Volunteering abroad may sound like you are doing a job for free but in some cases, it is not the same. This is because you may discover that while dedicating your time and expertise for free, you may obtain some remuneration. So, you can only get this remuneration through paid volunteer work.
Meanwhile, you may think that paid volunteer jobs abroad are a fairy tale. The reason is that the words “paid” and “volunteer” may seem like two parallel lines. You may also think, “how can I possibly get paid while offering my services for free?”
The good thing is that paid international volunteer jobs exist although it requires a bit of work in finding them. Some of the remuneration that you can expect to get include stipend, feeding, transportation, housing, etc.
Have you been searching through the internet for paid volunteer jobs abroad? Are you an international student who wishes to offer charitable services and receive some compensation? If yes, then we will give you details on how to get paid volunteer works abroad.
What is paid volunteer work?
Paid volunteer work is a service that you render to a charitable organization (for free) in order to receive some form of compensation. This is not full-time employment hence, there is no salary. Keep in mind that you are “volunteering”.
You may also call it “compensated volunteering”. While you may not receive a salary, you can receive benefits including professional training, language classes, and offset some major costs like accommodation, food, transportation, and even health insurance.
The costs that are offset come in the form of stipends. On some rare occasions, volunteers may receive a salary. While the salary does not come in paychecks, they help to reduce costs that will face you during the volunteer work.
On the other hand, one of the major benefits of volunteering is the possibility of converting to a full-time paid employee after completing the program. This is always common if you can offer a service that an organization finds it hard to get on a volunteer basis.
If I volunteer, will I get paid?
While seeking paid volunteer work abroad, you may fall into two categories. Firstly, you want to travel overseas and volunteer, but do not have the money to finance the costs. Secondly, you are a career professional, and you feel that your expertise can help organizations.
If you fall in the second category, you stand a better chance of landing paid volunteer work. For people in the first category, you may volunteer without any payments. Do you know why?
Many non-profit organizations do not operate on a huge revenue; hence they do not have enough money to pay every volunteer. These organizations can only select and pay you if you possess in-demand globally useful skills.
While volunteering is laudable, coming from a developed country does not show that you have the skills required to help people in any context.
If you get the opportunity to volunteer abroad, you will find yourself learning new things more than the service you are rendering. Part of the new things you will learn include valuable real-world skills, cultural awareness, and a passion for international development. What you stand to gain from volunteer work abroad cannot be overemphasized.
Keep in mind that while you are learning, you will cost the organization money or time.
How do I find paid volunteer work abroad?
If you are seeking a paid volunteering opportunity abroad, the first step would be to conduct in-depth research.
Nowadays, many companies are starting to find value in volunteer jobs abroad. This has made them be providing volunteering opportunities and encourage employees to go for volunteer work abroad.
Some companies provide corporate volunteering opportunities or pay their employees to volunteer abroad. Examples of such companies are Salesforce, Timberland, Microsoft, Warner Bros, Patagonia, and PwC.
If you wish to volunteer abroad and you are currently employed, check with your HR to find out if your employer offers such opportunities.
On the other hand, many organizations offer compensation for volunteers either through specialized programs or by matching intending volunteers with organizations.
Smaller organizations and NGOs also offer compensated volunteering opportunities by integrating with major organizations or even government entities (like the UN or the U.S. State Department). The reason is that the major organizations have the financial capability to provide paid volunteer opportunities, unlike the smaller organizations.
However, smaller organizations that offer compensated volunteer opportunities also exist. The compensation usually comes in the form of accommodation, feeding, and transportation, instead of a stipend. Major organizations like WWOOF, Help Stay, and Workaway also offers the above-mentioned compensation, although it varies across each platform.
How does paid international volunteering work?
Quite a lot goes in when you are looking to find paid volunteering work abroad. Firstly, you will need to scout through job and volunteering search engines to find such opportunities. One of such search engine is Indeed.com.
So, basically, what happens here is that you’ll find and register to volunteer with a certain community or organization. But before then, you’d have made up your mind on what things you want with your career. You don’t just stumble upon paid volunteer work. You search it out intentionally.
So, to get paid volunteer work, you’d need to submit an application to the organization where you want to work and ensure that you meet their requirements.
The selection process is quite rigorous. This is basically because there are lots of people also seeking the same opportunity as you. So, if you’re eventually selected, you’ll be trained and onboarded. And then, you’ll be getting your stipends while doing volunteer work.
Most of the time, volunteers get accommodation, a health care allowance, and airfare back and forth to their home countries. Most times, this largely depends on the capacity of the organization.
Do volunteers get paid?
Yes. Volunteers do get paid. But not all the time. Just like I said earlier, volunteers at paid volunteer work receive a basic living allowance that allows the volunteer to live well and safely in their host country. If a volunteer volunteers outside of their home area, return airfare or land transport (as applicable) and some other basic costs are paid by the host agency.
How much does an International Volunteer get?
How much an international volunteer earns is dependent on a number of factors, which include; the level of experience and capacity of the organization. Ideally, the salary of an international volunteer starts at $87,526 per year and goes up to $115,327 per year for senior-level officers.
What qualities make a good volunteer?
Not everyone can volunteer. There are distinct qualities that make good volunteers. Let’s look at some of them here below;
- Exceptional volunteers have a fearless approach.
- They are very patient in the face of adversities
- They are creative and innovative
- They take initiative
- Good volunteers are humble and loyal
- They are terribly passionate about what they do
- They enjoy working in teams
- A good volunteer has outstanding leadership qualities
- Also, good volunteers are compassionate and empathic
Can you get a job by volunteering?
Yes! You can get a good job by volunteering. This is why it is important for you to engage yourself fully while in the process. Employers carefully watch you and your attitude to work while you are with them. If you put in the work and deliver excellence in what you do, you could stand a chance of being offered full employment in the organization. This has happened to a lot of folks who gave their best at the various organizations they worked for.
Do you put paid volunteer work under work experience?
Yes, you can. Volunteering experiences are a part of your career journey. The experiences you get here help to mold and build your professional experience. Therefore, you can add paid volunteer work and other forms of volunteer work under your work experience.
Where can I find paid volunteer work abroad?
You may be wondering where you can find these volunteer opportunities that offer compensation. Wonder no more!
Listed below are programs and resources that provide paid volunteer work abroad:
- UN Volunteers
- Peace Corps
- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
- Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
- International Executive Service Corps (IESC)
- Become a GVI Trust Scholar
- Sudan Volunteer Program (SVP)
- American Village Camps in France
- Volunteer Forever Scholarship
1. UN Volunteers
The United Nations offers one of the highest-paid volunteering programs all over the world. UN volunteers incorporate charity work into development programming.
Here, the organization places experienced volunteers in different projects such as development and peacekeeping operations in over 160 countries worldwide. Statistics show that the United Nations offers about 4,000 volunteering placements every year.
The United Nations volunteer jobs are demand-driven, unlike other volunteer placements. In addition, they are highly competitive. If you wish to join the volunteering program, you will have to apply so as to join the Global Talent Pool. Afterward, volunteers are selected through a shortlisting process.
To apply for UN volunteer placements, candidates must meet certain requirements. Candidates must be 25 years of age and above. They should hold a bachelor’s degree or higher technical diploma. Candidates must also have a minimum of two years of relevant work experience and be proficient in any of the three UNV languages (English, French or Spanish).
The UN volunteer placements last between six (6) to twelve (12) months. Volunteers may also get the opportunity to extend the program to one or two years.
The compensation of the UNV placements includes a monthly living allowance, paid flights to and from the destination, and annual leave.
2. Peace Corps
Peace Corps is another organization that offers paid volunteer work. The organization places volunteers in countries in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Volunteers work in many different sectors, such as community economic development, health, education, agriculture, and youth development.
If you wish to apply for the Peace Corps volunteer placement, you must be a U.S citizen and at least 18 years of age.
Most of the volunteer placements offered by the Peace Corps last for a period of twenty-seven (27) months. Additionally, the Peace Corps provides short-term volunteer placements to mid-career professionals with specialized skills. Like UNV or IESC, Peace Corps’ short-term volunteer opportunities last between three (3) to twelve (12) months.
The remuneration of the volunteer work is as follows; transportation to and from the country of service, a living allowance (ranges from $200 – $800 per month), medical and dental care, and a readjustment allowance of $8,000(before tax) on completion of service.
3. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is another global organization that provides volunteering placements.
WWOOF connects visitors (WWOOFers) with organic farmers in order to facilitate cultural and educational exchange and develop a global community that aims to foster ecological farming and sustainability practices.
As a volunteer (WWOOFer), you will partake in the everyday living of your host, assist on the farm, and learn about sustainability. You will also experience a new culture and meet new people.
The remuneration is majorly room and board throughout the period of the program.
4. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is an organization in the U.K that offers paid volunteer placements. The organization helps to alleviate poverty in Africa and Asia by placing professionals with relevant work experience into projects.
Volunteers can expect to work in healthcare, education, agriculture, business management & IT, communications & fundraising, policy & research, etc.
Voluntary Service Overseas also offers International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteering programs. The program is sponsored by the U.K government.
To apply for VSO volunteer placements, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant work experience. If you wish to apply for the ICS volunteering program, you must be between 18 to 25 years of age. For team leader roles, applicants must not be less than 25 years old.
The volunteering program lasts between ten (10) to twelve (12) weeks.
VSO remuneration includes a little stipend, accommodation, annual leave, and medical insurance. For some placements, the remuneration covers the cost of flights and pre-departure immunizations.
5. International Executive Service Corps (IESC)
International Executive Service Corps (IESC) is an NGO that promotes sustainable economic growth in developing countries. Volunteers carry out most of their projects at the organization.
IESC is highly supported by organizations like USAID and the State Department. The organization offer volunteering opportunities based on the requests of businesses or governments. Once a request is made, the volunteering placements are filled from IESC’s database of volunteers and professional consultants.
IESC volunteers work in a wide range of areas across more than 50 countries in the world. The placement areas include trade & enterprise, information communication & applied technologies, financial services, tourism, and the public sector.
International Executive Service Corps (IESC) does not have an age limit for its volunteering placements. While the competition for placements is high, applicants are encouraged to possess many years of professional experience in their respective fields.
The duration of the volunteering placement ranges from a few weeks to three (3) months.
IESC compensation is a daily stipend that covers food and expenses, medical evacuation insurance, vaccinations, and visas.
MovingWorlds is an online platform that connects and develops professionals, corporations, impact investors, and social enterprises in order to make them develop a more sustainable and equitable planet.
At MovingWorlds, professionals can get volunteer placements that match their expertise at social impact organizations through its listings of Experteering projects.
The duration of the volunteer placement varies depending on the location. Volunteering placements at MovingWorlds include a six-month opening for a web developer in Thailand, a 3-6-month placement as a communications and information officer with a poverty alleviation organization in Peru, and a 1-2-year opportunity for a videographer to work on short films for an environmental organization in India.
Participants are provided room and board throughout the period of their project. However, they are required to cover other costs.
7. Sudan Volunteer Program (SVP)
Sudan Volunteer Programme (SVP) is an NGO with branches in London and Khartoum, that offers volunteering placements where volunteers teach English classes at public higher institutions in Sudan.
The organization aims to improve the English skills of Sudanese so that they can gain better employment opportunities to increase their standard of living.
SVP remuneration includes a stipend equivalent to the local salary for a teaching assistant, accommodation, the opportunity to learn the Arabic language, and a chance to work in a safe location at the intersection of the Middle East and Africa.
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Like WWOOF, HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, farm stays, hobby farms, lifestyle blocks, homestays, ranches, lodges, backpackers hostels that request volunteers to stay with them for a short period in exchange for food and housing.
The platform offers the best opportunity for working holidaymakers during their vacation abroad, to stay with the locals and acquire some practical experience.
In a normal setting, the helper works an average of four (4) hours per day in exchange for food and accommodation. The time interval for the work may vary depending on the tasks and the host’s choice. Some hosts may require you to work for two (2) hours per day for only accommodation while you feed yourself.
Other hosts may require you to work for six (6) hours per day and receive free food, accommodation, and sometimes free internet, horse riding, kayaking, bikes, local sightseeing trips, yoga or English lessons, etc.
Some hosts may give you weekends off, while others may permit you to work for eight (8) hours per day and take an entire day off.
9. American Village Camps in France
American Village Camps in France provides English-language immersion programs for French children.
If you are a camp counselor (volunteer), you will use fun, games, humor, history, and ESL techniques to teach French children, the English language. You will also help in running the camp and ensure that camp guidelines are maintained.
While a CELTA or TEFL diploma is not a requirement, it will increase your chances of being selected.
The remuneration includes a stipend, feeding, and accommodation.
10. Volunteer Forever Scholarship
Volunteer Forever offers travel scholarship opportunities to enable volunteers to cover the cost of volunteering, studying, interning, teaching, or working abroad. The organization offers this financial aid twice every year to two travelers.
To win the scholarship, you will have to write essays during each round and they will be examined by a scholarship committee.
The scholarship amount ranges from $500 to $1000 and can cover the program fee, airfare, travel insurance, and personal expenses.
If you wish to travel abroad, then you may want to consider applying for the scholarship.
How to get paid to volunteer work: Step-by-step guide
Looking to land paid volunteer work soon? Here’s a trusted guide to help you identify and maximize this unique opportunity:
Know what you want. Set your goals right.
Volunteer employment with a charitable organization with a stipend may be all you need to do. When looking for compensated volunteer opportunities, keep in mind your individual goals.
Examine your skills
Various charities do different things for their beneficiaries. Consider your skills and how you might help a cause or community. Choose a volunteer position based on your specific skills. The likelihood of finding a program that reimburses expenses increases if you are suited to the work they perform.
Do thorough research on the organization you want to work with
Research the organizations that provide the services you want to do. Take a look at their programs. Compare the costs and benefits of the programs you explore, based on your personal interests, abilities, and budget. Consider your personal financial commitments and requirements, as well as your overseas volunteering expenses.
Recognize that compensated volunteer opportunities are rare compared to unpaid opportunities. To find a reimbursed or paid volunteer position, broaden your service area or look into new career categories. You could also look into other areas.
According to your situation, being open to entirely or partially unpaid volunteer work may help you locate more possibilities. Volunteer work is not intended to be paid labor. An opportunity to be paid as a volunteer usually includes basic living expenses.
Paid volunteer opportunities are very interesting and quite rewarding. This article is a full guide to help you find the paid volunteer work that you’ll be proud of. Cheers!
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