The Best Study Abroad Programs for 2019 (Our Opinion)
If you’re looking at combining studying abroad with volunteering this year, there are several study abroad programs available, one of which is bound to be exactly right for you. Plenty of programs on this list are perfect for individuals on a low budget.
Whether you’re looking to volunteer abroad at the end or beginning of a semester, combine studying a new language with volunteering abroad, or meet university course requirements, the reasonably priced study abroad programs described below are worthwhile looking at.
Different volunteer programs are offered by various organizations. International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) was founded in 2007, and they are now one of the world’s biggest volunteer travel companies, with more than 40 destinations globally.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Programs in Sri Lanka are ideal for studying abroad, making new friends from all over the world, experiencing one of the most interesting cultures, and making a real difference.
Whether you specialize in special education, conservation, or are a student in medical school, Sri Lanka is bound to have a program that has something to offer you. If you fancy architecture, the Temple Renovation project is ideal, environmental junkies can enroll in the Wild Elephant Conservation project, Special Education teachers can work in specialist schools, and teachers that want to diversify their skill and knowledge base can teach trainee monks.
People with a work-hard play-hard attitude will be able to find these programs perfect for them with volunteer work done throughout the week, and historical exploration, diving, safaris and hiking done in your spare time. Sri Lanka is the perfect study abroad location with several awesome projects to choose from.
Volunteering in the Dominican Republic
If you’re the type of person that likes to get your hands dirty and build an emotional connection with the community that you’re helping, then maybe a water or sanitation project with BLUE Missions is right for you.
BLUE Missions has 2 goals: to end the water and sanitation crisis and to build a generation of global citizens. Both goals are accomplished through service trips by connecting volunteers of all ages with impactful projects and authentic immersion.
Clean Water Projects:
Purpose: Building an aqueduct system from beginning to end, and connect the whole community to clean water.
Working: Learning how to dig trenches using tools, gluing pipe, and constructing a water holding tank. Seeing the project through from beginning to end.
Staying: Sleeping in the community inside a local church, school, or home. Cots are provided.
Purpose: Building ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines for individual families to provide access to life-changing sanitation.
Working: Mixing cement, cutting wood, and hammering in nails to build Ventilated Pit Latrines. Getting to know each family that will benefit from a bathroom and working together with them.
Staying: Sleeping in the community inside a local church, school, or home. Cots are provided.
Volunteering in Colombia
Students wanting to gain practical experience in the teaching field will find teaching projects in the Cartagena and Bogota programs excellent opportunities. Volunteers can gain experience by creating and developing lesson plans with guidance and help from local teachers.
Volunteers on a teaching project in the country will have an impact on children’s education, but can also assist the local teachers improving their English, thus helping sustain English classes in the community.
All volunteers will also engage in fun, creative activities with students like crafts, painting and games. Volunteers also fulfill a special role in student development by encouraging them to follow their passion.
Volunteering in Uganda
There are many project choices available in Uganda for individuals that want to enhance their study by volunteering abroad. Programs are available for Childcare, Teaching, Sports Education, Medical, HIV/Aids Support, Construction/Renovation, Special Needs Care and Women’s Education.
Volunteers in Uganda are normally based in Mutungo, 15 kilometers from Kampala, the capital. Uganda is also great for the range of possible adventures you can participate in. Volunteers can explore the culture by visiting the beautiful national parks, Gorilla trekking and taking part in Safaris.
If you’re looking for thrills, there are many adventure activities, including white water rafting. Ugandans tend to be enthusiastic to meet western volunteers, eager to learn and extremely cheerful.
Volunteering in Cusco, Peru
Students wanting to gain university credits while volunteering and whose university accepts credits from the California State University, Monterey Bay, can participating in a Spanish Service Learning Course in Cusco.
The course is offered in combination with regular volunteer projects such as Construction and Renovation, Animal Care, Medical, Childcare, Special Needs Care, and Teaching English, and can be included into a daily volunteer schedule. The minimum length of this trip is 4 weeks.
Volunteering in Laos
Laos programs are ideal for volunteers wanting different type of experiences in a country that has not yet been touched by massive tourism. The English Teaching project is a good fit for volunteers liking a challenge and are excited by overcoming teaching obstacles across cultural barriers.
This experience is highly rewarding for volunteers and it improves their capability to work autonomously. The volunteer program in Laos is also suited for skilled rehabilitation specialists and therapists on the Medical project. Volunteers are given the chance to not only to develop their own medical knowledge but also to help the community. In this program volunteers will learn the difference between medical systems used in developing and developed countries.
Volunteering in Guatemala
The Guatemala volunteer program is based in a small city, with three major volcanos providing the backdrop, cobblestone streets, the character of cozy restaurants, and a continual flow of events happening. The volunteers enrolling in this program can stay very busy alternating between Spanish language classes and a wide range of volunteer activities.
Of all the volunteer medical projects in Latin American, Guatemala offers nursing and medical students the best opportunities for learning practically while supporting a range of placements that are medical based. These include after school programs for children with disabilities, special needs facilities, elderly homes and small local clinics for the poor.
Volunteers who enroll in the program for at least 4 weeks may also avail themselves of the Spanish Learning Course, gaining course credits while taking part in a volunteer project.
Volunteering in Cambodia
Although a huge draw to Cambodia includes the amazing Angkor Wat ruins and the temples surrounding it, there is much more to the country than is initially apparent.
Volunteers wanting to study abroad have great choices through the Cambodia program. Cambodia is suitable for most subject areas as it has so many projects available, including working on an NGO project, Computer Support, Childcare and Teaching English.
A work and play hard attitude will fit in well with the Cambodian program. Just a few of the possibilities close by include magical markets, charming villages and secluded sleepy beaches.
Volunteering in Lima, Peru
Volunteers in Lima, Peru get an exceptional opportunity of working on a clini-bus on the Medical project. This opportunity is great for nursing and medical students of any level wanting to hone their skills in a different country.
The clinics serve communities that are in need, but can normally not afford proper healthcare. This means the number of patients is fairly high and this makes it a good opportunity to provide practical help under the direction of local nurses and doctors.
Volunteers help out in local dispensaries, clinics and hospitals with basic facilities and equipment on days the campaigns don’t operate. As the project is communicative, volunteers for the program should be able to at least speak conversational Spanish.
Opportunities for Students
Another well-known volunteer organization is GoAbroad which was founded in 1997. Their main aim is to link students with a desire to travel abroad to companies offering international programs. Here are a few of their best study abroad programs:
Cuisine and Tradition in Tuscany, Italy
Fall in love with your studies while studying Italian culture in the countryside of Tuscany. Engage yourself with all that Sienna has to offer for a summer experience you’ll never forget.
This is one of the most amazing summer abroad programs in Italy, as you’ll be able to explore a diversity of subjects with the vineyards, restaurants and piazzas of Siena as a stunning setting. Studying abroad in Siena is an experience that will fill your stomach and your mind with Italian culture cuisine.
Community Development in Iringa, Tanzania
Taking a semester to learn about Tanzania, an African country, will allow you to learn more than culture. Learning about its rural and urban communities will enable you to give back.
The program is hands-on, and you will assist a local non-profit in a field study, finding solutions for community issues, and providing aid to under served communities through the country. You’ll also get to study some Swahili.
Music Year or Semester in Vienna
You can take a year or semester to learn all about music in Vienna from one of the best study abroad providers. Courses include Performance Studies, Music Theory and Music History in a city overflowing with music culture and history.
Study in the city where Beethoven and Mozart became household names and steer your own course toward musical mastery while being supported by knowledgeable friends and professors.
Regardless of where you decide to study abroad, make sure to do it for the right reasons. If you’re just looking for an adventure, there are many programs that cater to that experience. Many universities have their own study abroad office which can help you pick the right trip for you.
If you’re looking for a more involved experience where service is an integral part of your trip, the organizations listed above are a great place to start your search. Remember, when serving abroad the primary focus is the humanitarian mission and the immersive experience. If this sounds like your type of trip, don’t hesitate to get involved!