Here’s some great advice for the budding wanderluster: See the world while still in college, volunteer abroad, and do it on the cheap! Affordable volunteer abroad programs are plentiful—so you can do good things, keep your expenses low, and explore new places all at the same time. In fact, cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students are available in any field, and on every inhabited continent. You just need to know where to look!
And really, why wouldn’t you pursue a cheap volunteer abroad program? The experience of helping others while seeing new parts of the world is really its own reward, but we also know that inexpensive (or even free volunteer abroad programs) can bring big value to your personal and professional development portfolios—and that can mean money in the bank later on! With so many options for volunteer abroad programs, how should you choose? Well, we’ve got nine of the best programs for college students (including information about how to pay for it!) right here!
9 affordable volunteer abroad programs
If you want to work with a hands-on project, this is the program for you! While it’s one of the most affordable volunteer abroad programs out there, what’s even better is the opportunity to build homes for homeless families in the village of Mwandi. Some construction experience would be a plus, but it’s not required for participation. If you like to become part of the community, this is also a great option as volunteers are encouraged to participate in village life. Even better, the total cost is roughly $100 per week.
We know that inexpensive is key, but what about free volunteer abroad programs? In this program, you can join the Icelandic Forest Service and help them manage the network of hiking trails that cross the wilderness. Full disclosure—this volunteer opportunity is only for the physically fit; but if you’re an adventurous, athletic volunteer with a passion for the outdoors, what could be better than spending six weeks (or more!) among waterfalls, valleys, and mountains? Best of all, there are no actual expenses for this program. That’s right—the costs are $0!
Let’s say you’re looking for a free volunteer abroad program, but you’re searching for options beyond hiking the wilderness. Well, why not head to Bolivia? Participation in this program allows you to pursue opportunities like teaching children to read, or working to conserve wildlife and care for exotic animals. And if geography is your thing, you won’t find a place more diverse! From tropical rainforests to the tropical savannas, and from the Andes mountains to the salt lakes, volunteering abroad in Bolivia has something for everyone. And yes, the cost to you is $0.
If you’re someone who prefers a customized approach, be sure to check out this stand-out among volunteer programs abroad. Cheap and flexible? You bet! Skilled volunteering means matching you with experiences that best correspond with your interests and skills. For a college student, this is perfect, because you can find a volunteer program that will connect your talents, interests, and course of study with an opportunity to do good things! As far as where you can go with this program, there are over 40 options from Argentina to Zimbabwe—for $80 per week!
5. Giving Way
This program keeps the costs low by connecting you directly with the non-profit you’d serve. When you’re exploring cheap volunteer abroad programs, you’ll notice that each program has something unique to offer. With this opportunity, that unique element is keeping the costs super low, and making sure the fees you do pay go directly to the community organization you would serve. This doubles the impact of your experience, and keeps the weekly cost at roughly $70.
If you’re looking for a six-month (or more) commitment for a cheap volunteer abroad program in South America, this could be the perfect program for you. With opportunities to serve in fields ranging from education to health care, there are all kinds of opportunities for a college student looking to enrich your experience. Another perk of this program is that all volunteers get an included homestay, which offers an even more immersive experience for those wanting to engage in the community. And you get all that for only $140 per week.
Typically, if you’re looking for cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students, opportunities in Greece are among the most beautiful—but also the most expensive. The low cost of this program makes it one of the most desirable and affordable volunteer abroad programs you can find! You get to work on sustainable conservation and spend your free time exploring the stone-house coast with like-minded people for only $158 per week. Fantastikós!
If you enjoy working with children, this is one of the most interesting, cheap volunteer abroad programs out there. The focus is on providing critical support to victims of various kinds of trauma; if you’re in a counseling or therapeutic field, this could be a perfect fit, but no previous experience is required. There are three primary projects, ranging from HIV/AIDS related healthcare to mental health. Do good for those in need for only $68 per week.
So if you’re looking for affordable volunteer abroad programs and don’t have a preference on where to go or what to do so long as it’s a positive experience, check out Volunteer World! With over 80 countries to choose from, and an incredible range of options for activities, locations, and program length, this is the perfect program for those who want a big menu of options. From working with animals to engaging in sports, at only $162 per week, you could do more than one!
Quick tips for covering your volunteer abroad costs
So now that you have the inside scoop on cheap volunteer abroad programs for college students (or even free volunteer abroad programs!), wouldn’t it be great if you could reduce those costs even more? Well, you can! Check out this short list (of many!) ideas to help you make your volunteer abroad dreams a reality:
- Have a good old-fashioned bake sale
- Sell your unwanted fashions online
- Wash some cars, trucks, or motorcycles
- Run some errands or mow some lawns
- Consider babysitting or elder care
- Walk some dogs (or cats!)
- Do some ride-sharing or pedi-cabbing
- Work short term as a bicycle messenger
- And (most importantly) check out the resources on FundMyTravel.com!
You can afford to volunteer abroad!
As you can see, there are all kinds of options for cheap volunteer abroad programs out there, and even more ways for you to raise money to cover the costs you do have! A volunteer experience can be life-changing for the volunteer and for the people they serve, so don’t let something like financial costs get in the way of living your dreams, seeing the world, and helping others. Get your research done, get creative, and you’ll be packing your bags in no time.
And, with FundMyTravel.com, there are more options than ever to raise money to cover the costs of volunteer programs abroad, cheap or otherwise. Whether you want to feed the world, build homes, teach children, map the wilderness, conserve the coastline, or do any other super cool things with your talents and time, you can find something that suits you—so get started today!
This article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.