9 Cheap Volunteer Abroad Programs for High School Students

young people covered in dirt and paint

Affordable volunteer opportunities for teens abroad are out there! Peruse these cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students and find your perfect fit. ☆ Are you the type of teen that enjoys helping other people but also wants to travel and discover the world? Are you so eager about it that you can’t wait to turn 18 and take on the world? Well, we are here to tell you that you might not have to wait that long to volunteer abroad and fulfill both your passions.

young woman throwing confetti
Teen volunteering programs abroad are out there for you!

There are volunteer programs out there that…Hold on, let’s rephrase that. There are cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students that you can apply for (with the consent and the help of your parents, of course) at the young age of 15 even. We bet you didn’t know that, did you? 

So, seeing how summer is right around the corner, why not spend at least a few weeks of it giving back to a community abroad? Maybe in Thailand, where you can cleanse in the crystal clear beaches after an entire day of work, or in Italy where you can spoil yourself with delicious cuisine and gelato. Or go the extra mile and check out a country like Romania and find out all about Dracula!

Whatever your destination is (and regardless of the activity you will be doing), be assured that you will develop a certain set of skills, such as language and cultural immersion, and adaptability and leadership. You will make new friends all over the world, and experience things of which you haven’t even dreamed. Your life experience starts right here.

So let’s check out some of the most popular and cheapest high school volunteer opportunities abroad.

Can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free?

Hang on a sec. If you’re still in high school, you might be wondering…Can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free? After all, volunteering with babysitting money might prove more than a little challenging.

Unfortunately…volunteering abroad for free is a myth, for many reasons. Reason number one? Program fees. Hey, they say money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can sure open doors to countless teen volunteer opportunities abroad.

young student overlooking city
Teen volunteer opportunities abroad not only have the potential to change the world, but for some incredible views too!

The good news is that program fees include a LOT…such as every unavoidable day-to-day cost of traveling. For example:

  • Accommodations. Depending on the program you will opt for, there are different types of accommodations included. Some will place you in volunteer housing, where you will be living with fellow volunteers. Host families are also very popular for volunteer programs, increasing your opportunities to bond with your host families, immerse yourself in a new culture, and learn the local language and traditions. 
  • Meals. Well, you gotta eat, right? Program costs help cover your three daily meals, so you never have to go hungry. Local home-cooked meals are to die for! And have you heard about street food? Yum! You may need some extra pocket money for in-between meals and snacks, but trust us, that is one thing you do not want to miss out on.
  • Excursions. Many programs organize excursions to museums, historical sites, or simply take the group out on a fun day in town. Sounds like a great way to explore your new host country, and to take a break from the daily, rewarding work that you’re doing. Thankfully, these events are usually included in program fees.
  • Visa, safety, and support. Since these are programs for teens under 18, fine details are taken seriously, and usually handled by providers. Things such as visa arrangements, risk management, and 24/7 in-country support are generally included in program costs. 

So, can teens under 18 volunteer abroad for free? Short of a full-ride scholarship, no. But, as you can see, you can bet your bottom dollar those fees are worth it. Now that we’ve covered pesky program fees, let’s check out cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students.

9 affordable high school volunteer opportunities abroad

1.  Global Crossroad  

Just the name of the program is probably calling you to sign up right now! Global Crossroads understands the importance for early volunteering, and as they put it “volunteering abroad is a game-changer” for anyone who gives it a try.

Wanna teach English in China, protect the marine life projects in Costa Rica, work with local orphanages in South Africa, or get involved in special education projects in Mexico? Whatever your vision is for teen volunteer opportunities abroad, Global Crossroad will find the perfect program to suit your needs and preferences. It all begins at the low starting price of $140 per week!

2. GVI 

What better way to spend high school volunteer opportunities abroad than in the beaches of Thailand working on sea turtle conservation, picking up plastic polluting the beaches, or helping renovate classrooms at the local schools? Whatever you pick, satisfaction is near-guaranteed. 

At the end of a hard day of work, you can go on a gorgeous tropical hike, kayak through Phuket caves, or explore some of Thailand’s most beautiful temples and local food markets. What else could make this program more appealing, you ask? How about the fact that they offer a scholarship up to $2800? 

3. International Volunteer HQ

With International Volunteer HQ, one of the safest and cheapest volunteer abroad organizations, you can find teen volunteering programs all over the globe. Volunteers can choose to teach English, sports, or arts, get involved with medical treatment, or help in the agriculture field or wildlife conservation.

The program fees start at $270 per week, but if you sign up for multiple weeks at once, you’ll receive a discount. If this doesn’t get you excited, how about if we tell you that your accommodation is a dormitory-style volunteer house, where you get to interact with other fellow volunteers? Get a little taste of what college life will be like!

protester holding sign
Step one to finding cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students? Get fired up about a cause.

4. Love Volunteers

Love Volunteers is the perfect organization for those of you who love volunteering. (Hehe, see what we did there?) Love Volunteers provides great volunteer opportunities abroad for high school students with incredible destinations on all continents. If you’ve ever wanted to see countries like Peru, Nepal, Moldova, Rwanda, Kenya, Australia, or Guatemala, this is your chance.

Experience the beauty of the world while you give back to local communities through teaching, supporting women’s groups, building houses, or conserving the environment. Depending on your preferred destination, prices can start as cheap as $259 per week. Not too shabby.

5. The Experiment in International Living

Highly respected and renowned, the Experiment in International Living is exactly that! This organization provides an opportunity to explore the world and experiment learning through a perfect blend of community service, the great outdoors, and language classes.

Develop your cultural and language skills, network, and connect with teenagers from all over the world, especially your host country. If you’re a fan of Messi or love steak, why not experience giving a helping hand in Argentina through the Experiment? Heads up: this organization also offers significant scholarships to their volunteers.

6. Study Programs International

With SPI, those looking for volunteer opportunities abroad for high school students can experience in-depth language immersion and cross-cultural leadership skills. Not to mention, they will volunteer for public work projects, with children in orphanages, or support construction efforts.

SPI offers great placements in Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, and Italy. Latin lovers, this is your chance to spend an entire summer on personal development, language immersion, and do some good in the world. All at the very low price of $300 per week—whoop whoop!

group of teens laughing together
You’ll make tons of cool new friends from all over the world when you find teen volunteer opportunities abroad!

7. Academic Programs International

Finding volunteer opportunities for teens abroad will be just the beginning of life further afield. With API, you can also study, work, intern, or do an entire gap year abroad in college and beyond. Develop your skills and personal growth while working in animal rescue centers, orphanages, conservation groups, schools, and hospitals.

With API you’ll get the chance to experience countries and cultures like Chile, Argentina, Germany, Costa Rica, or Ecuador at an average starting price of $1190 over the summer. If you start planning early, you might find that you’re eligible for their scholarships as well.  

8. Broadreach

Broadreach loves to offer the best programs to their participants—so much so that they’re offering over 50 programs in over 40 countries. If you want to be a part of this amazing community and begin a lifetime of adventure, then Broadreach is where you should start.

If you haven’t discovered your passions by now, we guarantee that you will fall in love with scuba diving, marine biology, animal science, medicine, photography, and STEM with Broadreach. You can also earn certificates, college credits, and community service hours that will look brilliant on your resume in the future. Program fees start at a few thousand dollars per month, but don’t forget about financial aid opportunities. Consider it an investment in yourself!

9. Projects Abroad

With Projects Abroad, you can volunteer pretty much anywhere you want in the world, and the best part about it is that Projects Abroad offers tailor-made projects for high school students just like you! You’ll enjoy a variety of teen volunteering programs with foci such as childcare and community, construction, human rights, medicine, sports, and marine conservation. Sounds exciting, right?

You know what else is exciting? They also have last minute programs, so if you’ve been procrastinating, go check ‘em out ASAP! The cost for a Projects Abroad program usually varies depending on the length of your stay, the season, and the type of work you will be doing. High school programs start around $2000 per two weeks (but they include a LOT in that fee).

Quick tips for covering your volunteer abroad costs!

three young girls smiling together
Our top-notch advice for covering the cost of high school volunteer opportunities abroad will leave you all smiles.

You now know where you can find affordable volunteer abroad opportunities for high school students and what all the costs for the programs include. Now it’s time to figure out how to find the money for it all.

  • Financial Aid. The very first thing you can do is look into financial aid. Financial aid varies depending on destination and program length. Before signing anything, make sure your program is eligible for financial aid. Check with the program itself and see if they can offer you some information on this topic.
  • Scholarships. Why stress about how are you going to get money, when there are people and organizations out there that are willing to give you money. And free money sounds amaaaaaazing! Check out international education organizations like Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Fund for Education Abroad, Golden Key, Room to Travel, ScholarTrips, or Boren Awards. Each scholarship is different in terms of the awarded amount, the period when it can be used and the length of the program.
  • Grants. Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad, Critical Language Scholarships, and Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund have begun providing grants to students who are on the pursuit of meaningful travel. The competition can be fierce, but with great grades and a killer essay or project proposal, you’ll be in the running. 
  • Get a job. We’re sorry to say it, but part time work WILL help fund cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students. Mowing your neighbors’ yards, walk dogs, babysit, do extra chores around the house, or pick up some shifts at Taco Bell for some extra cash. If you can play an instrument, why not take to the school parking lot and hold a live performance with a tip jar?
  • Sell your stuff. When’s the last time you cleaned—really cleaned—your closet? We can guarantee that you have tons of things in there that you do NOT need anymore, are in good condition, and that someone else could use. Got any siblings? Ask them to donate some stuff to you so you can have diversity in the things you are selling. Then, organize a garage sale or have your parents sell the items on Ebay!
  • FundMyTravel. FundMyTravel will allow you to create your own fundraising campaign to raise money for cheap volunteer abroad programs for high school students and receive donations from family, friends, and friends’ friends. To make the most of it, start early on and with enough time to reach your goal. Tell your story, convince and inspire other people to help you, then sit down and watch the money roll in.

You can afford to volunteer abroad as a teen!

teens hanging out together on a mountain
Get excited! You’re one step closer to teen volunteering programs abroad.

Now go ahead and take a deep breath. It might not be free to volunteer abroad as a teen, but it doesn’t have to cost you (or your parents) an arm and a leg either. We’ve covered cheap volunteer opportunities for teens abroad, ways you can find the money to pay for them, and we’re assuming your parents are already on board with this plan. Sounds like you’re all set!

All you gotta do now is simply put all you’ve learned to work. Don’t procrastinate! Time flies by, and the next thing you know, you’ll have missed the deadline of your essay or application. Have fun and we’ll see the new you in a few months! 

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luciana dinuThis article was written by Lucy Dinu. Lucy is an entrepreneur and world traveler—plus writer by day, and reader by night. Born and raised in Romania, Lucy has lived in three different countries and, together with her husband, has traveled to over 20. She strongly believes in personal development, speaks five languages (with a sixth in progress!) and is passionate about everything that puts a smile on people’s faces. Through her unique traveling stories, Lucy aims to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

Comments (3)

thanks for usefull information

These are really good option to volunteer abroad for high school students.

Kakeeto Bartholomew Jude

I would like to join abroad schools

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