic or community service credit for their participation.

Volunteering with Childcare Programs

Volunteering in education and childcare is one of the most common project types out there. Although you will likely make a bigger impact by staying for more than a couple of weeks, you could still participate in a short-term winter volunteer program and assist with English lessons for Mayan children in Guatemala or planning craft activities for students in India.

Volunteering for Environmental Conservation

Environmental conservation projects are more abundant and feasible on a winter break. From volunteering with the human-elephant conflict in India to tracking wildlife in Kenya, there volunteer projects for environmental conservation are almost as diverse as nature itself.

While winter may seem like the wrong season to volunteer to plant organic gardens or track howler monkeys in the rainforest students should remember that December is the perfect time to journey to sub-tropical climates. Who wouldn't want to escape the cold?

Volunteering for Healthcare Programs

Professionals already in the medical field and university students who plan on pursuing a career in medicine can have no better preparation than volunteering in regions where medical professionals can be few and far between.

Volunteering for healthcare may include anything from outreach work in local communities to hands-on work at medical clinics. Medical training is not always required for these projects, although some may give preferences to those with training and background knowledge.

Construction Projects

The need for housing and secure infrastructure is strong in developing nations, particularly in rural communities. Winter break can be an opportune time for university students to take a break from their own educational endeavors and, perhaps, construct a school building that can support the educational needs for children in Africa or Central America. Modern housing, in regions where shelters may be constructed from materials such as cardboard and plastic, is also a key necessity in developing communities.

Thailand

It’s safe to say that many people classify Thailand -- a country home to idyllic beaches, lush islands, and ancient rainforests -- as an ideal place to spend the winter. It’s also a developing nation with a growing number of volunteer opportunities, ranging from community empowerment to environmental conservation programs.

For short-term winter break projects, interested students and professionals can find one-to-two week projects in areas such as animal care and conservation (have you ever wanted to work with rescued elephants and monkeys?), community infrastructure development, and children’s programs, where volunteers can contribute to nutritional and education projects for disadvantaged minors.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the place to visit for a literal breath of fresh air. The country ranks among the greenest on the planet and is known to be friendly to travelers.

Projects in areas like organic farming and wildlife conservation are open to short-term volunteers.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 15 of 40

Recently Reviewed Programs

Audra Sides
10/10
GIVE is one of the best orgs I have had the privilege of stumbling on. My first trip with them was to Tanzania and Zanzibar Island. Being my first time ever out of the states I was so nervous about...
Marcus Voola
10/10
My time on IVHQ was amazing. Everything from the people I met to the food that was provided was all perfect. IVHQ ensures that you are kept safe whilst also giving you the freedom to explore whatever...
Taylor-Paige Blum
10/10
GIVE is a cultural, environmental, educational, social and adventurous experience all in one. All of the guides were extremely helpful in encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace...
J.C. Rutledge
9/10
I had the pleasure of living with a family outside of Bangkok for one month. I lived with grandmother, mom, dad, two boys (8 and 14) and three dogs. My focus was on preparing the 14 year old for his...